I first made this for Anna's first birthday, and it's been a fixture ever since. It's best while the cherries are in season - like now!
- Preheat your oven to 375F. Grease a lasagna-sized baking dish.
- Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups pitted sweet cherries and pat dry. In a separate bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, 2 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat 3/4 cup soft butter on high for 30 seconds. Add 1 3/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry, flour mixture and 1 1/4 cup milk alternately to beaten mixture. Stir 2 tsp shredded lemon peel. Pour batter into pan, then sprinkle the chopped cherries on top. (They will sink, mind.)
- Bake for 30-35 min and cool completely. Cut into pieces and add a dollop of some cream cheese frosting to each piece and top with a cherry.
- To make the cream cheese frosting, combine an 8 oz package of cream cheese, 2/3 cup butter, 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Beat well, then add up to 3 cups of sifted powdered sugar and beat well.
Truly, this photo doesn't do it justice - it looks much better in the flesh (and on my plate)!