Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! If you’re in need of a showstopper dessert, try this cherry almond cake. It serves a crowd and has a wonderful balance of flavors.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re single or attached, I hope that you take the time to celebrate YOU.
If you’re in the camp where you want to surprise that special someone, listen up. This cherry almond cake is lovely to look at and even better to eat. Believe it or not, but my husband found this recipe in the King Arthur Baking mail catalog.
I was a bit hesitant to try this cake initially because it called for canned cherry pie filling and included meringue powder in the frosting. I was going to alter the recipe to my liking but decided to try the original recipe for my first attempt and see what improvements I would need to make the next time.
Here’s what I learned: Cherry pie filling is some thick stuff. But, the juicy part can be strained out and reused. I strained my cherry pie filling over a bowl and kept the cherries for the filling. As for the juicy remnants, I brushed some on top of each layer of the cake and used a good bit of it in the frosting. It did help save some time over fresh cherries, but the flavor felt a bit… can-like.
Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the frosting. Ås suspected, the meringue powder and sugar created a crunchy, grainy frosting that I didn’t particularly like. I would prefer using either a Swiss meringue buttercream (flavored with cherry extract or even that leftover cherry juice from the pie filling) or even a classic American buttercream (also flavored with cherry).
One other thing to note – the cake started to dry out pretty quickly and yields a drier cake base than normal white or yellow cakes (that’s why I brushed cherry juice on top of each cake layer). This is still a solid cake and one that will drop jaws, so I hope you try it out.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Husband’s rating: 5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5
Cherry almond cake
- 5 large eggs
- 1 and ½ cups (297 grams) granulated sugar
- 12 Tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter melted and cooled
- ¾ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (72 grams) almond flour I substituted with all-purpose
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup (113 grams) milk of choice
- 1 can (2 cups/ 477 grams) cherry pie filling
- ¾ cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons (85 grams) boiling water
- ¼ cup (28 grams) meringue powder
- 2 Tablespoons (28 grams) cherry juice concentrate I used the leftover liquid from the cherry pie filling
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 cups (454 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 pound (454 grams or 4 sticks) unsalted butter softened
Bake the cake
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Generously grease and line three 6" round cake pans with parchment paper and set aside (I used 8" cake pans since I don't have enough 6" ones).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on high speed until thick and pale.
- Turn the mixer to low and add in the melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and baking powder.
- Alternatively add in the dry ingredients and milk to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix for another 30 seconds.
- Divide the batter evenly and distribute it among the 3 prepared pans. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-37 minutes. The edges should start to pull away from the pans and the tops will appear a light golden color.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
Prepare the filling
- Set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Pour the canned cherry pie filling in the sieve. You can set the cherries aside for later and reserve the cherry pie "juice" as well.
Make the frosting
- In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the sugar, salt, and boiling water on low speed until the sugar dissolves. Cool slightly.
- Add the meringue powder and cherry juice concentrate (I used the reserved cherry "juice" from the pie filling above). Beat on high speed until you achieve soft peaks.
- Add the almond extract and then the powdered sugar. Add the butter a few Tablespoons at a time. Beat well. If the frosting appears too thick, add a splash of milk. If it seems too thin, add a little bit more powdered sugar.
Assemble the cake
- Place one cake layer, flat side down, on a cake stand or plate. Cut off any domed parts of the cake (and eat it!). Brush the tops of the cake with the reserved cherry "juice." Add about ½ cup of frosting on top and add half of the reserved cherries. Repeat with the next layer.
- Place the final cake layer, flat side down. Frost the top and sides with some frosting and place it in your refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. Then continue frosting the cake and decorate as desired.