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Cherry – Orange Blossom Cakes

Cherry Orange Blossom Cakes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008More cherries! I went to visit an old friend this weekend and at the end of our visit, she handed me a bucket and pointed at the cherry tree we could see from her living room window "Go ahead…Go get them. They are delicious". Her husband tends their vegetable garden and it is always a treat to visit them as I am fed fresh tomato sandwiches, cucumber salads and tiny yellow "mirabelles" for the few hours that I am there. I rarely come home empty handed either.

We come from different cultures and yet share many things, we are also quite apart in age but I found Beverly to be a child at heart, one who wished she was not limited to her house right now, one little girl aching to run in the fields and drink icy cold lemonade. Her husband and her are a example of love and understanding, passed the illness, the tantrums, the tough nights. Otis cries sometimes when I am there, quietly, while filling his bucket of water for the herb garden. They have been through this twice already, and Beverly has come out ok so far. He cried a little harder this time because he knows that he has got to stop calling her back, if it is time he must let go. "She is a fine lady" he said "she never gets mad at me for holding her back. I know she is tired though. I need to tell her it’s ok to go if she wants"

I picked up quite a few buckets of cherries and then I called B. because I knew it was getting late I heard Beverly shout from the other room "you are staying for dinner, tell him to get here too." Yes Ma’am!! I pitted some of the cherries and made little cakes while Otis fixed shrimp and grilled veggies. We took our coffees to the veranda and ate quietly when Beverly exclaimed, shaking her head "It ain’t fittin’…It just ain’t fittin’…" (not making this up!). "what’s that?" asked Otis. "It just ain’t fittin' to have cherry cakes and no cherry wine!" Leave it to Bev. to keep it real!

Spending time at their house reminds me of my childhood in Apt, picking cherries, figs and apricot like there was no tomorrow. It also reminds me of the old couple who lived behind our house, with their vegetable garden and their funny house. As a Provencal, I tend to use orange blossom water in a lot of baked goods and I find that it goes really well with cherries. It is widely available now in health food stores and online but feel free to substitute it for almond or vanilla extracts. As a wink to Otis and his fabulous garden, I baked these in mini herb pots lined with parchment paper but muffin tins or other small molds work just as fine.

Cherry Orange Blossom Cakes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 Cherry – Orange Blossom Cakes:

Makes 8
Printable Recipe

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tb. olive oil
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp to 1 Tb orange blossom water
1 tsp. baking powder
grated zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh (or frozen) pitted cherries

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, oil, milk and orange blossom water.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients. Fold in the cherries.
Bake at 350 F, for 20-25 minutes.

Et Voila! Once you get the basic down, you can modify this cake to what is in season. It is one of my go-to formulas when I am urged to bake something in somebody else’s kitchen. Easy, delicious and comforting. I am telling you…success lies half in the smells coming out of your kitchen and half in how fast these little guys disappear.

Cherry Orange Blossom Cakes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008

To the Anonymous comment (did not know people still name their kids that), here are a couple four thoughts for you:

– There are and will be many good news coming to this blog but there is also that other side of thing: life deals you some weird cards sometimes and I can’t just blog about "woohoo" "yippee" moments.

– When Bev called me this morning, she said "Woohoo!! I am on your blog!! And those cherry cakes? We do know how to celebrate life, don’t we?!" . So I think you missed the point of this story. I sure am glad she did not read your comment.

– I bet Barbara, Bri, Bev, Jen and others did not decide to fall sick at the same just to make you uncomfortable. The fact that I chose to honor their fight with a dessert is nothing compared to what they need but it is a little pick me up. I want to say "Gosh, you have no heart".

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Mandy June 18, 2008 um 5:25 am

great presentation on the mini cake, Helen. Lucky of you to have generous friends with a cherry tree! I need to seek out orange blossom water to try some of the treats you blogged here!

