What's even better than a tender, delicious, seasonal cherry cake at a summer get-together? A tender, delicious, season cherry cake that is baked into individual servings, making extra plates, utensils, and a knife totally unnecessary. I call these little cakes "cakelets" because, well, "cakelettes" just seemed like overkill.
Anyway, this cake is easy to put together and adapts well to a even weight substitution of gluten-free flour, like the Bob's Red Mill mix. If you're someone who's really sensitive to the flavor of almond extract, just scale it back to 1/2 teaspoon. Try it with other fruit, too. Blueberries work well, and who wouldn't get a little excited by the idea of a peach upside down cake? But definitely go with cherries when the season is brimming with them. The more wonderful ways to eat them the merrier!
Wash, stem, and pit the cherries. Chop them roughly and set them aside.
Generously butter the wells of a 12-cup standard muffin tin (non-stick if you have it) with 1/4 cup of the butter. This is not the time to gingerly dab butter on the tin; really slather it on there! Coat the bottom really well, and be sure to get it up the sides, too.
Divide the brown sugar evenly into each well, using one packed teaspoon per well. Spread the sugar out to cover the well-buttered bottom.
Distribute a heaping tablespoon of cherries into each well, again spreading the fruit out to cover the sugar. Set the tin aside and reserve the excess cherries, which should end up being about 1/2 cup.
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Set it aside.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup of butter and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mix in the extracts.
Mix the flour mixture into the wet mixture, combining thoroughly. Fold in the ground almonds and remaining cherries by hand. Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the muffin tin. Spread the batter to cover the fruit evenly (a small, offset spatula works really well for this).
Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating pan 10 minutes into cooking. Cakes are done when they are lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool for ten minutes in the pan or until they are cool enough to handle. They should still be a on the warm side so they'll be easier to remove from the pan. Remove the cakes one at time using a thin knife or offset spatula to gently wedge them out. If any of the cherry mixture sticks to the pan, carefully scoop it out and spread it back onto the cake. But you used tons of butter to grease the pan, so that probably won't happen.