What would you do if your son told you on a Sunday afternoon, that he needed to bring a food from the Basque region to school the next morning for extra credit?
My first question was, uh, where is the Basque region, exactly? Spain, right? Ah, yes, northern Spain. And what the heck do they eat there?
I panicked, not just because of the lateness of the hour, but because I'm not so big on cooking, let alone making something that a class of 8th graders would like.
I began searching the web, hoping to find something easy and quick. They've got to eat dessert in the Basque region, don't they? I'd rather bake than cook any day. Yes, they do eat dessert, and apparently, Basque cakes seemed to be pretty popular. But every recipe I found called for a custard filling, and I wasn't going to start messing with that at 4:00pm on a Sunday afternoon.
Finally, this recipe popped up on foodnetwork.com. It had a cherry filling. No custard. Bingo. It looked pretty easy, so we ran to the supermarket, and picked up the ingredients.
Junior Goo Shoes helped me make it -- I told him he had to, or else I was going to tell the teacher to give me the extra credit.
I was freaking out just a bit, because there didn't seem to be enough dough for the pan. I reviewed the steps and was certain we didn't do anything wrong, like leave out a cup of flour.
When it came out of the oven, it looked really flat, and it was kind of hard, so I was convinced that I screwed this one up pretty good.
For a few insane minutes, I considered making another one. I came to my senses and reminded myself that this cake would not be served to the Queen of
The next day, I asked Junior GS how it was. I was expecting him to tell me that they used it for a hockey puck during recess, but he said IT WAS A HUGE HIT! The kids and the teacher loved it, in fact, they liked it best of all the dishes that were brought in.
Really? He finally convinced me that he was not pulling my leg. I needed to know right then and there what it tasted like, so I whipped one up after dinner. Yep, it's that easy.
Again, it looked like there wasn't enough dough.
Again, it seemed hard when it came out of the oven.
But it was Scrumptious.
It was the consistency of a soft scone, but more moist towards the center. I thought it would be so plain, but the filling, made of cherry preserves and almond extract, gave it a wonderful flavor.
I couldn't believe how a few simple ingredients could come together as such a satisfying dessert.
I've made it about five times now. It's one of my favorite cakes. It's the perfect brunch dessert.
I can't find sour cherry preserves, so I use Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves.
I do not put sliced almonds on the top, because Mr. Goo Shoes does not like nuts in or on his food.
Isn't that nutty?
This is a dangerous cake for me to have in the house, because I could eat the entire thing in one sitting.
Not that I would.
Give it a try…and get yourself some extra credit!
(Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand; foodnetwork.com)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/3 cup sour cherry preserves
1/4 cup sliced almonds, optional
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch cake pan or spring-form pan. In a mixer with a whip attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Sift the cake flour, salt, and baking powder together and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into this butter mixture until a soft dough forms and no white streaks of flour remain. Spread half the batter evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Stir the almond extract into the cherry preserves. Spoon the cherry preserves over the batter, spreading it within 2 inches of the border.
Drop the remaining batter by large spoonfuls or pipe it with a plain tip over the preserves. Spread the batter carefully over the jam to the edge of the pan. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if using.
Bake for 40 - 50 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Unmold the cake and dust with confectioners' sugar.
Until next time,
Jam Hands Recipe Sharing Monday