I wasn’t sure what to call these little bites when I was pulling them together off the top of my head, but when I ate my first one and got that tart/sweet burst of flavor and heat (thanks to the “secret ingredient” in the cherry sauce), “mini cherry bomb” just seemed to work.

And the secret ingredient isn’t so secret – a little shot of liqueur never goes amiss in a sauce or baked good, in my humble opinion!

It all started when I ran across some frozen tart cherries in my freezer when I was doing a little cleaning out. I had also just gotten this Silikomart mini dessert round mold in the mail earlier in the week and was trying to figure out what to make with it. Circumstance number three – I had found an olive oil cake recipe to try for the first time, and thought maybe all three could work together in a bite-sized mini dessert that would be the perfect size for afternoon tea.

And so they did! I would serve these at any afternoon tea I would host – they are one beautiful bite, the light, ultra-moist cake perfect with the tart cherries and that kick of liqueur that just finishes it off.

This treat is a combination of two completely unrelated recipes and really is the easiest thing you can imagine to pull together. The cake is from an Olive Oil Cake recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. (And if I haven’t recommended a subscription to this site before, I will again now – it’s very hard to go wrong with an ATK recipe!)

Starting with the cake, I literally assembled my ingredients and just started mixing and adding, mixing and adding, and I had my cake batter ready to go.

I used the silicon mold to make these mini cakes; I made 36 of the little cakes, and still had enough left over to make an 8″ round cake as well.

Olive Oil Cake

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 c. milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside – the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using a stand or hand mixer, whip the eggs on medium speed until foamy, or about one minute.

Add the sugar and lemon zest, whip until the mixture is fluffy and pale yellow, or about three minutes. Reduce the speed and keep the mixer running as you slowly pour in the oil and mix until fully integrated.

Add half of the flour mixer and mix it in fully on low. Then add the milk and mix until integrated, then add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The batter will be a little on the runny side.

If you use the mini dessert round silicon mold, use spray the mold to prevent sticking. Use a tablespoon to measure out just under a tablespoon of batter into each round; the batter can come almost to the top, as it doesn’t overly rise.

Bake the mini dessert rounds for 18 minutes; you can check they are done by testing with a toothpick. Let cool for a few minutes on a wire rack, then turn them out on the rack to continue to cool. They keep their form well. Once fully cool, they are ready to fill with cherry sauce or some other preparation of your choice.

If you use a springform pan instead of silicon mold, grease a 9-inch springform, pour in the batter and bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely before serving.

Once the cake was baked and cooling, I whipped together a quick and easy tart cherry sauce for this, starting with a Tart Cherry Sauce from Better Homes & Gardens

What I especially loved about this recipe was the addition of the liqueur. As I didn’t have any cherry liqueur in the house, I made do with raspberry. Which was hardly making do – I thought it was a great complement to the cherries. In fact, I added even a smidgen more than the recipe called for (like another half a tablespoon), though even a little more wouldn’t have hurt!

Tart Cherry Sauce

  • Servings: 8 ounces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 12 oz. frozen (or fresh) pitted tart cherries (if you use frozen, use the liquid as well)
  • 1 Tbsp. cherry liqueur (or cherry brandy, raspberry or orange liqueur or orange juice)

Directions

Stir together the sugar and cornstarch in a small-to-medium saucepan, then stir in the water.

Add the cherries (and any liquid from the frozen cherries). Cook and stir over medium heat until it’s thickened and bubbly. You’re about there when the liquid coats the back of the spoon. Cook and stir a couple more minutes, then remove from the heat.

Stir in your liqueur of choice, if desired. It is good warm or cool, over cake, ice cream, or in a pie or layer desert.

Assembly of the mini cherry bombs is very straightforward – simply spoon a teaspoon of sauce on each mini cake (I made sure there were 2-3 cherries on each), sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, garnish with a piece of mint if you have some, and serve to guests, or simply enjoy with your next cup of afternoon tea.

I loved this combination of sweet cake and tart cherry – bit of an “adult” flavor, with the addition of the liqueur.

If you eat the cake on its own, you can pick up the hint of lemon from the lemon zest. That does get a little lost with the addition of the cherry sauce, though the texture and moistness of the cake is still perfect with the cherries. My stepdaughter – who ate it with the mint – thought that the mint was a nice addition to the overall combination as well.

So give it a try with your favorite fruit sauce, a bit of whipped cream, a little drizzle of chocolate – one’s imagination is the limit!

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