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 6:07 am

Les pots à fleurs sont incroyables! Very cute! Nous notre cerisier a été pillé par les pigeons ramiers, on a eu à peu près trois poignées de cerises! La loi de la jungle!

sab le plaisir de gourmandise June 18, 2008 um 6:28 am

really nice presentation and certainly great taste

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 6:50 am

que c’est mimi cette presentation!

Manggy June 18, 2008 um 7:05 am

Aww, you have the sweetest friends, Helen 🙂 And that is the cutest presentation I’ve seen yet! I’ve a hankering to buy tiny pails now, haha! 🙂 Delicious!

Christy June 18, 2008 um 7:08 am

I am so truly sorry about your friends. It always saddens me to read stories like this one; I know they happen and I know they are a part of life, but I can only imagine the feeling of loss and the unwillingness of letting go of someone you love…

On a lighter note, I think that the cakes you made are terrific! I’m sure Beverly and Otis would absolutely love what you used their cherries for!

Chibog in Chief June 18, 2008 um 7:10 am

oh i’ve never seen mini cakes beautifully presented this way. you never really run out of great ideas!! i love the flavors too; orange water with cherries! delicious

Evelin June 18, 2008 um 7:40 am

The little buckets look so cute! I bet the cake’s delicious too:)

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 7:54 am

I need a friend with a cherry tree too 😉
Your cake looks so country in that bucket, great idea… but yeah I know you’re full of ideas 🙂

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 8:51 am

Love the buckets, very cute!

Angelica June 18, 2008 um 9:04 am

Your cakes look wonderful! Oh, and I love the buckets. 🙂

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 9:57 am

How special. What a lovely post and what beautiful little cakes.

Cannelle Et Vanille June 18, 2008 um 10:45 am

lovely story… and lovely cakes. it’s funny because i just made some mini cherry cakes myself. summer’s in the air!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) June 18, 2008 um 10:46 am

Beautiful post. You are lucky to have such special friends — and they are lucky to have you. And anyone would be lucky to get one of these little cherry cakes.

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 11:30 am

They sound divine and those buckets are too cute!!!

Vanillaorchid June 18, 2008 um 11:59 am

wowww…. another cherry dessert!!

I’m sure for the taste and I love your presentation.

Cherry is one of my favourite fruits and I just made cherry clafoutis which I adapted from your blackberry & Pineapple Clafoutis. It’s very tasty, thank you for the sharing the nice recipe.

LyB June 18, 2008 um 12:31 pm

Did you really bake the cakes in those little pots? Boy, those are cute! I’ll never get enough of cherry recipes, I do love cherries!

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 12:31 pm

Beautiful little cakes… and a wonderful presentation! I’m so envious of your cherries! We won’t see them here for at least another few weeks.

aforkfulofspaghetti June 18, 2008 um 12:44 pm

Could those cakes in the pails be any cuter? No, I don’t think so either…

Love the combination of flavours, too.

The Food Librarian June 18, 2008 um 12:46 pm

Lovely display. I’m getting more cherries this weekend and will definitely try this recipe. Thanks!

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 1:35 pm

Only 2 tbsp of fat? Wow! Talk about a super lean cake.

What kind of pan did you use to bake your cakes – in those buckets?

Dharm June 18, 2008 um 1:39 pm

Yumm.. the cake looks great and where oh where do you get such lovely pails?? I have to go find some of those now and use them to make some cakes too! you are such an inspiration! 🙂

RecipeGirl June 18, 2008 um 1:50 pm

These are so cute in the little buckets.

Is orange blossom extract different than orange flower water? Something tells me it must be more concentrated. I have the orange flower water from another recipe. Looks lovely to try!

Nina Timm June 18, 2008 um 2:17 pm

I have some of those buckets too and you can be sure that I will try this delicious recipe.

Helene June 18, 2008 um 2:21 pm

Lori: same thing for the extrac/water. I have got 2 different bottle and they have the same consistency and concentration but one was purchased overseas. Water is what I would go for.

