Upside-Down Cherry & Almond Cake

This cake was inspired by Jerrelle Guy's recipe for NYT Cooking – she's a wonderful cook, and you can find her on Instagram here. Her dish looked so summery, and I absolutely can’t resist anything made with cherries.

The other thing that excited me about this recipe was Jerrelle's use of black pepper in her cake batter, which she says provides just enough heat to enhance the sweetness of the cherries – and I love it! If it’s really not your thing, just omit the pepper, as this cake will still be fantastic without.

For the base, I used my own classic plant-based sponge recipe. It’s a rustic cake, utterly delicious, so very simple, and the perfect dessert for you and your guests on a balmy summer's evening.



For the base

400g Rainier cherries, stoned and halved

50g light soft brown sugar

2 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp almond extract

¼ tsp sea salt

Wet ingredients

300ml plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or oat

100ml light oil, such as groundnut

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

Dry ingredients

300g plain flour

50g ground almonds

100g light soft brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Good pinch sea salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)

To serve

Plant-based cream with a grating of lemon zest, or vanilla ice cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6.
  2. Place the base ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine, and empty into an 8-inch cake tin – make sure it's not a loose-bottomed tin, as the cherry juices will leak out during cooking. Place in the oven for 10 mins, to allow the cherries to soften.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together the wet ingredients in one large bowl, and the dry in another. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry in three stages, combining well each time.
  4. Remove the cherries from the oven, stir gently, and flatten the mixture out to cover the bottom of the cake tin.
  5. Pour the batter onto the cherries and return the tin to the oven. Reduce the heat to 190°C/fan 170°C/Gas 5.
  6. Bake for 30 mins, then check the cake by pushing a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake is done – if not, cook for another 10-15 mins until it's cooked through.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the tin. Allow it to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn it out onto a rimmed plate.
  8. Serve with plant-based cream, whipped and with a little lemon zest stirred through, or a scoop of plant-based vanilla ice cream.

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