Cherries and almonds have a natural affinity; in fact, cherry pits have a bitter almond flavor. The ease of this special dessert belies its gorgeous appearance. If you're pitting the cherries, be sure to work over a bowl and save any accumulated juice, which should be added to the recipe with the cherries.
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 pounds dark sweet cherries, pitted
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar and wine in a large saucepan over low heat; stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Stir in cherries. Reduce heat to low, and cook 5 minutes or until cherries just begin to soften, stirring frequently. Remove cherries from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid in pan. Place cherries in a bowl; stir in lemon juice. Arrange cherries in an even layer in bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Cook wine mixture over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat; drizzle over cherries in prepared pan.
Place almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor; process until finely ground (do not process to a paste).
Place eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy; slowly add remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Beat until thick and lemon-colored (about 2 minutes).
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt. Gradually sift flour mixture over egg mixture; fold in. Fold in ground almond mixture. Carefully spoon batter over cherries in prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Place a plate upside down on top of cake; invert onto plate.