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 2:24 pm

I love everything about this post, from the fabulous tiny buckets to the story about Otis… Lovely cake too.

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 2:44 pm

OMG I don’t think I have seen a cuter dessert, I absolutely love it!

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 2:58 pm

Those pails are so cute!

Patricia Scarpin June 18, 2008 um 2:59 pm

Don’t I just love these little buckets? They are so cute, Helen!
And Bev sounds like a lot of fun. Anyone who likes wine has a special place in my heart. 🙂

toontz June 18, 2008 um 3:07 pm

I am so sorry about your friend. It is a lovely post, thank you for giving us a small glimpse of Bev. The cakes in the little tins are just adorable. What a great idea! Have you ever paired orange blossom water with sour cherries, and how did it taste?

LizNoVeggieGirl June 18, 2008 um 3:17 pm

Keep baking with cherries!! I can’t get enough of them, and love seeing them in your incredible treats :0)

I wish the best for your friend, Bev. Stay strong!

My Sweet & Saucy June 18, 2008 um 4:08 pm

Those are the cutest little cakes I’ve ever seen! I love them in the bucket!

Jen Yu June 18, 2008 um 4:28 pm

Letting go is sometimes harder than holding on. I feel for O and B, I really do. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my paltry 36 years is that quality trumps quantity in life. Enjoy and treasure the time together. You are such a dear friend to them.

I love the buckets 🙂 xxoo

That Girl June 18, 2008 um 4:49 pm

The buckets are my favorite part too!

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 5:34 pm

I LOVE the mini tin buckets! It’s so clever! I am sure this tastes quite yummy! I will try this recipe soon, as there are fresh cherries at the market now! Mmmm, I bet it would go great with some sort of cherry ice-cream! YUM!

lululu June 18, 2008 um 6:39 pm

Oh, that little bucket goes really well with the mini cake!!!! Cute!

Meeta K. Wolff June 18, 2008 um 6:52 pm

too cute. the buckets are gorgeous. but i prefer the cake – cherry and prange what a combination.

Rachel@fairycakeheaven June 18, 2008 um 7:50 pm

so so so cute, saw pots like these the other day. Would say they’re divine

Parisbreakfasts June 18, 2008 um 8:11 pm

Oh I bought one of those adorable buckets in France and then left it there..
That was before I knew of Tarty-Tartelette!
Now if only I had the damn bucket I might make something wonderful too…
Remembrances of Lost Mini Buckets..sigh

Sophie June 18, 2008 um 8:43 pm

This is a really beautiful recipe; great, aromatic ingredients…and the pictures are divine! I like how it’s lowfat too! This is a recipe I’ll definitely have to try out soon :), thanks for sharing!

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 9:07 pm

absolutely stunning photography.

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 9:08 pm

wow. what beautiful pictures. i’m envious. i wish i had a cherry tree too!! and get em fresher than the supermarkets can ever offer 🙂 x

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 9:47 pm

Tartelette, I love your food and photos, but if I hear one more melodramatic story about someone on the verge of death or terminal cancer or other terrible circumstance, I will become too depressed to enjoy your lovely blog. Please try to keep things a little lighter…there’s no need to make every story a potential tearjerker!

Anonymous June 18, 2008 um 10:24 pm

You, my dear, are truly, truly gifted. Your words, your photos… just everything. Amazing work!

cindy* June 18, 2008 um 11:04 pm

beautiful, really.

Jenny June 19, 2008 um 12:07 am

Oh I love fresh picked cherries. And I love those little buckets of yours.

Jen Yu June 19, 2008 um 2:02 am

Anonymous said:
"Tartelette, I love your food and photos, but if I hear one more melodramatic story about someone on the verge of death or terminal cancer or other terrible circumstance, I will become too depressed to enjoy your lovely blog. Please try to keep things a little lighter…there’s no need to make every story a potential tearjerker!"

