Weekend Cooking: Sour cherry cake and Biscotti

Remember that Black Forest cake I made?

(If you don’t, I posted it here!)

Anyway in that Black Forest cake (long eaten, it doesn’t keep well with all that fresh whipped cream), were lots of these lovely morello cherries, a jar of which I had bought from my friendly local Trader Joe’s.

I still had a good half of the jar left and unlike last year, when I completely forgot about the remaining cherries until it was way too late, I wanted to use them up.

There are quite a few things I could have done with it. A pie or crumble perhaps? But I didn’t really have very many cherries and I didn’t want to sweeten the cherries themselves too much (which I imagined I would have to do to make a sour cherry pie less sour?). So instead I looked for a sour cherry cake recipe and luckily this one sounded like it would work! I was attracted by the “Easy and Delicious” part, as well as the way the recipe was given in both volume and weight – I’m very fond of my trusty digital weighing scale, perhaps one of the most useful tools in my cupboard.

I pretty much followed the recipe steps except for using the zest of one small Meyer lemon and not measuring it to see if it was indeed 1/2 tsp worth. And not using quite enough cherries as it was about half the jar of Morello cherries. I think I would have liked more cherries in the cake and the recipe does call for the whole Trader Joe’s jar, drained of course.

The cake turned out just right. It wasn’t too sweet and offered a nice contrast with the sour cherries. I don’t like when cakes are too sweet so tend to reduce the sugar amounts when using American recipes. But this one didn’t seem like very much sugar so I left it as is.

The only thing is that my 5yo was a bit dismayed that the cherries were still a bit sour.

Oh and the remaining juice in the jar? I ended up adding that to a sirloin pork roast dish I made. I had braised the pork in beer but wanted to add more sweetness to the dish. So I took the cooking liquid that remained in the slow cooker, added a good slug or four of the cherry juice to it and reduced it way down to a kind of beer-cherry reduction. And it was the perfect sauce for the pork.

In case that wasn’t enough baking and cooking for one day, I also tried out this King Arthur Flour recipe for vanilla biscotti. I was intrigued by the “American-style” description, as the recipe hints that it’s more light and crunchy and not as hard as Italian-style biscotti. I’ve been thinking about Christmas gifting, usually I bake gingerbread cookies to give to school teachers and friends but this year, maybe I’ll give biscotti!

The interesting part about this recipe is that after the first bake (when they’re still in log form), the logs are given a sprinkling of water, which makes slicing easier, and which I guess makes them less hard?

I followed the recipe closely, reducing the sugar just a little but I think next time I will reduce the sugar more. And maybe increase the salt to 1tsp. I’d also like to try it with add-ins, perhaps chocolate chips (which my kids would love), perhaps one batch with some roasted almonds, and I would love to try one with earl grey, and maybe cardamom. The only thing I don’t want to do is glaze or ice them!

What flavors do you like in biscotti?

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs


  1. I just made biscotti! I (very lightly) score the logs with a serrated knife before putting them in the oven to bake the first time. Then, if you work quickly, it’s really easy to slice them for the second baking.

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    1. Oh that’s a good tip! I was thinking of making biscotti for all the many teachers that the kids have and this would help!


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