The classic French Cinnamon Tea Cake made a little more posh with vanilla bean paste and fresh cherries. A quick and tasty low fat, low sugar dessert.
French Tea Cake is one of Mr Chipconnoisseur’s favourite desserts. It’s quick to make, fragrant with warm notes of cinnamon and vanilla. And, as any good French dish would have it, just the right amount of butter. The idea to add fresh cherries to this otherwise plain tea cake came from my Dad.
Back in his home liqueur making days, he used to make a kirsch like no other. His was infused with vanilla beans and a hint of cinnamon for good measure. The flavour was rich, complex and very much suited for winter. While local cherries are only available in Australia around Christmas, I have used fresh US cherries which are currently available in stores. But I am pretty sure that when out of season, pitted Morello cherries (in jar) would also be great.
Dousing the tea cake with brandy or port is completely optional but it adds to the cake’s appeal in my opinion. And since I’ve reduced the amount of sugar from the original, if you like your cake a little sweeter, you could also drizzle a tablespoon of runny icing all over the top if you prefer. Or serve it with vanilla ice cream like I have. Yum!
French Cinnamon Tea Cake with Fresh Cherries
For the French Tea Cake:
- 65 g butter softened
- 1/4 cup unrefined sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour sifted
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup milk at room temperature
For the Cherry Topping:
- 250 g cherries cut in half and pitted
- 2 tbsp port or brandy
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Vanilla ice cream
To make the Cake:
- Using electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste until pale and creamy.
- Add egg. Beat well.
- Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl.
- Using a large metal spoon, fold cinnamon flour and milk alternately into butter mixture until just combined.
- Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth surface.
To add Cherry Topping:
- Distribute pitted cheery halves around the top of the cake, pitted side up.
- Drizzle with port or brandy.
- Sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes.
- Turn onto a wire rack.
- Serve warm or cold with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.