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Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book has this recipe that I have been wanting to try for a while now. The picture of the tea cakes are so adorable. The only problem is you need fresh cherries and I always seem to miss the season. Luckily, cherries are all over the place right now so I was able to make these cakes with bing cherries and sweet cherries. I substituted the cherry brandy with I&I Brewing’s Dripp Imperial Stout beer. I&I Brewing is a small nano brewery in Chino, CA where the brewers are super friendly and the beers are original and super tasty. We had  a tzatziki beer made with lemon and cucumber and dill that just blew my mind. I was so in love with it. I said they need to put that in place of the cucumber water at spas. The Dripp Imperial Stout is obviously a stout but it has cold brewed coffee added from a local coffee place in Chino called Dripp. The beer is 12%ABV and considerably boozy, but has great flavor and body. Perfect for baking with because a little goes a long way.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup AP flour

1 cup unblanched almonds

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

5 large egg whites

2 tablespoons of beer

12 cherries with stems intact

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray cupcake or muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside. Put butter in a sauce pan and cook until browned. Skim the foamy part off. Allow the butter to cool and then strain the burnt pieces away.

2. Using a food processor, finely chop the almonds. Add to a bowl and whisk in the flour and sugar and salt with the almonds. Add the egg whites and beer and whisk together. Once the butter is cooled enough add the butter and whisk together.

3. Pitting the cherries are optional but I feel it’s necessary. You don’t want people to bite into a pit while eating your dessert. I don’t have a cherry pitter, so I sliced a little opening on the side of the cherry and twisted the pit out while keeping the stem intact. Place a little batter on the bottom of the tins, then place your prepared cherry in the middle and scoop the remaining batter around the cherry so it’s completely covered but the stem’s still exposed.

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4. Cook for 12-15 minutes, rotating once during cooking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes then take the teacakes out of the pan to continue cooling.

Makes: 12

Lasts: 1-2 days

Season: Summer

Level: Beginner

These cakes turned out great. They are not only visually stunning but they taste amazing as well. The butter in the recipe really helps the edges get crispy and the cooked soft cherry in the center is a bright burst of flavor that screams summer. The beer helps make a second level of flavor and adds a spiced element where the cake could really use another dimension of flavor. The almonds lend a nice texture element along with the soft cake. I would  make these again in a heartbeat.

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