Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
3 1/2 cups tart cherries, (about 1 1/4 pounds), pitted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons kirsch, or brandy
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup whole unblanched almonds, (3 ounces), toasted (see Tip)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To make topping: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Toss cherries with sugar, kirsch (or brandy) and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Spoon into the prepared pan, arranging the cherries in a single layer; set aside.
To make cake: Combine flour, almonds, baking powder and salt in a food processor or blender; process until the almonds are ground to a fine meal.
Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup sugar, continuing until stiff and glossy. Beat whole eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a separate mixing bowl with an electric mixer until thickened and pale, about 5 minutes. Blend in vanilla.
Whisk one-quarter of the beaten egg whites into the whole-egg mixture. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the top and fold with a rubber spatula until just blended. Fold in the remaining beaten whites, then the remaining flour mixture.
Spread the batter over the cherries in the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tip: To toast whole nuts: Spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes.