Liqueur and almond essence-spiked fruit sponge cakes
I’ve named these flying saucer cakes because they look like little comic strip flying saucers. The liqueur and almond essence-spiked batter is spooned into non-stick mince pie tins and a whole cherry, stem and all, is stuck in each.
Once baked, the batter spreads out over the rim and puffs up golden, the cherry peeks out like a dome and the stem sticks out, resembling an antenna. The result has a beautifully balanced texture ratio—a slight bite to the exterior and a spongy centre, with the whole fruit bursting in the middle. Be sure to warn people that the pit is still in the cherry!
Butter, for greasing
250g self-raising flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
200g caster sugar (golden if possible)
120ml thick and creamy yoghurt
60ml sunflower oil
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
½ tsp almond essence
1 tbsp cherry liqueur
24 fresh ripe cherries, stem in tact
Preheat oven to 180C. Generously butter 2 x 24-hole mince pie tins and dust lightly with flour.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the remaining ingredients, except the cherries.
Fold in the flour mixture in a few swift strokes until evenly combined but still a little lumpy.
Spoon tbsp of the mixture into the tins to come just below the top of the holes. Stick a cherry in the middle of each, stem up.
Bake for 20 mins, until golden and firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then carefully dislodge the cakes from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Recipe: Celia Brooks