We just got back from our annual trek up California’s Central Valley to check out the Fresno Fruit Trail. We came back with all the regulars – blackberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots. The cherries were a special treat this year and oh so delicious!
All the goodies appeared with dinner every night, on this berry, burrata breakfast salad, and, mostly, on their own as I grabbed them out of the fridge like candy all day long. I don’t think my cherry pitter ever saw so much action – and my husband never thought he’d have to clean it so much!
With their natural sweetness and juiciness, they seem perfect in any setting. But I’m very partial to this cherry shortcake dessert that was magically everything summer…
Cherry Shortcake Recipe
Just like traditional strawberry shortcake, this cherry shortcake recipe has angel food cake, whipped cream, and fresh cherries. I made the mini angel food cakes for this recipe, but you could easily buy an angel food cake and cut out that step – the lengthiest and most time-consuming one for sure.
I can’t stress enough the importance of making your own whipped cream, however. Once you’ve made homemade whipped cream, you’ll never want to buy the premade version again. It’s super simple to make and the flavor is incomparable, making the simplest of desserts seem so decadent.
And I love adding in complementary flavors. Usually it’s vanilla and/or almond extract, but for this cherry shortcake I added whiskey. I always think cherries and whiskey go together, so it seemed a no-brainer. Amaretto is another favorite spirit of mine to add to my homemade whipped cream and it would probably be delicious with cherries as well – certainly with berries or stone fruits.
CHERRY SHORTCAKE W. WHISKEY WHIPPED CREAM
I love strawberry shortcake, but I love swapping out the strawberry for whatever fresh fruits I have on hand. In this case, it's delicious cherries. The whiskey-spiked whipped cream is optional, but I'd highly recommend giving it a shot. If you don't do whiskey, try amaretto, frangelico, or brandy in place of the spirit!
- ¾ Cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ Cup flour sifted
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 6 egg whites
- 5 Tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 8 oz./1 Cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons whiskey could also use bourbon or amaretto
- 3 Cups pitted halved cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, spin sugar two minutes until super fine. Sift 6 tablespoons fine sugar with flour and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, thoroughly combine egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. After two minutes, switch to flat paddle attachment and turn to medium speed. Slowly sift reserved sugar into egg white mixture. Beat until you have medium peaks - check by occasionally lifting paddle out of batter. Foam peak should hold but not be stiff.
Sift enough of the flour mixture to dust the top of the foam. Gently fold together using rubber spatula. Continue until all flour is incorporated.
Spoon batter into 12 ungreased muffin tins.
Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Cool upside down on wire rack for at least one hour (or overnight).
Carefully remove cakes from tin using toothpick to remove from sides.
Meanwhile, beat whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and whiskey until ripples remain in the cream.
Layer cake, whipped cream, and cherries to serve.