Many diners offer a selection of different types of toast with their breakfast dishes. I recently ate breakfast at a diner that gave you a few options besides the usual choice of “white, wheat or sourdough.” Their options included homemade blueberry and banana breads, as well as toast. These breads were moist, tender quick breads that were served in generous wedges, rather than the slices that you typically associate with quick breads baked in loaf pans. They were delicious and it inspired me to get away from my loaf pan and bake some quick breads in a different shape. This Cherry Breakfast Bread is inspired by those delicious diner breads.
The bread has a buttermilk base and it is loaded with fresh pitted cherries. I used sweet, dark cherries for my bread. Pitting cherries – and you don’t need a cherry pitter to remove those pits – does take a bit of time, but using in-season cherries adds so much flavor to the bread that it is worth the effort. If you don’t have fresh cherries, you’ll still get good results with frozen cherries (do not defrost before using) and with jarred cherries (packed in juice and drained well). The cherries stand out in both color and flavor from the buttermilk bread base, which is slightly sweet and has a hint of vanilla-almond flavor to it. The bread is moist and tender, and sprinkling it with coarse sugar before baking adds a subtle crunch to the top.
Since this bread is baked in a pie plate instead of a loaf pan, cut it in to generous wedges to serve it. I enjoy it exactly as-is, but the diner that I mentioned served their breads with large scoops of salted, whipped butter. The bread is at its best on the day that it is baked, though it will keep well for 2-3 days after baking if you don’t manage to get through it all in one sitting.
Cherry Breakfast Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh, pitted sweet cherries (frozen are ok, do not defrost before use)
coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch pie plate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, sugar, egg and both vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Stir in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by remaining buttermilk. Whisk in all remaining flour, mixing until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in cherries.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until bread is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow bread to cool directly in the pan before slicing.