The most delicious cherry almond polenta cake which you will want to make again and again! Make the most of beautiful summer cherries in this easy to make cake which is even easier to eat!
Do you have a favourite fruit? For me, it's the cherry, hands down. There's no shortage of summer fruits to love - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, nectarines, peaches, plums, watermelon, to name a few - but to me, cherries are always irresistible. Always! I love them in any form, whether that be dried, canned, frozen, but those few shorts weeks in summer, when they're available fresh - that's a special time indeed. A time to be celebrated! Another one I love is rhubarb, especially in this rhubarb galette.
This year, I knew I wanted to make a cake with cherries. As much as I love devouring them by the handful, they are just stunning used in baking too. And what better ingredient to put them with, than almonds? I just love baking with ground almonds and almond flour too, so it was a match made in heaven. So, let's bake a cherry almond polenta cake!
What ingredients will I need?
These are the ingredients you'll need to make a beautiful almond polenta cake packed with juicy cherries:
- ground almonds or almond flour - the main component of this cake is almonds! You can use either ground almonds or almond flour here as they are similar in consistency and ground almonds are often much cheaper (I wouldn't recommend coarser almond meal).
- polenta (fine cornmeal) - polenta adds an amazing texture to this cake. One of my all-time favourite cakes is Nigella's lemon polenta cake, which inspired my choice to include it here! The polenta adds a slightly gritty texture to the cake, but in the best possible way, I promise!
- plain (all-purpose) flour - we're using a little regular flour here, to help soak up the juices from the fruit we're adding. I haven't tested it, but I believe you could use oat flour instead here, which would make this cake entirely gluten free (for those who can still tolerate oats).
- caster sugar - for essential sweetness and texture, use granulated if you don't have caster sugar, but the texture might not be quite as fine.
- baking powder - just a little lift to ensure the cake isn't too dense.
- fine sea salt - I always recommend adding a little salt to baked goods to bring out the flavours.
- eggs - this is quite an eggy cake, so you really do need to check the centre of the cake towards the end of cooking, to ensure that it's completely set before removing from the oven. I assure you the cake doesn't taste eggy though!
- unsalted butter - make sure you melt and cool the butter before you're ready to bake.
- vanilla extract - vanilla works so well with cherries and adds lots of flavour to the cake. You could also add a drop of almond extract if desired.
- lemon zest - lemons also go incredibly well with cherries and a little bit of lemon zest really lifts the flavours in the cake. You could leave it out if preferred, or use a different kind of citrus.
- fresh cherries - the star of this cake, I love to use fresh, in season cherries but of course you could use canned or frozen cherries if that's all you have! I would recommend thoroughly draining the canned cherries and defrosting the frozen ones before use, draining off any liquid left behind. It might also be worth tossing them in a little flour before adding to the cake batter, but you don't need to do that with the fresh ones.
- flaked almonds - for a crunchy texture and super pretty appearance! You could also use chopped pistachios - or slivered ones if you can get hold of them - they would look amazing!
How to make almond cake
This is truly one of the simplest cakes you could make! The recipe is adapted from the coconut, almond and blueberry cake from the book 'Sweet' by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. Here's how you make it!
- Get everything ready. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Important: if using a fan/convection oven, set your oven to 160°C/320°F instead. Grease a 23cm/9" cake tin and line the base with parchment paper. You need to use a cake tin which is deep enough - ideally 7.5cm/3" deep.
- Start by whisking together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl - ground almonds, polenta, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a whisk helps to get rid of any lumps and make sure everything is well combined and aerated.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients - eggs, melted and cooled butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk until everything is smooth and well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Switch to a wooden spoon or spatula and fold the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined.
- Cut your pitted cherries in half and stir ⅔ of them through the batter. Make sure that they're evenly distributed throughout. Don't be tempted to add more cherries than stipulated as they'll add too much moisture to the cake and it won't bake evenly. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and even out the top using a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining cherries evenly over top of the cake and press them in lightly. Scatter the almonds all over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. You'll need to start checking at 50 minutes to see if the cake is cooked right to the centre. When you insert a cake tester or toothpick it should come out clean. It'll probably take closer to 55-60 minutes to be ready but it depends on your oven. Make sure you test right in the centre of the cake and if you're unsure, just give it a minute or two longer and test again. You don't want to have a soggy middle, although it'll still be delicious even if you do! You shouldn't have any issues with the cake browning too quickly if you have your oven set to the correct temperature (I highly recommend using an oven thermometer!), but if you do, loosely place some foil over the top for the remainder of the cooking time.
