blissful eats with Tina Jeffers: cherry brown butter cake

My calendar says that is June 1st but here it is cold, wet and gloomy.  I have been living in Portland for almost seven years but this time of year still takes me by surprise.  Growing up in Southern California the first week of June meant a trip to the beach and barbecues every night.  While it's nice to have seasons, by this time of the year, I feel myself getting a little bit more desperate every day for a glimpse of the sun, any glimmer of heat.  When summer finally does arrive sometime around July 4th it's all that more glorious and we find ourselves spending every moment we can outside, going for walks, shopping at the farmers market, or just hanging out at the park.

Right now, the only sign of approaching warmer weather is the arrival of strawberry and cherry season.  While we are still a few weeks away from cherries showing up at the farmers market I did manage to find these nice looking specimens at the supermarket this week.  My son has recently decided that he loves cherries so I thought that it would be nice to take a step away from our usual chocolate heavy desserts and try something a little different.  I came up with this recipe to incorporate some of my favorite ingredients, hazelnuts and brown butter.  Browning the butter before baking imparts a toasty nutty flavor that adds a little something special to this simple cake.  If you can't easily find hazelnut flour, you can make your own.  Toast 1 cup of hazelnuts in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes and rub the skins off then pop them into a food processor and pulse them until the nuts just until they break down and resemble course sand.  I served the cake topped with a few fresh cherries but it would be delicious with vanilla ice cream, or even better all by itself first thing in the morning for breakfast.  If you wrap it well and keep it refrigerated it will easily last for a week.

Cherry brown butter cake


2 cups flour
1/2 cup hazelnut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/2 cup milk
3 cups pitted cherries

for the crumble:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup hazelnut flour
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and line the bottom with parchment.  

In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, hazelnut flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  

For the brown butter, melt 8 ounces (2 sticks) of butter in a skillet over medium heat 5-7 minutes until you see brown flecks and the butter gives off a toasty, nutty smell.  Pour the butter into a wide shallow container, and freeze for 15 minutes or until the butter has solidified

When the butter is frozen, whisk it with the sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated.

Fold the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, do not over-mix.

Add the milk and stir until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, top with the cherries.

For the crumble, combine butter, sugar, cinnamon and flours in a bowl with your hands until it resembles course sand and sprinkle on top of the cherries

Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown

~visit tina on scaling back blog