On Sunday mornings, Mom has set the expectation that I will make brunch. I have inherited this, as I’ve inherited other responsibilities, because my father used to do it. I can make an argument that it would make better sense for her to make me brunch on Sundays, because the dynamic was that she did 90 percent of the cooking, and so on one of his days off, he’d cook brunch for her, but I do 100 percent of the cooking for both of us (she’ll sometimes heat something up for herself if I’m out, but she prepares food for me 0 percent of the time) and it’s my day off. Fortunately, I’m not bitter about it. Well, not very bitter.
The good thing about this for me is that I’m not much of a brunch person, and if I’m cooking, I’m making more or less what I want. A short-order cook I am not. I found myself one Sunday morning with some aging limes and a need to use some sourdough starter. I found some recipes online for lime and sourdough somethings, but I wasn’t feeling them.
One of my all-time favorite combinations is cherry-lime. (I blame Sonic.) My diet in the summertime is about 50 percent fresh cherries for as long as I can swing it, anyway, so it’s a natural fit. I’ve made cherry-lime pork chops and other delectable somethings, when I can spare eating the fresh cherries right out of the bags and bags I bring home. A few years ago, I ran into a sale, stocked up, and ran right into an even better sale. I did what any sane person would do and stocked up some more. I canned them in medium syrup.
But I can be remiss about using home-canned goods. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that. I’ve been working on clearing out the backlog. It’s expensive and space-consuming, not to mention wasteful, to tie up canning jars for seasons on end, so I’m trying to set myself up not to have to buy canning jars at the end of this year. I checked, and sure enough, I had some unused jars of home-canned cherries.
I decided to modify this recipe and turn it into a cherry-lime cake. I kept to the recipe, more or less, omitting the poppy seeds and agave and pitted and added a pint jar of canned cherries and some of the cherry juice. I probably also went long on the lime zest, because I didn’t see any point in discarding it.
Any leftover cherry juice I combined with zest and juice of limes and powdered sugar to create a cherry-lime glaze. I like my cake to be a little less sweet, and have the option of drizzling it with a sweet sauce, if I want it to be a little more desserty. I confess that I added and added and added powdered sugar to the cherry lime sauce and it never went the direction of a glaze. At a certain point, I decided a sauce worked fine for me— I don’t love glazes that are overtly powdered-sugary.
The first thing I noticed was that the batter on this was extremely active. I don’t know if the starter was just feeling feisty, but I’ve never heard a batter bubble the way this one did, before, during, and after I baked it. Literally out of the oven for 10 minutes it sounded like a bowl of Rice Krispies. You can see the bubbles trapped in the crust.
Mom remarked that the lime was very forward, on the first bite, and she thought it might be too much, but it harmonized nicely after that. I tended to agree. I first noticed the banana flavor I mentioned in my sourdough-based quick breads in this cake, but it also has the vanilla in it, so nothing definitive here.
It was also high-volume. I don’t know if you can see, but I baked it on a cookie sheet because I was afraid it would overflow. It didn’t, but it came close.
It was tasty and festive— cake hearty and sweet but not too sweet on its own, but dressed up nicely with the sauce. Definitely going into the rotation!