June 10, 2022

Kirschkuchen (Cherry Coffee Cake)

 
 
It's become an annual tradition, five years and counting!, to go cherry picking with my family to herald the beginning of summer.  My parents live in California's San Joaquin Valley and there are several U-pick places near them. Normally we go cherry-picking around Memorial Day weekend, but this year we went two weeks later and most of the trees had been picked over.  Fortunately we were still able to find a few trees that were bursting with ripe, sweet Bing cherries, our favorite variety.  
 


 
When it comes to cherry picking my family doesn't mess around. No joke, in previous years we've picked in the neighborhood of 50-60 pounds!  And no, lest you think we're complete fruit gluttons, we do not eat all the cherries ourselves!  A majority of the fruit is distributed to family and friends to enjoy.
 
Ironically, while Bing cherries are great for eating and snacking, when it comes to baking it's actually tart cherries that are preferred.  Sadly I haven't really been able to source fresh tart cherries near me.  One year I even considered having some sent from Michigan, but after seeing the exorbitant shipping costs to San Francisco I immediately changed my mind.   Luckily canned tart cherries can be easily sourced at my local supermarket.
  
 
 
 
Pie is normally the first thing that comes to people's minds with cherry baking, but I happened upon this recipe for Kirschkuchen (Cherry Coffee Cake) from Red Currant Bakery and wanted to try it instead.  If you aren't already following Audrey's blog you should because she focuses on German baking.  What I especially like about this particular recipe is the use of tart AND sweet cherries.   Nothing goes better with cherries than almonds.  I just love the fruit and nut combination so I added hints of almond to the recipe where I could.  For the cake batter and streusel I replaced some of the vanilla extract with almond extract and to give the streusel topping some extra crunch I mixed in raw sliced almonds.  
 
 
It took immense willpower to let the cake cool slightly before digging into it but once it was warm enough to cut I immediately polished off two slices.  It's THAT good!  I think I might have found a new cherry tradition because I will definitely be making this recipe again and again.

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