I made this adaptation of my original – and very popular – Peach Traybake from A Girl Called Jack, last weekend for Mrs J’s local cycling club. She reported back that it had all vanished within minutes; the most popular of the three cakes at the tea stop by far. I was very chuffed – although I had also made the other two as well! Recipes for those to follow later – for now, please enjoy this utter delight. I used defrosted frozen cherries as they come ready pitted and are cheaper than fresh ones (I long for the careless frivolity of being able to spend both time and money hurling fresh cherries into cakes!) but tinned cherries and glace cherries work just as well.
I’ll also be posting a vegan edition later down the line using applesauce in place of the eggs; I just want to test it first as this is a particularly moist cake so I’ve a feeling it won’t be a straight simple swap and that the other ingredients may need some tweaking, so bear with me on that one. It’s just a quarter past three in the morning as I’m writing this one up (I couldn’t sleep, so have learned to get up and do useful things instead of lay awake being annoyed at myself) and as much as my small family appreciate my baking, I’m not sure they’d appreciate me clattering around in the kitchen at this hour of the morning. If you’re absolutely hankering for the vegan version and I haven’t got around to it in a fortnight or so, feel free to give me a gentle reminder on social media or in the comments section below!
Makes 9 generous pieces from 21p each. Prices quoted are correct at the time of publication.
250g butter or baking block, 55p (55p/250g, Tesco)
200g sugar, 13p (65p/kg, Tesco)
3 eggs, 39p (£2/15 mixed weight free-range, Tesco)
200g self-raising flour, 6p (45p/1.5kg, Stockwell at Tesco)
120g frozen cherries, 50p (£2/480g, Tesco)
100g white chocolate, 30p (30p/100g, Ms Mollys at Tesco)
First preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, and ensure there is a shelf in the centre or just below it. Lightly – and I mean very lightly, as this is a fat-rich cake so barely needs it- grease a 20cm x 20cm small cake tin. Or thereabouts; exact measurements aren’t necessary, but bear in mind that a slightly larger tin will cook faster as the traybake will be more shallow, and a slightly smaller one will take slightly longer as the batter will be more dense, so if deviating from the 20×20, adjust your timings to take it into account.
If you’re using frozen cherries and they’re still, well, frozen, pop them into a microwave proof bowl and zap them at full power for 90 seconds to defrost. Remove and stand to one side. (The cherries, that is, not you. Come back! Oh god, I’m turning into my Dad already.)
Dice your butter into 2cm x 2cm cubes and pop it into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and one of the eggs, and mash together with a fork to soften the butter, until you’re able to beat it together into a sloppy buttercream consistency. Add the other two eggs and beat in well, then mix in the flour until well combined into a thick but smooth batter.
Roughly chop your chocolate into small chunks, and tip into the batter along with the cherries. Fold in briskly, then scrape the whole lot into the prepared tin. Smooth the top with the back of your spoon, making sure the batter is pushed into all four corners, then place into the oven.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes to firm up, before cutting into 9 equally sized pieces (or unequally sized, depending on how much you want to share it!). Serve warm or cold. Leftovers (ha!) will keep in an airtight container or food storage bag for up to three days, or in the freezer for three months. Defrost and warm through to piping hot to serve for best results.
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