- Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line the bottom of a 23cm (9 in) round deep cake tin with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, half of the sugar and the salt into a bowl.
- In another large bowl, which is perfectly clean and grease-free, whisk the egg whites until they are foamy. Continue whisking until they will hold a soft peak. Add the remaining sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, and the vanilla extract, while you continue to whisk the egg whites. Whisk until they are glossy and smooth, and will hold a firm peak.
- Sprinkle the flour and cocoa mixture over the egg whites and fold in gently but thoroughly, taking care not to deflate the egg whites too much. Spoon the mixture into the tin. Smooth the surface gently. Sprinkle the cherries evenly over the top of the cake.
- Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the cake has risen and is just firm to the touch yet still moist on top (a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean). Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Sprinkle the cake with the icing sugar before serving. If you want to serve with the fromage frais accompaniment, simply combine the fromage frais with the cherry conserve and optional kirsch or rum to taste.
Some more ideas
Canned stoned cherries in juice, drained, can be used if fresh cherries are not in season. * Instead of cherries, use a combination of soft red fruits such as raspberries or small strawberries, or mixed fruit of the forest. * For a vanilla cake, omit the cocoa powder and replace with the same amount of cornflour. To give an almond flavour instead of vanilla, use pure almond extract.
Egg white still provides protein (9 g per 100 g/3½ oz), but has none of the fat or cholesterol found in egg yolk. *Cocoa powder contains less fat than plain or milk chocolate, and five times as much iron. This iron is not as well absorbed as the iron in meat, but the vitamin C in the cherries will help the body to absorb it. *Each serving is quite sugar-rich, so this cake is best saved for special occasions.
Each serving provides
Good source of copper. Useful source of iron.