Using a blend of Bing and Rainier cherries, this easy upside-down cake is a real looker, sure to impress any group you share with. If you can’t find Rainier cherries, you can certainly use all sweet or a mix of whatever varieties of sweet and tart cherries you can find locally. Fresh thyme leaves delicately scent the cake with a herbaceous aroma, which makes a wonderful complement to the sweetness of the caramelized fruit topping. For a perfectly tender and moist cake, finish incorporating the ingredients by hand, as this will prevent over-mixing your way to a tough texture. You’ll also want to be sure to arrange the cherries as tightly as you can in the cake pan; fruit shrinks slightly as it cooks and you don’t want too much unadorned cake poking through.
6 tablespoons (3 oz.) unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved (about 6 oz.)
1 cup fresh Rainier cherries, pitted and halved (about 6 oz.)
1 1/3 cups (about 5 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream
Whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the Topping: Place butter in a 9-inch round baking pan, and place in preheated oven until butter is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Tilt pan to coat sides with butter. Stir brown sugar into melted butter in bottom of pan until smooth, spreading it evenly on bottom of pan. Decoratively arrange cherries, cut-side down, and thyme sprigs on brown sugar mixture.
Prepare the Cake: Whisk together flour, thyme leaves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat together brown sugar and butter in bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg and vanilla, beating until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture and sour cream; beat on low until just moistened. Stir ingredients by hand until fully incorporated.
Dollop cake mixture over fruit, and spread evenly to sides of pan. Bake in preheated oven until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a large cake plate. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with more thyme leaves, and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
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