Serves: Makes one 9-inch cake, to serve 8
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- ½ pound cherries, pitted and halved
- 1½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¾cup whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the sides (not the bottom) of a 9-inch round cake pan.
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat. Add ½ cup of the sugar and the lemon juice and cook, stirring, just until the sugar dissolves and the mixture bubbles. Pour into the prepared pan and swirl the pan to coat the bottom evenly with the mixture.
Scatter the toasted almonds evenly over the bottom of the pan. Put the cherries, cut side up, in the pan in concentric rings.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the remaining ½ cup butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup sugar gradually, beating constantly until pale and light and scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. When the mixture is no longer grainy, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
On low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Add the milk and beat just until blended, then add the remaining dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.
Bake until the cake is well risen, golden brown, firm to the touch, and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and immediately invert the cake onto a serving platter. Leave the cake pan upside down over the cake for about 2 minutes, then lift it off. If a few almonds or cherries have stuck to the bottom of the pan, set them in place on top of the cake. Serve warm.