This was a long, too long winter in the Netherlands. The cold and rain made me crave the Mediterranean sun like never before. Nevertheless, temperatures have been rising lately, reaching summer highs that make my heart beat faster, turn my walk into a soft dance and I joyfully welcome the breath-taking green scenery surrounding me. My senses enjoy nature’s fragrances, intense colours, bird songs and overall uplifting energy of spring, the season of rebirth.
Amongst all those things, seeing the first cherries takes me back to the Mediterranean, back home. Cherrie picking season was one of my favourite moments each year. Finding a perfect cherrie branch, in deep shade, a good view and plenty of big, red, non-vegan 😉 fruits marked the beginning of summer, leisure and intense social life. Summers in Croatia are long…hot…but, oh – so beautiful.
I couldn’t wait to bring some cherries from the farmer’s market to my Dutch home and, in my mind, I instantly combined the ingredients – cherries, yogurt, lemon, a lot of lemon, and almonds. It already felt so refreshing, moist, fragrant, summery. And that’s exactly how it turned out!
Beside being vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free AND delicious, this recipe is also very versatile, that you can play with throughout the whole year. Replace the cherries with any other seasonal fruits, such as peaches, blueberries, plums or strawberries. But I’m all into cherries right now. Already thinking what to make next.
Cherrie yogurt cake can be served as is, with a cup of tea or refreshing Ayurvedic summer lemonade (more lemons please!). But it would also be wonderful with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice-cream on the side. Oh, yeah!
CHERRIE YOGURT CAKE
- 70 g/1/2 cup almonds
- 260 g/2 cups spelt flour, or unbleached plain/all-purpose wheat flour (contains gluten)
- 1,5 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- pinch of turmeric, for that beautiful colour
- 240 ml/1 cup soy yogurt, unsweetened
- 80 g/1/2 cup olive or sunflower oil
- 140 g maple syrup, rice syrup or agave
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon bourbon vanilla powder
- freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of one organic lemon
- 280 g/1,5 cup fresh pitted cherries
- 30 g/1/3 cup almond flakes
- freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
– combine together and gently bring to the boil. Pour hot over baked cake.
- powdered coconut flakes or coconut sugar, if desired
- 80g/1/2 cup fresh cherries
- a few fragrant jasmine flowers, just because I can’t go without flowers
28cm springform cake pan, or medium baking pan, lined with parchment paper and oiled
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Toast the almonds in a dry pan until fragrant. Let cool then grind into fine powder using a coffee grinder or food processor. Alternatively, you can buy almond flour.
- Sift the spelt flour, almond meal/ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and turmeric into a medium bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, oil, syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat well until creamy.
- Pout the creamy mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix gently with a spatula until well combined. Do not overmix or beat the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Top evenly with pitted cherries, pressing them gently into the batter. Leave some space between the fruit for the batter to rise.
- Sprinkle the almond flakes on top.
- Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden. Use a toothpick to check if the middle of the cake is well baked.
- Remove the cake from the oven. Use a toothpick to make lots of small holes all over the top of the cake. Slowly spoon over the maple-lemon syrup. Cake will quickly absorb the syrup. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
- Sprinkle with powdered coconut or coconut sugar on top, if desired, decorate with fresh cherries and serve at room temperature.