Dear Anonymous: Please don’t impose your inability to deal with reality on our dear Tartelette. This is HER blog and she will write what SHE pleases. Let us all hope that you never have to deal with something so depressing as cancer or terrible circumstances such that folks will tell you to shut it and keep it to yourself. Heaven forbid, eh? Sheesh… Get a grip and suck it up.

Peabody June 19, 2008 um 6:22 am

Well said Jen Yu!

Cute presentation, the buckets are precious. And amazingly enough I have cherry cake over on my site. ;P

Anonymous June 19, 2008 um 6:23 am

Tartelette- Your post actually put a smile on my face. "It just ain’t fittin'" That’s what did it. Cherry wine to go with cherry cakes. Thank you for sharing this post. The cake and the story are both beautiful. The story difficult… but that’s what life shakes out for us sometimes. And your comments to Anonymous were spot on. Thank you for your grace, and for sharing the way that you do. It is deeply appreciated by this blogger.

Anonymous June 19, 2008 um 6:23 am

Tartelette- Your post actually put a smile on my face. "It just ain’t fittin'" That’s what did it. Cherry wine to go with cherry cakes. Thank you for sharing this post. The cake and the story are both beautiful. The story difficult… but that’s what life shakes out for us sometimes. And your comments to Anonymous were spot on. Thank you for your grace, and for sharing the way that you do. It is deeply appreciated by this blogger.

Anonymous June 19, 2008 um 6:23 am

Tartelette- Your post actually put a smile on my face. "It just ain’t fittin'" That’s what did it. Cherry wine to go with cherry cakes. Thank you for sharing this post. The cake and the story are both beautiful. The story difficult… but that’s what life shakes out for us sometimes. And your comments to Anonymous were spot on. Thank you for your grace, and for sharing the way that you do. It is deeply appreciated by this blogger.

Jenn June 19, 2008 um 7:13 am

Thank you for sharing your beautiful stories accompanied by scrumptious recipes and wonderful photographs. I am new to food blogging and recently found your blog. Thanks for the inspiration! Peace be with B & O … and with you.

Anonymous June 19, 2008 um 7:25 am

Beatutiful, beautiful, beautiful… I love your presentation for this cakes. So cute and lovely… Thank your for the recipe and the idea.

White Toast with Butter June 19, 2008 um 12:29 pm

Beautiful post, photos and recipe. Life is full of good and bad – everything needs to be experienced and shared. I found incredible joy tinged with sadness in Bev and Otis' story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Dazey June 19, 2008 um 1:42 pm

You can also find orange blossom water in Iranian/Middle Eastern stores and sometimes in bulk food stores. I find it makes a nice change from vanilla in pound cake or icing now and then.

A very moving post; I read your blog as much for the stories as the recipes. I make the white chocolate charlotte (with cherries instead of pears) and the texture was perfect! So velvety! Much better than any other recipe for Bavarian cream that I’ve used.

Camille June 19, 2008 um 2:36 pm

First, my Nonna had a cherry tree and it is etched in my memory and I smile as I think about it right now.

Second, I applaud you for embracing and celebrating the small things in life that make it so special. The cherry cakes are adorable and look yummy.

These little pleasures are what makes it all worth it. For what its worth, my thoughts and prayers are sent to you and your friends.

Unknown June 19, 2008 um 3:36 pm

What a wonderful, inspiring story…a perfect match for the inspired presentation of your beautiful cakes. Its nice to hear about good folks with the bravery to seek out the simple pleasures in life even in the midst of difficult circumstances — I great lesson for us all.

Anonymous June 19, 2008 um 3:44 pm

What a touching story, Helen! I know this pain… But you just can’t let the loved one go. There is always a tiny hope (maybe not seen by anyone by you). And you hold this hope, no… you grab it tight. Only then you can live and fight.
Beverly and Otis are very lucky to have a friend like you. The last thing they need now is you grieving with them. It’s so better to enjoy the cherry cakes together. And your cakes are truly remarkable. It’s probably the most charming presentation I’ve ever seen.

