Here's How To Stop Cherries From Sinking To The Bottom Of Bakes, According To Mary Berry

If there's any advice worth taking away from "The Great British Bake Off" — or as it's known in the US, "The Great British Baking Show" — it's that an ugly dessert is better than no dessert at all (via Eat This, Not That). Even if the cherries sink, the almonds burn, and the icing is too runny, at least you'll have something to present and indulge in later. Those, in fact, are the exact baking blunders contestants faced in the first episode of Season 5 back in 2014 (which was Season 1 in the US), during the cherry cake technical challenge (via IMDB).

Then host Mary Berry's cherry cake recipe was the focal point, and it's a hard one to master as evidenced by the efforts of the pastry chefs in the episode. As anyone that's baked macarons knows, ground almonds — one of the key ingredients in this cherry cake batter — are very hard to work with in the kitchen. Add cherries to that, and a lot can go wrong, especially if you're working on a time crunch and under a giant tent. Thankfully, Berry has since shared her step-by-step recipe with BBC Food, along with her expert advice for nailing the cake on her personal blog.

It starts with using the right type of cherries

Any episode of this cult favorite baking show will advise that reading and following recipes to a T is of the utmost importance, and making ingredient substitutions can often end in a cake-tastrophy, much like Ruby Bhogal's infamous vegan cake (via YouTube).

The same goes for cherry cake. Berry's recipe calls for glacé cherries — and for the best flavor, texture, and overall outcome, you'll want to stick to this kind. "[Cherries] contain a lot of moisture and syrup," Berry explained on her blog. As a result, the fruit has a tendency to sink to the bottom of the cake batter. To prevent this from happening, Berry advised, "Quarter, wash, and dry thoroughly before adding to the cake mixture." She also noted that the addition of ground almonds "helps suspend the cherries as well." However, if you're baking a different cherry dessert that doesn't include ground almonds, dusting the fruit with a little flour will also prevent sinking, Berry further told BBC Food.

Keep these tips in mind while baking your cherry cake, and you're sure to get a nod of "that's a nice bake!" from Mary Berry herself.