Midnight Feast Worthy Cherry Cake

Saturday 22 February 2020

When I was around 6 or 7 years old, I discovered Enid Blyton Books.  I was totally enthralled with her stories.  

At first it was the fairy stories but then I graduated into the adventure books and the books about boarding schools.

The children in the adventure books didn't seem to have much supervision and they travelled all around the countryside.

They were always solving mysteries and getting in and out of scrapes.  I longed for adventure.

The children in the boarding schools also had adventures, and tuck boxes and  midnight feasts. All of her books were filled with lot of deliciously exotic sounding foods.

There were huge coconut macaroons,  billowing meringues, meat paste sandwiches, sausage rolls, cherry cakes and ginger beer . . . 

Oh how I longed to go to Boarding School and have a tuck box filled with treats from home. I wanted  to gather together with the other girls and enjoy mutual midnight feasts of a gargantuan proportions. 

 How my heart yearned to take off into the wild blue yonder across the fields with a couple of meat paste sandwiches tied up in a handkerchief along with a slice of cherry cake and a bottle of ginger beer . . .

My friend Tina went to Boarding School in South Africa.  She had a tuck box and it was filled with treats from home.  Her mother would make her own sweets and cakes and once a week, they were allowed to go into their tuck box and enjoy one of the treats inside. 

 Her homemade goodies were much in demand and she often was able to trade with others for their "exotic-to-her" store manufactured treats.

They also had midnight feasts in their dormitory.  Each girl would steal some bit of food away from their lunch or supper, hiding the goodies in the pockets of their uniform to be shared out and enjoyed later at night after the matron had gone to bed.  

They would pretend to be asleep and then in the middle of night they would gather together and tell stories and share their provisions together . . .  which had taken on the magical properties of anything which has been purloined  . . .

She said that they even would sneak out of the dorm sometimes, putting some of the smaller girls out the windows (because they fit), getting them to unlock the door and then they would all wander about having midnight adventures in the dark.

They left pillows made to look like bodies under the covers back in the dorm. 

OH it does sound so very exciting to me,  and more than a bit dangerous. Even now as a 64 year old woman.  My heart still longs for adventures and midnight feasts.

 I think to be sure those days are long gone for me, and I don't think my digestion could take eating anything after 7 o-clock at night.

I have learnt since moving over here that there is nothing exotic or even tasty about meat paste sandwiches  . . .  or fish paste for that matter (ugh)  

There is something incredibly moreishly exotic about sausage rolls,  eccles cakes, macaroons, ginger beer and  . . . cherry cake.

Perfect for midnight feasts and indoor picnics . . .  this cherry cake is well worthy of sharing.  Cut into thick slices . . .  buttery and moist . . . .

And studded with plenty of glace cherries  . . .  and topped with a sweet drizzle glaze icing and toasted flaked almonds . . . 

Most of the cherries end up evenly distributed, but some do manage to sink to the bottom, no matter how hard you try to make it so that they don't.  

Its inevitable, but if anything . . .  this only adds to the allure of the cake . . .

You nibble the cake all around their sticky sweetness . . .  saving those sunken cherries and bottom bits of cake for a very nice last mouthful  . . .  

Ahhh  . . . there really is nothing so satisfying as a very nice mouthful.

If you only bake one cake this weekend . . .  let it be this . . .  incredibly delicious, moreishly decadent, cherry stogged full buttery cake!

Excellent washed down with flasks of hot tea, cold milk and spicy ginger beer, and perhaps accompanied with an adventure or two or three!

Yield: cuts into 8 slices

Cherry Cake

Cherry Cake

A delicious slice of nostalgia.


For the cake:
  • 225g self raising flour (1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS)
  • 100g ground almonds (1 1/4 cups)
  • the finely grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
  • 275g glace cherries, preferably undyed or a mix (scant 3 cups)
  • 225g butter, softened (1 cup)
  • 225g granulated sugar (1 cup plus 2 TBS)
  • 3 laarge free-range eggs
  • a few drops of almond extract
  • 2 TBS milk
For the glaze and decoration:
  • 65g icing sugar, sifted (1/2 cup)
  • milk to thin
  • a handful of toasted flaked almonds


How to cook Cherry Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4.  Lighty butter a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf tin.  Line with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the glace cherries in hot water to remove all of the syrup and sugar.  Dry well and then cut in half.  Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour into a bowl. Whisk in the lemon zest and almonds.  Stir in the halved cherries.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at at time.  Stir in the almond extract.  Fold in the flour mixture and milk, making sure the cherries are well dispersed.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin.  Smooth the top.  Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Check at about 45 minutes and if you think it is getting too dark, cover loosely with a double sheet of aluminium foil.  It is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. (Today mine took about 15 minutes extra.) Leave cake in the tin to cool completely.
  6. Tip out onto a wire rack. Whisk together the icing sugar, a few drops of almond extract and just enough milk to give you a thick drizzle.  Flick over the cake and scatter with toasted almonds.  Cut into thick slices to serve.

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Have you ever noticed how important food figures into a good book or story?  When I think of my favourites there was always some kind of food involved.  Perhaps thats because children enjoy food and adventure hand in hand, and so long as they are active,  they don't have to worry too much about the calories.  Ahh to be a child again . . . what were some of your favourite stories/books when you were a child?


  1. Good morning, Marie. I, too, loved the Enid Blyton books, especially the Adventure series. I've just recently completed my set of the eight books in the series finding the last one "The Circus of Adventure" on-line. It took a number of years to find all eight because I wanted them all to have their dust jacets with the marvelous artwork. I was drawn to the descriptions of the food, too, especially their picnics. Your expression "flasks of tea" always sounded so British to me. I'd love to make the cherry cake but wondered if I could substitute marachino cherries for the glace ones? I always have marachino cherries in the house but rarely the glace ones. Enjoy your weekend. Hugs, Elaine

    1. Oh how I would love to read them again Elaine. I don't like the modernised versions. I love the old ones from long ago. I don't know why they have to spoil what is already perfect and update them! You are right, the dust jackets with the original artwork were beautifully done! I am not surprised we both loved these books! You could use marachino cherries, they won't be quite the same, but will work just as well. Just make sure you rinse and dry them really well! I hope you are also having a lovely weekend! xoxo

  2. Don't buy meat paste for your sandwiches, always go to Marks and Spencer and buy their potted meat and potter salmon. Handy pantry ingredients which taste delicious, especially on toast!

    1. I will have to bear that in mind Karen. I'll have to look next time I am in! Thanks! xoxo

  3. Wonderful. Yes, I can absolutely see this a coveted midnight treat among giggling, whispering girls. Or maybe me and my cronies, grins. As always, fantastic, tempting post.

  4. I remember Enid Blyton's books too. They were wonderful! And this cake looks JUST as wonderful. Midnight? Heck no! Anytime!

    1. You are right Jeanie, great anytime! Thanks! xoxo

  5. Great post Marie... The visuals just flowed wonderfully from your words. As I child, I LIVED in books. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I did not have access to a public library, but believe I read every single tome in the bookmobile that came by the school weekly. I particularly remember the Pipi Longstocking books as being a favorite. This cake looks positively decadent. I would love to make it, but have never seen glace cherries here. Hope all is well....Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

    1. Thanks so much Robin! I am sure you could use maraschino cherries so long as they were really dried well! xoxo

  6. To prevent the cherries from sinking to the bottom, toss them with a little flour before adding them to the batter.

    1. This is true, and works most of the time but not always for some reason. They taste great anyways, top, bottom or inbetween! Thanks! xoxo

  7. I also loved, loved, loved Enid Blyton books when I was young and read them all voraciously wanting to join them all in their adventures. People frown on them these days, but it was what inspired me to read, so I don't knock them. I've some wonderful memories of the Famous Five and the Secret Seven.

    I've made this cake several times and it's a keeper! We both love it and I'm sure that Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina would have gobbled it all up.

    Like you, I find that sometimes the cherries are evenly distributed and sometimes they sink. I've tried all the tricks and the batter is the same consistency, so I'm flummoxed as to why it sometimes works and other times not. But I don't let it bother me - it tastes just as good.

  8. I absolutely loved and still love Enid Blyton books. I read as many as I could get from both the library and second hand book shops. I also loved her Children from Cherry tree farm books and many other series she wrote and the children certainly had a lot of freedom to roam and ate moreish sounding treats. I think I nay need to bake one of these. My Nana made one that sounds similar and it was always delicious. Off to see what adventures I can find or mysteries I can solve. It’s probably only where I left something I misplaced but who knows.

  9. Lovely recipe! Will be trying it soon. I just made your cherry pound cake and this looks amazing! Are ground almonds also known as almond flour or do I need to grind up some almonds? Thank you so much for all of your delicious recipes and stories.

    1. You can use almond flour for sure. That is what I use here in Canada. You are very welcome!


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