Monday, June 21, 2010

Cute As A Cherry

Cherries are the hands-down winners in the cutest fruit contest. Strawberries are nice, kiwis have a special appeal, and oranges are colorful, but I'm drawn like a magnet to anything with cherries printed on it. Aprons, kitchen towels, dresses, handbags - anything with cherries on it is just about irresistible. Something about the bright red color, the cheerful off-round shape, and the jaunty stem just makes them darling.

Another cute thing that's hard to resist is tiny food. Petit fours, itty bitty cookies, tiny tarts, brownie bites, and miniature cupcakes.

Now if you combine cherries with mini cupcakes what do you get? Serious cuteness. And deliciousness. When I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart's Cupcake cookbook, I had to make them for the cuteness factor alone. Bonus that they are moist, almondy, and have the surprise of a whole cherry in the middle.

These are perfect for a tea party, a picnic, or just a mid-afternoon indulgence. Small, sweet, and oh so cute - how can you resist? Just be sure to warn guests that there's a pit in the middle so they don't break a tooth. Of course, you could pit the cherries, but I think it's more fun to leave them in. There's a certain amount of cute in having to spit the pit from a cupcake, too.

Tiny Cherry and Almond Tea Cakes
- adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

makes about 24-30 mini cupcakes

1-1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 oz almond meal OR 1 cup unblanched almonds
1 cup sugar
1 tsp coarse salt
5 large egg whites
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp kirsch (cherry brandy)
30 sweet (Bing) cherries, stems intact

1- Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. Brush mini muffin tins with butter and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

2- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter is lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the heat and skim off the foam from the top. Set aside.

3- Place the almond meal in a large bowl. (If using whole almonds, process them in a food processor till finely ground, then transfer them to the bowl.) Whisk in the flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Add egg whites and whisk until smooth. Stir in the kirsch. Pour in the browned butter, leaving any burned sediment behind, and whisk to combine. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.

4- Fill each prepared cup with 1 Tbsp batter. Push a cherry into the batter of each cup, stem standing up. Dip the back of a small spoon into the remaining batter and smooth the batter over the top of each cherry to cover it.

5- Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted near the cherries comes out clean. Cool the tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edges to loosen and turn out the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.

Cakes can be stored overnight at room temperature in airtight containers.


Melinda said...

They are cute, Lynn! Love the almond and cherry pairing...yum!

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

OMG those are adorable, just so cute! I love fresh cherries!

Bruce said...

These are SOOOOOO tasty. Just bite sized so you don't feel guilty grabbing one to snack on. I only felt guilty after snacking on 5 to 10 in a row. Your guilt may vary.

Deborah said...

These make me want to run right out and steal some cherries from the neighbor's tree!!

Kitchen Corner said...

These little cakes very cute! Love it!

We Are Not Martha said...

Cherries are super cute... And these are absolutely adorable!! I can't believe I missed them in the MS cupcake book. They look delicious too!


Rachel said...

Oh my goodness! These combine two of my favorite things: cherries and little things. I love petit-fours!!! I may have to try to veganize these. So exciting that it is finally cherry season here ... although, I was talking to someone in the produce department at work and he said that cherry operations (and other berry farms) have been hit by the weather. Apparently, the cold and damp weather this spring has made harvests difficult, ripening slow, and mildews (etc) more pervasive. So sad! These are lovely, though :)

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bellini valli said...

When we drove south into Omak this weekend for Mexican we passed cherry trees laden with so many different varieties. These would be cute. How about dipping the whole thing in chocolate:D

LyB said...

Lynn, I swear this is true, I woke up this morning thinking I needed to find a cupcake or muffin recipe to use up some of the fresh cherries I have in the fridge, and there you go, posting a cherry teacake recipe! Thank you for sharing these, they look fabulous!

Elle said...

Too cute...actually adorable, although I think I would pit and stem the cherries so I could just pop the whole thing in my mouth. Bet there wouldn't be too many left to worry about overnight storage :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

These are too cute, Lynn! So delicate and look delicious, too. Too bad I'll have to wait till the end of the year to try them - but I'm sure it will be worth it! :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I know what I'm making my mom for her b-day!

grace said...

i remember being absolutely floored by these little stemmed tea cakes the first time i came across them, and they still wow me. yes, cherries rock. :)

Peabody said...

I love the little stems sticking up.

CaSaundraLeigh said...

Ahh these are adorable! I am so glad fresh cherries are available.

Martha's Circle said...


Noticed your blog post, and wanted to thank you for sharing. Great pictures, too! I also posted a link to it on the Martha's Circle Twitter account:


Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

These are super cute :)

eatme_delicious said...

Aw those are very cute indeed! I love the stem sticking out the top.