Featured Ingredient: Cherries
Oh baby, it’s cherry season. This stone fruit - a relative of plums, peaches, and nectarines – is crammed with anthocyanin antioxidants that are responsible for their rosy hue. Anthocyanin’s have been credited with reducing inflammation and helping keep the mind sharp. A big bowl of sour or sweet cherries also provides a good amount of vitamin C and potassium. And here is an interesting fact: Cherries are a rare food source of melatonin, which may help regulate sleep patterns.
I’ve been waiting till cherries showed up at the farmers’ market so I could try this recipe which is a play on iconic upside down cherry cake. So let’s call this rightside up mini cherry cakes.
Pitting cherries is certainly easier with a cherry pitter but you can also ease the process with a chopstick. Just push the pointy end of the chopstick through the stem side of the cherry and the pit will burst out. Don’t wear your best whites!
I really recommend using the cornmeal as it adds a nice texture. But if you don’t have any around just add another ¼ cup flour. Some of the cherry mixture will spill out of the cups during baking but that’s ok, this is not a beauty food contest. But make sure to only fill the muffin cups halfway with batter or you will really have a cherry tsunami on your hands.
Rightside Up Cherry Cakes
2 ½ cups pitted cherries, sliced in half
1 Tbsp cornstarch
¾ cup sugar of choice
½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk of choice
In a saucepan, combine cherries with ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 6 minutes, or until cherries soften and begin to break down. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with ¼ cup water and stir into cherries along with ¼ cup of the sugar. Continue cooking until mixtures thickens somewhat, about 3 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together flours, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in oil, ½ cup sugar and vanilla. Stir in sifted dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Spoon batter into 12 greased non-stick muffin cups. Only fill half way. Top with saucy cherries. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.