Friday, September 6, 2013

Ground Cherry Coffee Cake

Ground cherries are related to tomatoes and tomatillos (all of them are in the nightshade family). They have a husk that surrounds them much like tomatillos, and they taste like a sweet tropical fruit with the texture of a tomato.

They are ready to harvest when they fall to the ground and will stay good for 2-3 weeks if you keep the husks on them. Laura has 2 plants at the house and we have a whole row growing at the Pittsburgh project. These are best fresh, but when there is such an abundance what can I do but bake them into a cake? This recipe is from The Kitchn and I made this cake while my family was in town.

2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 cup cane sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk (or regular milk with 1 tsp vinegar)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups ground cherries, husks removed
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 10 inch springform pan.
Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter chunks are the size of peas. Remove 1 cup of flour & butter mixture into a second bowl and set aside to use as topping later.
Add in baking powder and soda to base flour mixture and whisk gently. Add buttermilk and egg fold in until incorporated.
Pour flour mixture into cake pan. Pour the ground cherries evenly over the batter. Next, mix the nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture. Stir and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out crumby, but clean. It's hard to tell if the cake is done becasue the crumb topping covers it, but I just take it out after an hour. Serve with ice cream!

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