English cherry almond tray-bake


This is a simple tray-bake using seasonal English cherries. It is kept very moist by using mild olive oil or vegetable oil in place of butter and with the addition of ground almonds.
Any stone fruit would be suitable, too — Victoria plums or apricots perhaps, stones removed, sliced in half and scattered over the batter.

225g caster sugar
4 large, free range eggs
240ml mild, light olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp almond extract/essence
Zest of an orange or lemon
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
40g ground almonds
250g or a punnet of fresh cherries, pitted, sliced in half
Icing sugar to dust and serve

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Line a square baking tin or tray (approx 20 x 20 x 5cm) with baking paper.

Beat the caster sugar and eggs together for five minutes, until pale and creamy.

Slowly pour in the oil and beat again. Add the almond extract and mix in well.

Grate in the zest of one lemon or orange.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and carefully mix (with a metal spoon, not mixer) until it is all combined.

Add in the ground almonds and carefully mix again. Pour in the cake batter. Scatter the halved cherries over the top and push down, leaving some of the cherries visible.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Dust with the icing sugar and cut into squares or slices. Serve warm or cool. Keeps well in a tin for up to five days.

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