Hungarian Sour Cherry Cake
Sweet and tangy, this Hungarian cake pairs perfectly with coffee. Frozen and thawed cherries can be used whenever fresh sour cherries are not in season. Todd Coleman

In the eastern part of Hungary, where my husband, Andras, is from, small family farms still dot the landscape. Most of the local farmers sell their produce at the piac, or market, in the city of Veszprem, where Andras’s family lives. Many of them offer just one kind of food: bunches of wine grapes at one stand, colorful broad beans at another. What really caught my eye on my first visit, though, were the bushels and bushels of plump, glimmering sour cherries, or meggy, as the fruit is called in Hungarian. I purchased some and brought them back to my in-laws’ house with plans to make sour cherry preserves, but my request was lost in translation. Erzsebet, Andras’s mother, set to work pitting the cherries and mixed them with butter, sugar, whole-wheat flour, and eggs and turned them into a simple sponge cake (see ** Hungarian Sour Cherry Cake**) that she calls kevert meggyesem, which means “my mixed sour cherries.” We ate the tender cake, bursting with sweet-tart fruit, after dinner with ice cream and then again for breakfast with a cool glass of homemade kefir (cultured milk). I brought Erzsebet’s recipe back to the States with me; unlike other Hungarian sweets, it’s so easy and quick that I can re-create it the minute sour cherries make their all-too-fleeting appearance at my local market in New York City. —Sarah Copeland, author of the blog