When I was growing up, my dad was my best taste-tester. When I was 9- or 10-years-old and starting to do some baking on my own, he and his best friend, Jim, who lived in the house behind ours, would gobble up any sweet thing I would come up with.
After just a couple of bites, my dad would say something like, “My favorite daughter has come up with another winner.” I was his only daughter.
At that point, Jim would most likely be on his second piece. I’m sure one of the reasons I love to bake stems from the enthusiasm and unconditional support of my early experiments in the kitchen offered to me by my dad and his best friend. I basked in the feeling of success that I felt when I watched those two men eagerly gobble up the treats I whipped up all by myself. I know there had to have been some some flubs along the way, but they always smiled and ate.
When President’s Day rolled around each year, I’d try to find a recipe that included cherries. My dad always looked forward to dessert on President’s Day.
I continue to create sweet cherry treats when we honor George Washington with a holiday. Whether he really did cut down the cherry tree or not, I still think cherries when I think George Washington.
Cherry-Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake is based on a cake my mom and her friends used to make with a swirl of cinnamon and sugar and nuts. I used an easy-to-make filling of canned sweet cherries, dried cherries and almonds with some mini-chocolate morsels stirred into the mix. It’s the same filling I used in the Chocolate and Cherry-Filled Mini-Heart Tarts in an earlier post.
I know my two favorite tasters would have loved this cake, despite the flub. Yes, I must be honest. After the cake was in the oven, I discovered close to a cup of the sifted dry ingredients still sitting in the bowl on the counter. Grrrrrr. The cake still baked up nicely and tasted wonderful with a cup of coffee. But, what I’ve managed to hide in the photo is a little tunnel running through the cake. Tunnel of love, maybe? Well, that little tunnel didn’t effect the wonderful flavor.
I took the cake to a cooking class I taught last night as a little pre-class treat. Everyone smiled and gobbled it up in no time flat. I still love that enthusiasm and support.
Bake Cherry-Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake this weekend. You’ll enjoy the smiles it creates.
Happy President’s Day weekend!
Cherry-Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
- 1 batch cherry-chocolate filling
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well.Â Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Batter will be stiff.
Spoon 1/3 of batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan. Spoon half of cherry-chocolate mixture over batter. Top with half of remaining batter. Spoon remaining cherry-chocolate mixture over batter. Top with remaining batter. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and let cake cool completely on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
Cherry and Chocolate Filling
- 1 (15-ounce) can pitted sweet cherries, drained
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate morsels
Put drained cherries and dried cherries into a food processor or heavy-duty blender. Process until mixture is quite smooth. Add almonds and process until finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until mixture is thick. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Transfer to a glass bowl. Allow to cool completely, then stir in chocolate morsels.Cover and refrigerate. The filling can be made a day or two before baking.