This cherry cake is sooooo soft; like a cross between angel food cake and pound cake. The sweet tart cherries that get caramelized by the brown sugar as they bake are the crowning glory of this cake. Serve this with lightly sweetened whipped cream or a hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream. The beauty of this cake is you can use almost any kind of fruit on top!
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter sides of cake pan and place cake pan on the stove over low heat. Melt 4 Tbsp butter in the cake pan then add 3/4 cup brown sugar, stirring until well combined. Spread over the bottom of the pan and remove from heat. Place cherries, cut-side-down over the butter/sugar mixture, pressing down lightly to stick.
Stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, use a handheld electric mixer to beat together 1 cup sugar and 8 Tbsp butter until light and fluffy (5 minutes on high). Mix in 2 egg yolks (1 at a a time), beating well after each then beat in 1 tsp vanilla. Add 1/2 cup luke warm milk and mix on med/low speed until well blended. Add flour mixture and continue to mix on low speed until blended.
In a clean bowl, beat 2 egg whites with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar until stiff but not dry. Fold gently into batter in two additions, folding just until incorporated. Transfer batter to cake pan and even out the top with a spatula. Bake 55 min at 350˚F.
Cool in pan 10 minutes then run a dull knife around edges of cake to loosen cake. Transfer to serving platter by placing platter over cake and inverting directly onto platter. Let stand 5 minutes then serve warm or at room temp.
Credits: This recipe was adapted from the Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild.