Growing up, every Christmas morning brought surprises wrapped in paper and stuffed into stockings. But one wonderfully predictable treat was a constant: my mother’s cherry-nut cake, which we ate for breakfast with scrambled eggs and sausage. For me, it is the flavor of Christmas day, tender and moist and scented with cherries, almond extract, vanilla, and walnuts. I make a double batch now and give out little cakes as gifts, but this single recipe will yield enough for one standard cake.
Mom’s Cherry Nut Cake
Total time: 70 minutes
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Makes: 8 to 10 servings
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup halved maraschino or other pitted, canned (or jarred) cherries (not cherry pie filling), with all but 3 tablespoons of their juices drained
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Garnish: Powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350° and set a rack to the middle position. Grease a standard 12-cup Bundt pan with the butter, then dust all over with the flour. Shake out any excess flour. Set the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese for 1 minute. Add the sugar and mix on medium speed until light and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl. Lower the speed and add the eggs one at a time, scraping between additions. Still on low speed, add the vanilla and almond extracts. Staying on low speed, add the flour mixture and stir until blended, then add the cherries with their reserved juices and the nuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and transfer on the baking sheet to the middle rack of the oven. Bake until the cake is fragrant and golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool, then dust with powdered sugar and serve.