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This moist and fruity cake from Honey & Co. was inspired by Israel’s markets
Milk Street Bowtie Almond-Coconut Cake with Cherries and Pistachios

Almond-Coconut Cake with Cherries and Pistachios

Appears in May-June 2021

1¼ hours 20 minutes active, plus cooling

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Almond-Coconut Cake with Cherries and Pistachios

Free

In 2012 in London, Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer opened Honey & Co., a tiny restaurant that serves up thoughtfully prepared Middle Eastern comfort food. The couple has since opened Honey & Smoke and Honey & Spice and authored several books. This rustic cake is our adaptation of a recipe from their first title, “Honey & Co.: The Cookbook.” Dense, moist and filled from top to bottom with fruity, nutty flavor and texture, the cake is great as dessert, brunch or with coffee or tea. Honey & Co. flavors it with mahleb, a baking spice made from the seeds from a variety of cherry; we use easier-to-source almond extract. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

10-12

Servings

Tip

Don’t use sweetened shredded coconut, as it will make the cake too sugary. Unsweetened shredded coconut—not wide shavings—is the right variety. If fresh cherries are out of season, don’t hesitate to use thawed frozen cherries—they’re equally tasty on the cake. Lastly, don’t worry that inverting the cake out of the pan will cause the toppings to fall off. The fruit and nuts are baked in, so only a couple small pieces may come loose, if any.

1¼ hours

20 minutes active, plus cooling

141 grams (10 tablespoons) salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
100 grams (1 cup) almond flour
86 grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour
40 grams (½ cup) shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
106 grams (½ cup) plus 1 tablespoon white sugar
73 grams (⅓ cup) packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
255 grams (9 ounces) fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted, or 225 grams (1½ cups) frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed and patted dry
48 grams (⅓ cup) unsalted roasted pistachios, chopped
Powdered sugar, to serve (optional)
Ingredients
  • 141

    grams (10 tablespoons) salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan

  • 100

    grams (1 cup) almond flour

  • 86

    grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour

  • 40

    grams (½ cup) shredded unsweetened coconut

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon table salt

  • 3

    large eggs, room temperature

  • 106

    grams (½ cup) plus 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • 73

    grams (⅓ cup) packed light brown sugar

  • ½

    teaspoon almond extract

  • 255

    grams (9 ounces) fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted, or 225 grams (1½ cups) frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed and patted dry

  • 48

    grams (⅓ cup) unsalted roasted pistachios, chopped

  • Powdered sugar, to serve (optional)

Directions
  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a round of kitchen parchment, then butter the parchment.
  2. 02
    In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the coconut, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, the 106 grams (½ cup) white sugar, brown sugar and almond extract, then whisk until well combined. Whisk in the melted and cooled butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients until homogeneous; the batter will be thick but pourable.
  3. 03
    Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using your hands, tear the cherries in half over the batter, allowing the juice to fall onto the surface, then drop the pieces onto the surface in an even layer. Sprinkle with the pistachios and the remaining 1 tablespoon white sugar.
  4. 04
    Bake until a toothpick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack until barely warm to the touch, about 1 hour. Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert onto a platter. Lift off the pan and peel off the parchment. Re-invert the cake onto a platter. If desired, dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
Tip: Don’t use sweetened shredded coconut, as it will make the cake too sugary. Unsweetened shredded coconut—not wide shavings—is the right variety. If fresh cherries are out of season, don’t hesitate to use thawed frozen cherries—they’re equally tasty on the cake. Lastly, don’t worry that inverting the cake out of the pan will cause the toppings to fall off. The fruit and nuts are baked in, so only a couple small pieces may come loose, if any.
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Reviews
Kimberly S.
June 28, 2022
Delicious
I really enjoyed this recipe. We tried it twice, first with fresh cherries, and the second time, with frozen cherries. Both tasted delicious, though the extra juice from the frozen cherries resulted in a more moist texture overall We found we preferred the more crisp, sugary topping, which worked more easily with fresh cherries. Either way, this was a perfect cake to enjoy with a cup of tea and a very easy to make recipe!
Marianne A.
June 8, 2022
Great flavors!
This was delicious. Next I will try to make it with gluten free flour for my daughter-in-law.
Judy T.

This recipe had me at Almond...with Cherries and Pistachios. As someone who avoids coconut at all costs, I didn’t even see the word Coconut until I turned to the page in the magazine.
How bad would it be to omit the half cup of shredded coconut?
If the recipe requires the added bulk of the coconut, what might be substituted?
Thank you.

Valerie T.

This cake tasted like spring to me! Loved it. I used frozen cherries; wide shavings of coconut instead of shredded; and peanuts instead of pistachios. Those were the ingredients I had on hand and they worked perfectly.

Diana L.

This is so delicious. I only put half of white sugar as I think too much makes the flavor not to come out right. The sponge of the cake is so good.

LAURA H.

If you want to use mahleb instead of almond exact, how much would you substitute?

Lynn C.

Hi Laura -

We never tested the spice in our version of the recipe because we knew most readers wouldn't be able to source it easily. However, ours is an adapted version of Honey & Co.'s original in which they call for 1 1/4 teaspoons of mahleb, so I would probably use that amount since the two recipes are very similar. Hope that helps!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Linda S.

Could you use a springform pan rather than the round cake pan?

Lynn C.

Hi Linda -

Yes! We actually developed it in a springform and then found we could simply turn it out of a regular cake pan. Since most people have cake pans and not springform pans we chose to go with the latter, but it should definitely work in a springform.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Cheryl W.

I used rhubarb instead of cherries. I just put a 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and let them set for 20 minutes. I would not suggest adding the sugar on top it browns too much and the recipe doesn't need the extra sugar. I had to tent the cake to keep it from becoming too brown on top.

Roni H.

Thank you MS. Served this delicious cake at our Mother's Day Brunch (first time we were all together in 15 months!). I used vanilla extract instead of almond extract (not loved in our house). This was beautiful, flavorful, and a perfect make ahead cake. Thanks again.

w. s.

This is more of a master recipe. I have used a variety of different sugars depending on the fruit I was using. I have also substituted other nut meals for the almond and substituted 1/3 of the AP flour for Teff flour. Spices change depending on the fruit. Thank you so much for such a versatile and easy recipe. I do use a scale for all the ingredients.

Nick L.

I made this with slivered almonds instead of pistachios, and it came out great!

Christina T.

I have a home baking business specializing in almond based cakes so I was drawn to any almond cakes recipes. I made this cake using the original recipe from Honey & Co last summer. I used ground mahleb as the recipe called for so I never tried using almond extract. Since ground mahleb is grounded cherry pits, it intensified the cherry flavor throughout the cake. I tried using frozen cherries and while it's still good, fresh cherries are definitely better. Also coconut brings another depth to the flavor so I wouldn't omit it unless you dislike it. Overall, this cake is a winner and so easy to make.

Gary B.

I have made this recipe twice and both times the cake was easy to make and really delicious. I found that pulling the cake out at 50 minutes is ideal for my oven. Thanks for something that a non-baker can make successfully.

Evan T.

How would one go about scaling this up? Am I going to run into problems simply making 1.5x or 2x the size?

Lynn C.

Hi Evan -

We haven't tested this in a larger size, but scaling baking recipes can be tricky. This guide from Serious Eats might be helpful to determine how to scale the ingredients for the pan size you want to use - https://www.seriouseats.com/how-to-resize-cake-recipes-to-fit-any-pan. Keep in mind, however, that this cake needs to be turned out of the pan so if you're planning to use a larger 9x13 pan that could be kind of tricky. Good luck!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Lisa R A.

I made this exactly as written and it's amazing. The chewy coconut and the tart cherries with the almond flavor... Heaven! Not too sweet, and is both comforting and impressive.

William H.

Has anyone else had a problem with the toppings (cherries and pistachios) sinking into the cake? I've made this twice now and both times this happened. FYI... I'm at 6400 feet altitude (but I don't feel that's the problem). My only potential solution is to pre-bake it for 5 minutes or so to set the top, and then add the toppings (cherries, pistachios, and sugar) and finish baking. Otherwise, I love this cake.

Lynn C.

Hi William -

The topping does sink a little bit into the top of the cake so that the topping stays on when you turn it out. If it is sinking deeper than shown in the photo above, then that would be a problem. We do think this could be related to the altitude. There's a lot less atmospheric pressure at higher elevations because the air is thinner. This causes water to boil at a lower temperature and evaporation to occur faster. The gases from leavening agents (baking powder, baking soda and.yeast, to name a few) can end up expanding too quickly, making cakes rise too early and then fall. The first thing to try would be increasing the oven temperature by 25 degrees to see if the higher temp "locks" in the structure faster. Obviously this means the timing will change and you'll need to monitor for browning. If you still have issues, you will likely need to make micro adjustments to the ingredients - flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs - to see if that solves the problem. Susan Purdy has some well-tested cookbooks on high altitude baking that we would highly recommend.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Carolyn G.

I'm a retired FoodStylist of 40 years, and all the toppings sunk into the batter. I live at 700 ft above sea level and don't typically have issues with fruit sinking. I never make adjustments for altitude in Portland Oregon. Rechecked to make sure all quantities were correctly measured. I did beat the sugar in with the eggs until the sugar was forming ribbons off of the beater. The batter didn't seem very stiff when pouring into the pan. I used an oven thermometer and my oven was actually 375 when I put the cake in. I turned the oven down a bit to compensate for the extra 25 degrees. It did brown a little faster than I would have wanted and the center when tested with a knife came out with a little moisture on it at 50 min. I have a technician coming in this weekend to tune up my gas range. Maybe ingredients sunk due to temperature, maybe it was the over beating of egg with sugars. Would love your insight.
Best, Carolyn

Carolyn G.

I'm a retired FoodStylist of 40 years, and all the toppings sunk into the batter. I live at 700 ft above sea level and don't typically have issues with fruit sinking. I never make adjustments for altitude in Portland Oregon. Rechecked to make sure all quantities were correctly measured. I did beat the sugar in with the eggs until the sugar was forming ribbons off of the beater. The batter didn't seem very stiff when pouring into the pan. I used an oven thermometer and my oven was actually 375 when I put the cake in. I turned the oven down a bit to compensate for the extra 25 degrees. It did brown a little faster than I would have wanted and the center when tested with a knife came out with a little moisture on it at 50 min. I have a technician coming in this weekend to tune up my gas range. Maybe ingredients sunk due to temperature, maybe it was the over beating of egg with sugars. Would love your insight.
Best, Carolyn

Patricia G.

This cake is amazing! Turned out perfectly. The only thing I did not do was add powdered sugar to the completed cake. Lovely flavor as is!

Anna M.

I loved this cake. Very easy to put together- a delicious amazing recipe!

Tatiana R.

I didn't use almond extract because I'm not a huge fan and I'm afraid of using it, but in retrospect, I think it would have worked well with the other flavors. I substituted frozen cranberries for the sweet cherries because I really love them and because I thought the cherries would be too overwhelming and sweet. It was very good. So good that I was considering making it again the next day... That never happens to me!

The one odd thing is the shredded coconut. I'm actually a big fan of everything coconut, but I almost felt like the flavor was extra. It didn't take away from the cake, but I wonder if it would have felt more integrated with the other cake flavors had I used the almond extract.

It's even better the next day.

Jonathan M.

My toppings sank too. I think it may have to do with the actual size of the eggs. My eggs were on the large size for "large" eggs, and may have contributed too much moisture.

Marianne S.

Could sour cherries be used instead in this recipe?


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Almond-Coconut Cake with Cherries and Pistachios

Get Ready to Cook

10-12

Servings

1¼ hours

20 minutes active, plus cooling

Tip

Don’t use sweetened shredded coconut, as it will make the cake too sugary. Unsweetened shredded coconut—not wide shavings—is the right variety. If fresh cherries are out of season, don’t hesitate to use thawed frozen cherries—they’re equally tasty on the cake. Lastly, don’t worry that inverting the cake out of the pan will cause the toppings to fall off. The fruit and nuts are baked in, so only a couple small pieces may come loose, if any.

Ingredients
  • 141

    grams (10 tablespoons) salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan

  • 100

    grams (1 cup) almond flour

  • 86

    grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour

  • 40

    grams (½ cup) shredded unsweetened coconut

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon table salt

  • 3

    large eggs, room temperature

  • 106

    grams (½ cup) plus 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • 73

    grams (⅓ cup) packed light brown sugar

  • ½

    teaspoon almond extract

  • 255

    grams (9 ounces) fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted, or 225 grams (1½ cups) frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed and patted dry

  • 48

    grams (⅓ cup) unsalted roasted pistachios, chopped

  • Powdered sugar, to serve (optional)

Step 1 of 4

Prepare Pan

Salted butter, for the pan

Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a round of kitchen parchment, then butter the parchment.

Step 2 of 4

Prepare Cake Batter

100
grams (1 cup) almond flour
86
grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour
40
grams (½ cup) shredded unsweetened coconut
1
teaspoon baking powder
½
teaspoon table salt
3
large eggs, room temperature
106
grams (½ cup) white sugar
73
grams (⅓ cup) packed light brown sugar
½
teaspoon almond extract
141
grams (10 tablespoons) salted butter, melted and cooled

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the coconut, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, the 106 grams (½ cup) white sugar, brown sugar and almond extract, then whisk until well combined.


Whisk in the melted and cooled butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients until homogeneous; the batter will be thick but pourable.

Step 3 of 4

Add Cherries and Pistachios

255
grams (9 ounces) fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted, or 225 grams (1½ cups) frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed and patted dry
48
grams (⅓ cup) unsalted roasted pistachios, chopped
1
tablespoon white sugar

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using your hands, tear the cherries in half over the batter, allowing the juice to fall onto the surface, then drop the pieces onto the surface in an even layer.


Sprinkle with the pistachios and the remaining 1 tablespoon white sugar.

Step 4 of 4

Bake, Finish and Serve

Powdered sugar, to serve

Bake until a toothpick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack until barely warm to the touch, about 1 hour.


Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert onto a platter. Lift off the pan and peel off the parchment. Re-invert the cake onto a platter. If desired, dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

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