In Season: Ground Cherries

112911-coffeeToday’s In Season column focuses on an unusual little vegetable I found last weekend called Ground Cherries. I asked my followers on Twitter which recipe they’d prefer, one for salsa or one for coffee cake, and they overwhelmingly said salsa. So on Omaha.com and in the paper today, you’ll find two recipes for ground cherry salsa. I decided to share the third recipe, for a tasty looking Ground Cherry coffee cake, here. Enjoy!

ground cherries

 Ten Minute Ground Cherry Coffee Cake, via the kitchn.com.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
10 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, cubed
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk (or regular milk soured with lemon juice or vinegar)
1 large egg
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 cups ground cherries (or other berries or fruit), husks removed
1 cup chopped pecan pieces (untoasted)
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 9″ cake pan (the taller the sides the better) or bundt pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter with two table knives until butter is combined with flour and is the size of small peas. Remove 1 cup of flour & butter mixture into a second bowl and set aside (you’ll use it for your topping later).

Add in baking powder and soda to base flour mixture and whisk gently (or sift before hand). Add buttermilk and egg and stir until mixture is free of flour streaks. Lumps are ok as your butter is still chunky, but streaks tell you it’s not quite mixed enough.

Pour flour mixture into prepared pan. Scatter ground cherries (or fruit of your choice) over the top. Next, add nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon to your small bowl of flour that is set aside. Stir and sprinkle over the top. It will be thick, that’s ok. It equals crunchy goodness.

Bake for 60-75 minutes (depending on the color of your cake pan) until a skewer (wooden or metal) comes out crumby, but clean. If your nuts start to get too dark (dark brown good, burnt bad), apply foil over the top of your pan to halt that process and allow the cake to continue cooking. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan. Serve and enjoy!

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