Here's a nice all purpose cherry cake that isn't too rich but, nevertheless, very good. My friend Pat made this years ago when she was first married and, of course, I've had the recipe for years and years. (Pat and I are no spring chickens.) If a recipe is good, it's good no matter how old it may be and all of Pat's recipes are winners. You may have made her Lemon Squares or Boiled Raisin Cake which also make wonderful Christmas treats.
Pat lived around the corner, on the next street, from me when we were children. Her full name is Patricia Louise, which she hated. Such a pretty name but kids can take quite a dislike to their name for some strange reason. We were informed that we were to call her Pat but I'm sure I called her Patricia just as often because I liked the name. We met each other when we were about 10-12 years old. I was the oldest, then Patricia and my sister, Heather, was the youngest. There was about a span of three years between the three of us which made it very convenient for her to be friends with both Heather and me. Heather still liked playing with dolls and so did Pat. I hated playing with dolls by the time I was 9 or 10 years old so I'd have to amuse myself with something else when they were together. We grew up together, walking to school, playing in each other's houses, attending parties and all the other things kids did back in the 1960s and early 70s. Many a weekend we had slumber parties where no one slumbered or slept. And then we grew up, got married, swapped recipes, got jobs, had kids and moved away. We sent Christmas cards and occasionally met up with each other but soon even those things disappeared and there were only memories left. . . . and then, out of the blue, I got a message from Pat on Facebook and we've reconnected. Some days you've just gotta love technology!
Here is the original recipe card from my old recipe box. You can just make out Pat's name on the back of the card. I have made no change to the basic recipe, but have added a few optional additions of flavourings and lemon zest. As you can see, I've made this recipe many times by the condition of the card!
Cherry Cake is a traditional cake served in Newfoundland and Labrador homes at Christmas time. No respectable fruit cake tray would be complete without slices of the beloved, moist Cherry Cake. When I was a child I always looked forward to visiting with my aunts and uncles and enjoyed a piece of Cherry Cake with a glass of Purity Syrup. As a child, my fruit cake taste buds were not highly refined, and the cherry cake with the candied cherries was always a favourite. It's still my favourite fruit cake as it is my sister's. I make her one every year and she keeps it under wraps and eats it bit by bit (or maybe that should read "bite by bite") to extend the enjoyment and longevity of the cake. The large bundt cake in the pictures below will be going to Heather this year. Hope you enjoy it, sister.
1½ cups butter
2 cups sugar
3½ cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grated rind of a medium lemon, optional
1 teaspoon lemon extract, optional
1 teaspoon almond extract, optional
½ - 1 pound candied (glacéd) cherries, halved (depends on how many cherries you like)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease or pan spray and flour a large bundt or tube pan. Or you may use 2 loaf or bread pans. If you do not have a tube or bundt pan, use a deep 9- or 10-inch round baking pan.
Measure flour and remove 2 tablespoons and sprinkle over the cherries, tossing to coat evenly. Sift or mix remaining flour, baking powder and salt together. Lay aside.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add sifted dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with milk. Beat well after each addition. Add flavourings and lemon juice and floured cherries.
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake 325 degrees for 1 - 1½ hours. Test with a toothpick or cake tester before removing from oven. The tester should not have any raw batter clinging to it. My bundt cake took 1 hour and 10 minutes. For cakes without the hole in the middle, bake the longer amount of time.
When baked, remove cake from oven and let sit in pan for about 15 minutes. Turn out on cake rack to thoroughly cool. Store cooled cake in air-tight container. It is best to leave the cake at least one day before cutting. Cake may also be frozen until Christmas if you make it in November.
Makes 1 large bundt or tube cake or 16-20 slices.
You may glaze or frost the cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting. I usually don't frost my cherry cakes but for a more formal setting a light glaze is very nice and festive looking.
Measure the flour and remove 2 tablespoons. Sprinkle over the cherries and toss to evenly coat. The flour keeps the cherries from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
Half a pound of candied (glacéd) cherries are approximately 1 well-rounded cup or 227grams. I like to use a full pound or 2 cups/454 grams.
Sift remaining flour with the baking powder and salt and lay aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Your mixture should be light and creamy after the eggs have been added.
Mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition.
To add the milk alternately with the flour means flour, milk, flour, milk and flour.
Begin and end with the flour.
Add the vanilla and any other extract you may be using along with the lemon zest.
Finally mix in the floured cherries. You may do this by hand or on the lowest setting of your mixer. You don't want to mangle or mash the cherries so a gentle touch is needed.
Generously grease or pan spray and flour the cake pan. This will prevent the cake from sticking to the pan when baked.
These are miniature loaf pans I'm using to bake cakes for our Cheer Baskets. Each year my church distributes a fruit basket to the seniors in our congregation or to friends/family of members. We include fruit, a little cake and a few candies.
Here are the baked miniature Cherry Cakes. Don't they look good enough to eat?
Here's my sister's cake. This one was baked in a bundt pan. A tube pan works just as well, also.
Slices of moist cake studded with jewel-like candied cherries.
Serve your cake on a pretty Christmas cake plate.
Cherry Cake ready for your Christmas entertaining.