- Once the cake is baked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before removing from the tin. To remove, I find it easiest to place a plate or baking sheet on top of the tin, invert it and remove the tin from the cake. Then place the cooling rack back on the bottom of the cake and invert it again so that it's the right way up on the cooling rack.
How to serve this cake
Once you've removed the cake from it's tin, you can leave it to cool completely or eat it warm if you prefer! Simply cut into 10-12 slices and serve as is or with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or a drizzle of cream. Or even eat it warm with ice cream. Dust with icing sugar for a pretty look!
How to store leftover cake
If by some stroke of luck you haven't devoured the cake all in one go, store leftovers wrapped in cling film at room temperature for up to 3 days. If it's quite warm or humid in your kitchen, I'd recommend transferring the cake to the fridge after a day.
I hope you'll give this cherry almond polenta cake a try! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag me on Instagram! I love to see your creations!
And if you're looking for more cherry recipes, why not try:
- Cherry Bakewell Quinoa Breakfast Parfaits
- Dark Chocolate Cherry S’mores Bars
- Mini Cherry Tarte Tatin
- Cherry Bakewell Quinoa Breakfast Parfaits
Cherry Almond Polenta Cake
- 200 g ground almonds or almond flour, (2 cups)
- 75 g polenta (fine cornmeal), (⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon)
- 60 g plain (all-purpose) flour, (½ cup)
- 250 g caster sugar, (1 ¼ cups)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 large eggs
- 200 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, (⅞ cup)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon, (1 teaspoon)
- 225 g fresh pitted cherries, (8oz)
- 25 g flaked almonds, (¼ cup)
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C/320°F if using a fan/convection oven - this is very important). Grease a 23cm/9" cake tin and line the base with parchment paper.
- Place the ground almonds, polenta, plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine.200 g ground almonds or almond flour, 75 g polenta (fine cornmeal), 60 g plain (all-purpose) flour, 250 g caster sugar, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the melted butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest until smooth and well combined.4 large eggs, 200 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, Zest of 1 lemon
- Pour the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Cut the pitted cherries in half. Fold ⅔ of the halved, pitted cherries into the cake batter and pour the mixture into the prepared tin, ensuring that the cherries are as evenly distributed as possible. Scatter the remaining cherries over the top, followed by the flaked almonds. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.225 g fresh pitted cherries, 25 g flaked almonds
- Leave the cake to cool in tin on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before removing. You can choose to cool completely on the cooling rack or serve warm!
Julianne (Quintana) says
Loved this cake. If i used a bundt pan would the cake come out easily?
Sasha Hooper says
Glad you loved it. Haven't tried this ourselves yet, but I would imagine it would work just as well. Just ensure your bundt pan is well greased and floured to make sure it'll release. I wouldn't be able to say if the cooking time would be the same though. As long as a skewer comes out clean you should be good. Let us know how you get on!
This was such a great recipe. Surprisingly moist and flavourful. I didn’t have cherries so just used tinned fruit salad. Also didn’t have almonds and forgot to use vanilla. Used orange zest instead of lemon. I will be making this regularly. Very easy and popular with the family. Thanks for the recipe
I would love to make this recipe but it’s the middle of winter here so no fresh cherries. Do you think I could make it with frozen cherries or do I just need to be patient and wait for summer?
Hi Jodie! I haven't tried making this cake with frozen cherries myself yet, but I think it may work if you defrost the cherries and let the liquid drain off. Maybe just toss them lightly in flour to help with the extra moisture content that they will add. Let us know how it goes! 🙂
Cindy Morrow says
Great cake, not overly sweet. Reminds me of the cakes i ate in Germany. Will definitely make again. Thank you!!
This is wonderful to hear, so glad you enjoyed the cake! 🙂
Outstanding! It was moist and dense, very flavorful with a beautiful soft crust....and pretty! Next time I would add more sour cherries. Thank you. I'll make this again.
Hi Debi! Oh I am so glad you love this! It is definitely one of my favourites. It makes my day hearing that someone loves a recipe I created and that you'll make it again. Sour cherries sound delicious will have to do that myself next time too 🙂
This recipe was easy to make and delicious to eat! The texture of the sponge and almonds, contrasted well with the juicy cherries. It took me back to a French desert I ate when I was little! I will certainly be trying this again, as it didn’t last long!
So glad to hear that you loved the cake, Natalie!