Jerri at Simply Sweet Home June 19, 2008 um 4:07 pm

those are so cute. great job!

Deborah June 19, 2008 um 6:01 pm

They sound like truly good people with wonderful hearts.

Beautiful cakes!

Sabra June 19, 2008 um 6:07 pm

Oh my quel drame! Of the blogging comment variety I mean! Great post – keep it up!

Sabra June 19, 2008 um 6:20 pm

Thanks for your note – happy to support! : ) Congrats on JCM – I really wish it were more readily available here so that I could continue to see everyone’s images – you will be very impressed with the quality of what’s in there – it’s really fun to look at. I hope you will scan your pages and post them here or on flickr so we can all see.

Laura June 19, 2008 um 6:53 pm

So beautiful! I’m sure these are delicious, and your presentation always looks great!

Aimée June 19, 2008 um 7:59 pm

Just when I thought your posts couldn’t possibly get any cuter, up pops these little cherry cakes onto my screen.
You win, I loose!
Oh, and way to hand it to 'anonymous'. I hope he stays away from my blog also, he may find too many references to my little ones or something.

Anonymous June 19, 2008 um 8:25 pm

Putting the cake in the little tin is adorable. And I happen to have some of those tins 🙂
Lovely post, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Anonymous June 19, 2008 um 9:14 pm

Those mini buckets are great.
Cherry cake has to be right up there as one of the best things to bake into other stuff.

Mrs.French June 19, 2008 um 11:53 pm

The buckets make my heart skip! The photos make it sing.

Anonymous June 20, 2008 um 1:10 am

Beautiful Blog! I am starting my own Macaron Adventures recently and you are a great inspiration! I will definitely be back to visit! The Cherry Orange Blossoms Cakes look so scrumptious! Definitely need to try that recipe out! Hugs & Blessings!

Judy June 20, 2008 um 2:12 am

What a beautiful post with a sad but beautiful story. I love the cakes and will make them soon. What a great idea.

Melody June 20, 2008 um 2:46 am

Beautiful photos, beautiful food, beautiful people.

And I think Jen Yu said it perfectly. Anonymous quitting to read your blog might just be a blessing.

PheMom June 20, 2008 um 4:42 am

The little bucket idea is daling! I can’t wait to try this.

Thank you for always writing true and heartfelt stories about real life. Real life isn’t always comfortable, but that doesn’t make the love and experience of it – or your writing – any less poignant or sweet. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments by your other supporters – which is pretty much everyone except the heartless (who as you said, really doesn’t need to come back).

Keep up the fabulous work!!

Marianna June 20, 2008 um 9:52 am

wow, how gorgeous! the flavours sound absolutely amazing too!

La Tartine Gourmande June 20, 2008 um 1:02 pm

Oh I too want to friend with a big garden like this close by! Lovely cakes.

Mike of Mike's Table June 20, 2008 um 2:59 pm

This sounds like a delicious way to enjoy cherries while they’re in season. Also, I love that you served these in those buckets–much more fun than a ramekin.

Anonymous June 20, 2008 um 5:20 pm

I have heard you mention your neighbors before, lucky you Tartelette. I would love to have a cherry and a fig tree. Your cakes are a beautiful celebration of life and joy. Thanks for a good post embracing all of life.

Anonymous June 20, 2008 um 5:50 pm

I’m sorry that this struggle has come into your friend’s lives. My mother recently passed away after a year long struggle with cancer. I don’t live close by and missed much of her last year of life. Through my tears at her funeral, I heard my brother talk about a book he’d read which talks about cancer as the disease of love, meaning that usually, if cancer can not be beaten it offers time to say goodbye and time to express love. It is very hard to let loved ones go on ahead. My love and prayers to you and your friends.

Randi June 21, 2008 um 4:02 am

I love the buckets!! So yummy looking.. i just bought some expensive, expensive cherries, so maybe i’ll let some of them go and make these.

Also.. to that posted you mentioned in the post, who are these people? I always wonder what the hell some people are thinking. Beautiful, as usual.. and touching. Thank you.

Anonymous June 21, 2008 um 7:10 pm

What a very clever idea for serving this little cake. I bought a 'little cake' book and nothing included was nearly as cute as this. Thanks!

Susan from Food Blogga June 22, 2008 um 12:37 pm

Hi Helen,

Thank you for a lovely post–the story, the recipe, the photos. You warmed my heart.

Avory June 22, 2008 um 7:44 pm


I just wanted to say "good on you." As the child of a cancer survivor, I hear about the cases of the disease in the foodblogging community (including Jen, who is one of my favourite bloggers to read though I don’t know her personally) and I wish there was something I could do to help. Unfortunately, I am not in a good place financially and am unable to contribute when bloggers ask for donations, but for every asshole (my mother’s word, not mine, when I IMed her "anonymous"'s comment) out there, there must be at least twenty people who love reading your posts, enjoy the recipes, and are also touched by your care and compassion.

Unknown June 22, 2008 um 9:38 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Unknown June 22, 2008 um 9:38 pm

salut tartelette,
comem c’est joli ces petits seaux , v.cute!
je decouvre ton blog et ca tombe bien, je viens de recevoir une boite pleine de belles cerises bien mures…ca va changer du clafoutis!
Moi,sur lesrecettesdelorette et sur yummyhomelyfood, je fais dans la cuisine de placard et souvenirs d’enfance passee dans le Beaujolais. Tu viens d’ou toi? speak soon:)

Heather June 23, 2008 um 2:03 am

oh my gosh. the presentation here is adorable! and it sounds delicious, too!

Barbara June 23, 2008 um 4:22 am

Love you Helene. Don’t ever stop being you.

Bonbon Oiseau June 23, 2008 um 12:23 pm

what a beautiful story and a beautiful recipe…not sure what that anonymous reader was on about but good retort—people will complain about anything given the chance—thanks for sharing such a touching story–I think it illustrates perfectly the comfort and beauty that good food can bring to our lives.

Anonymous June 23, 2008 um 1:59 pm

I am sorry and ashamed for my earlier comment… i realize the meaning was taken completely wrong. I only wanted to say that I was sorry to hear so many sad stories and hoped that happier ones would arrive soon. Looking back, my wording on this was clumsy, insensitive, and stupid. Please accept my sincere apologies to you and your friends.

Anonymous June 23, 2008 um 6:51 pm

How very proud Beverly must be to have a friend so strong as to reveal all aspects of her life, both the good and the bad!

Sunshinemom June 25, 2008 um 3:06 am

Beautiful! Lovely pictures, and a good anecdote to carry the recipe along! It is a divine experience being here!

Anonymous July 17, 2008 um 10:23 am

What a touching story. Your friends are very lucky to have you, and vice versa.

The cakes look gorgeous and I love, love, love those mini buckets!

Anonymous July 17, 2008 um 10:23 am

What a touching story. Your friends are very lucky to have you, and vice versa.

The cakes look gorgeous and I love, love, love those mini buckets!

May July 19, 2008 um 12:22 am

Thanks for the recipe, I made it and its great! I love it 🙂

Sandy Smith August 22, 2008 um 3:43 am

Wow, what an amazing idea – how clever! Who wouldn’t be charmed to find this little bucket at their place? And they look delicious. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous April 30, 2009 um 4:05 am

Helen, I’m so sorry to hear about your friends, but I love Bev’s sense of humor! I lost my dear aunt to cancer last spring, and just found out that a good friend of my boyfriend, a twenty year old guy, is about to lose his fight with leukemia. I was hoping you would have something light (read: not too heavily flavored, to make him sick) I could send over with to his family, and I think this fit the bill perfectly! Thank you so much for your help with this, and for your fantastic work.

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