Being a person with a huge love of food, the thing I love most about the changing season is the foods that come along with it. With the arrival of summer I’m excited for juicy watermelons, ripe strawberries but most of all, I’m excited for sweet cherries.
I love making all sorts of things from desserts to breads like my Summer Focaccia, a sweet spin on classic savory focaccia invites summer onto your plate. Golden and buttery outside. Fluffy and soft inside. But the very best part is that this focaccia bread is dotted with sweet, red cherries and slightly tart fresh apricots. Amazing!
Mix plump cherries with vinegar to make a shrub then add bourbon. My Balsamic Cherry Shrub cocktail is a summer treat sure to be enjoyed for any summer party or just sipping outside on the deck on a warm summer evening.
But sometimes you come across a cherry that’s so amazing all on it’s own that you don’t want to turn it into anything, you just want to savor each sweet bite of them. Skylar Rae® cherries are definitely those type of cherries. They’re wonderfully sweet and I just wanted to enjoy them with simple ingredients. Fluffy angel food cake and a dollop of whipped cream with sweet Skylar Rae cherries. Simple and perfect for summer parties or Sunday dinners.
Until very recently, I had never tried Skylar Rae cherries but now that I have I’m hooked. They’re the sweetest cherry you’ll ever eat with an bittersweet little backstory. The Toftness family discovered a tree growing a different looking cherry in their Tip Top Orchards in Wenatchee, WA back in 2004. . The fruit it produced had unique genetics and was unlike anything anyone had ever tasted before. It was a beautiful bi-colored cherry with incredibly high sugars and firmness.
This discovery came shortly after the family had suffered the unimaginable loss of their infant daughter, Skylar Rae Toftness. When it came time to trademark a name for this special cherry, everyone blurted out “Skylar Rae,” knowing it was the perfect way to carry on her namesake. These cherries have a golden yellow background with a partial to full orange-red blush with flesh inside that is nearly colorless. It’s incredibly sweet and is only available for a very short time in the summer.
I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to try these special cherries and you should be on the lookout for Washington-grown Skylar Rae® cherries in stores from mid-June to late July each year.
**Disclosure: I was provided with samples of Skylar Rae® cherries but have not been compensated. All opinions are my own.**
Airy angel food cake topped with fluffy whipped cream and sweet Skylar Rae cherries.
- 1 3/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cake flour, sifted
- 12 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups pitted and halved Skylar Rae cherries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
- In a large bowl, use a whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, almond extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer.
- Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Gently fold in. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
- Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry). Cool completely upside down on a glass bottle.
- In a well chilled bowl, whisk together heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve cooled cake slices topped with whipped cream and cherries.