I often bemoan the fact that, living as I do in the middle of nowhere, I have less access to exotic ingredients than a lot of people living in larger centres do. Case in point: sour cherries. We get black cherries in season from the Okanagan, which is great. Sometimes, if you want to pay the ridiculous prices, you can even get them out of season. We get marashino cherries in syrup. But I have never seen a single sour cherry in these parts until last week, when I happened upon a jar while cruising the aisles of Save-on Foods in Nelson. I wasn't even looking for them; I was just wandering by the foreign foods section, and out they popped. I didn't even think about it; I just put them in my basket, noting the $4.99 price tag (they are a product of Bulgaria, I later read on the label. I'm surprised they weren't more). I got them home and proceeded to agonize over what to do with them.
Last week I also received my June issue of Gourmet, and in it was a recipe for Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. The old wheels began turning in my brain (it happens from time to time) and I decided to make a Sour Cherry Buttermilk Cake instead. The wheels continuted to turn, and I went on to decide that a Sour Cherry Buttermilk Loaf would be even better. (The reasoning behind this is purely psychological; I would be far more amenable to having a loaf kicking around the house as opposed to a cake. If this seems purely irrational to you, join the club.)
So, on the hottest day of the year yet, I fired up the oven (as much as you can fire up a 30 year old electric oven) and baked. The recipe I used is here. In addition to replacing the raspberries with sour cherries and making this into a loaf instead of a cake, I also took the opportunity to try out some of my Billington's sugar crystals that were part of a box of treasures Jodi sent me in March.
The result was both ugly and wonderful. The ugly part was that the loaf looked terrible: flat and overly browned. It looked quite like a brick, actually.
Not quite what I was expecting. I was also not expecting this:
The cherries sunk right from the top of the loaf directly to the bottom. Weird.
The wonderful part was that this cake tasted awesome. Next time, I'll at least follow the instructions and bake it in a cake pan (though the recipe specifies a 9" round, I think the recipe is too small for this size pan; I've had this problem with some other recipes from Gourmet and/or Bon Appetit. The cake pan is too big for the amount of batter you get, so I use an 8").