Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Black Cherry and Raspberry Kuchen

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

I like featuring recipes on Cook the Book that take advantage of ingredients that are in season since, as a rule, they taste better, are more readily available, and are generally less expensive. But every once in a while I come across a recipe that needs be shared even if it isn't the most seasonal. This Black Cherry and Raspberry Kuchen from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson is one of those recipes.

Sure, it's the middle of February and the entire Northeast is blanketed in a layer of snow so deep that many of us are homebound and cherries and raspberries are certainly not at the height of their season. Regardless of these factors, I needed to make this lemon-glazed fruit-studded kuchen.

Instead of spending way too much on the subpar berries of uncertain provenance I saw in the produce section, I headed to the freezer aisle and bought bags of flash frozen cherries and raspberries. I figured that they would be my best bet for this unseasonal baking venture.

"Kuchen" is the German word for "cake" and comes in many different forms. This one is similar to a coffee cake, made with yeasted batter, topped with melted butter and fruit, and finished with a sweet glaze, in this case either lemon or vanilla.

The batter is made by warming butter, milk, and brown sugar, and dissolving yeast into the mix. The mixture is combined with flour and eggs and left to proof in the baking pan until it has doubled in size. The yeast gives the cake a wonderfully light texture that makes this a great breakfast cake.

This came out of the oven looking like a dream come true and tasted even better. The raspberries and cherries had bled into the cake, streaking it with sweet-tart dark red juices and keeping it nice and moist. The frozen fruit worked perfectly in this recipe, possibly even better than fresh ones. Make this if you want delicious summer flavors in the dead of winter mixed into a perfectly textured coffee cake.

Win The Grand Central Baking Book

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Grand Central Baking Book to give away this week.

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