Cherry Pound Cakes
Are you in a baking frenzy ahead of the Christmas holiday? If you’re like me, you’re practically done. Admittedly, I’ve had to be a little obsessive-compulsive this year with preparations, since there was so much going on in my life this month — my dad’s 100th (yes, 100th) birthday party; a three-week-long visit from London by my five-month granddaughter and her parents; and a new addition on the house that has me dizzy with all the decisions to be made. Still, getting organized is the best way not to stress, so I’ve made this large cherry pound cake to tuck away in the freezer for one of the Christmas eve desserts, and these minis to gift to friends and neighbors. I confess, we’ve eaten a few of the minis and they are so delicious, with their tender crumb and subtle almond flavoring, that they’re going to become a regular Christmas tradition. I saw the minis last year on Annie’s blog and tucked away the idea for the future.
The original recipe is from a 2004 edition of Southern Living, and while it’s not low-calorie by any means, if you limit yourself to a small slice, you won’t burst your waist buttons. And they make such a lovely small gift that anyone would be happy to receive one. I bought these disposable tins at the grocery store and they were perfect for individual cakes.
I frosted them right in the pans, which came with a clear, plastic lid that didn’t smush the frosting, and made it easy to deliver them to neighbors.
But for a large crowd, bake the cake in a tube pan. I froze mine, frosting and all, and will remove it from the freezer hours ahead of serving it. I already tested freezing and thawing a mini cake, and that worked well, so I am confident that when we sit down to slice into this beauty on Christmas eve, it will taste as fresh as when I baked it. The holly leaves and berries (made from purchased marzipan and a squirt or two of food coloring) aren’t necessary, but they do say “Merry Christmas” in a most festive way, don’t you think? I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas and that the Covid menace doesn’t find its way to your house.
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- 1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries (or use a 16 ounce jar for more cherries)
- ¾ cup butter
- ¾ cup shortening
- 3 cups sugar
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 6 large eggs
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- FOR THE CHERRY GLAZE:
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 1 ( 3-ounce ) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cherries
- FOR THE DECORATION:
- 1 tube marzipan
- food coloring
- Drain jar of cherries, discarding juice.
- Chop cherries, and set aside.
- Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
- Gradually add sugar, beating 1 minute.
- Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.
- Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Beat at low speed just until blended.
- Stir in flavorings and ½ cup chopped cherries.
- Spoon batter into 7 greased and floured 5¾'' x 3" mini loaf pans. (I used PAM and it worked just fine.)
- If using one large tube pan, grease and flour that.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 55 minutes (both the minis and the large cake need this time) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean.
- Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.
- Remove cakes from pans, and place on wire racks set over wax paper.
- To make the glaze:
- Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
- Gradually add powdered sugar and milk; beat until smooth.
- Stir in vanilla and cherries.
- Drizzle Cherry Glaze over slightly warm cakes.
- Decorate with marzipan leaves and berries, if desired
- Refrigerate cakes to let glaze harden before wrapping.
- TO MAKE MARZIPAN LEAVES:
- Place a few tablespoons of marzipan in a small bowl and mix in some food coloring.
- Blend with a spoon until the color is uniform.
- Shape into leaves by hand, or with a small cookie cutter.
- Make berries by rolling little balls in your hand.
This looks like a beautiful cake, Linda! I love Southern Living dessert recipes. I made cakes for all my local friends this year using a cute 6 cup Nordic Ware gingerbread man shaped pan, but I am going to pin this recipe to try next year for something different.
Happy 100th birthday to your father and enjoy all your sweet company! Have a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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