A Modest Little Almond and Cherry Cake

A Simple Almond & Cherry Cake

There are days, afternoons, evenings when I simply want all of my chickens and the rooster home…but I want to be left alone. 

No extraneous chicken friends. Just the 5 of us. Here in our coop.

And I don’t want to play Candy Land. And I don’t want to have Family Movie Night. I don’t want to sit around the kitchen table and have a meaningful conversation.

I just want to do “my thing.” Alone.

And at this moment, I’m not concerned with the amount of TV they’ve watched this week or how many video games they’ve played. Whether or not they’ve had enough fresh air or eaten enough servings of fruits and vegetables. 

I just want them to be occupied. Quietly. Without needing me.

And, I want to be able to unwrap my new kitchen wall clock. The one I finally decided upon after years…yes, years….of contemplating this purchase. And I want to unwrap it, brush it off and hang it without any “help”. Just me and the clock.

A lovely clock....

And I want to happily enter “To Dos” into my recent discovery. That discovery being Things. A “To Do List Lover’s” nirvana. And I want to do this with out any video game sound effects or 30-sec blips of music coming from the computer next to me.

And I want to step out the front door without having to watch for bikes and scooters and take note that while the rest of the country is under a blanket of snow, here, it’s beginning to look like spring. I want to notice the green shoots that will grow into daffodils pushing their way up through the ground. I want to breath in the faint perfume in the air. And admire the rhodies with their first blush of pink.

First blush of pink....

And I want to bake a cake. A simple cake. With cherries and almonds. Not one with a lot of pomp and circumstance. 

(Although, if I were looking for a chocolate cake that was the most incredible tasting cake I had ever tasted and came with plenty of pomp and circumstance…well, then I wouldn’t make a cake. I would order one up from talented Mary over at Sweet Ambrosia. And no, she didn’t pay me to say that, but I’m sayin’ it because it is 100% true.) 

But since I just want a simple cake. One to go with a cup of tea or a piping hot cup of coffee. I’ll make it myself. And I want to be left alone. To listen to my music. Over and over again. And get lost in my thoughts as I mix and stir.

But, you see, I want them home. My chickens, that is. And the rooster.


I don’t want to worry.

I want to be left alone, to do “my thing” and I don’t want to worry.

I don’t want to worry that my littlest guy is running around at recess with his shoes untied, once again. And worrying that today is the day he’s going to trip on those laces and scrape up his face.

And I don’t want to worry that my middle guy, who is all things speed, is going to come screaming down the driveway on a motorized go-cart and continue down the street where he might possibly slam into a mailbox or worse yet, an on-coming car. Prickles of panic start to wash over me when I envision those possiblities.

And I don’t want to worry about how nervous my teenager is or whether she stumbled over her words or somehow embarrassed herself. The teenager who left the house flustered and almost in tears because she had a speech to give that day at school. 

And I especially don’t want to worry about the plane the rooster is boarding. Will it make it to its destination? Will there be turbulence? Bad weather? Ice on the wings? Ice on the runway?


I don’t want that.

Which is why, I just want them all here. Safe and sound. Sittin’ in front of a TV even.

So, I

can just do “my thing”, 

alone…and, worry-free.

A Simple Almond and Cherry Cake, Take 2

Calendar Wrap-Up

Thank you, thank you…a million Thank You’s….to all of you who purchased La Pomme de Portland calendar(s) in December. All the checks are in, the numbers have been tallied and through your generosity the calendars profited $1500.00…which means I was able to send a check off to the Oregon Food Bank and the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation for $750.00 each. I am humbled. Thank you….

Super Bowl Menu Ideas

And just in case you have decided to host a Super Bowl Party on Sunday but are still undecided about what to make….

Here’s a menu direct off La Pomme de P:

App: Cowboy Caviar with tortilla chips
Main Course: Lighten Up Chili, Greens with Homemade Vinaigrette, a fresh baguette
Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream and NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies

And if you do seriously consider making the Chocolate Chip cookies, make them today. Right now. Get going. By the time the big game rolls around the ingredients will have had the perfect amount of resting time. Your guests will think they’ve died and gone to cookie heaven.

And just in case you were hoping for even more Super Bowl inspiration, my friend Lori, over at RecipeGirl, has gone to extreme lengths to round up 101 Best Super Bowl Recipes on the Internet. Go Lori!

A Quick Little Note

I finally put together a Recipe tab at the top of this here website. A few of you gently mentioned to me that it was challenging to find past recipes here on LPdeP. I hope this helps. Let me know if it does. 

I also added a tab for AM Northwest since a few of you Portlanders have kindly been asking me for the dates of my next appearances. I’ve now gathered that all in one place as well as videos from my past appearances.

Organizing Project

So I decided last week that I was rushing things a bit and needed to take a week for mental planning as in….Where will I put the items I haul out of the under-stairs closet? So my revised schedule for organizing goals looks like this:

Jan 24-30: Mentally prepare to pull items out of closet.
Jan 31-Feb 6: Pull half the items out.

And Just Because…

I can’t get enough of this talented gal’s desktop calendars, here’s Shanna Murray’s latest:

which you can download here.

And which Shanna collaborated on with one of my favorite food and design bloggers, Nikole Herriott at Forty-Sixth and Grace.


Whew! That’s all for this week! xo

All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2011


Cherry and Almond Cake
Course: Dessert
Serves: One 9-inch Cake
When I was deciding what to serve my guests for dessert, I looked to what was in season and here in Oregon, after five straight months of rain, there's not much in season. A few apples still holding on, some citrus coming up from California, and rhubarb. So, I decided to look for ingredients on the shelves of my pantry. The dried cherries and almonds I found were the perfect inspiration for the modest cake.
  • ¾ cup whole almonds
  • 1¼ c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1½ sticks of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ⅓ c milk
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ½ c chopped, dried cherries
  • ½ c sliced almonds
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toast your whole almonds on a cookie sheet for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool completely. Lightly toast your sliced almonds for 4 minutes.
  2. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan. Or if you're like me and don't own a cake pan, flour and butter a deep pie plate.
  3. Put your whole almonds in a food processor and pulse the machine until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer the nuts to a medium bowl. Add your flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine and then, set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar just until combined. Mix in the butter, milk and almond extract. Stir to combine. Slowly add in your dry ingredients until incorporated. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the cherries. Pour the batter into your prepared cake (or pie) pan. Evenly sprinkle the ½ c of sliced almonds over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. Loosen the edges with a knife. Flip the cake onto a cake stand. Take a few steps back to admire your heavenly creation. Then, slice and serve while still a bit warm. Enjoy.


  1. Courtney Cook Hopp says:

    That clock is AWESOME! I can't wait to see it hanging. Great reminder about the cowboy caviar as I am planning what app. to bring to a Superbowl party!

    Hope today is the day that is quiet and worry-free!

  2. Kim @ Quit Eating Out {Recipes to Make Dining Out a Choice, Not a Chore} says:

    Oh how I can totally relate to this post. 🙂 Carrie, your photography is stunning…. I'm bookmarking this delicious cake and the chocolate chip cookies (my man's absolute fave thing on earth, so I'm anxious to try this recipe). Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Thanks, Sis. The clock is hung and ticking although the 5-year old is questioning its time keeping ability since he can't see the hands moving.

    Kim – Thank you so much, darlin'. Those chocolate chip cookies are seriously amazing but make sure you leave enough time for the cookie dough to rest…at least 48 hours. You don't have to but it makes all the difference.

  4. That cake may be simple, but it still sounds fantastically delicious. Sometimes the simple things in life are best. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog right now called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link your cake up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/02/sweets-for-saturday-3.html

  5. hhhh, un jour de repos. Toutes les mères méritent un jour de repos. Je vous aime

  6. Ditto…
    If you figure out how to achieve the lovely bliss of which you speak, would you be so kind as to whisper the secret into my ear?
    Have a lovely weekend my dear!

  7. Ooo..Lisa, sounds like a fabulous link-up. I'll stop by for sure!

    Pops….un week-end de repos! Je t'aime aussi.

    Wenderly…absolutely. If I figure it out, you'll be the first to know. 🙂

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh, whew! I thought I was the only one who liked being alone with her whole family there…

  9. Sara Tetreault says:

    I can't wait to try this recipe, can relate to your story, and I love chickens. Good thing I'm trying to friend steal you. Sorry Mara.

  10. You put into words what I think so many mom's think. Having all the hooligans home and still wanting to check out for a bit. It is really the only time a mom can completely unclench…until the boys remember the wrestling mat in their room…sigh.

  11. Oh, Sara….with Mara and I, there's always room for plenty of new, fabulous friends!

    Kimber….a wrestling mat in their room?? What a great idea. My boys could use that. Although then I'd have to worry that the older one is crushing the younger one. "Sigh" Our lives are never worry-free, are they?

  12. ok, I just made this cake. YUM! My favorite so far!