1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 pound (350 grams) fresh sweet cherries (I like to use Bing cherries), divided
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (55 grams) ground almonds (or almond meal)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter, or spray with a non stick cooking spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form pan and line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Rinse, dry, and pit all the cherries. Then take about 14 cherries (about 1/3), cut them in half, and set them aside (place on a sheet of paper towel, cut side down) to be placed on the top of the cake during baking. To the rest of the cherries, cut into quarters (to be folded into the cake batter).
4. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt.
5. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugar until thick and light colored (about 3-5 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract (if using). Then fold in, with a rubber spatula or wire whisk, the melted and cooled butter and milk just until incorporated. Next, fold in the flour mixture just until moistened. Gently fold in the quartered cherries (not the cherries that you have halved for the top of the cake). Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or back of a spoon.
6. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven. Quickly arrange the remaining cherries, cut side down, on the top of the cake. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. If you find the cake over browning, cover with a piece of aluminum foil.
7. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly (about 10-15 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of softly whipped cream.