Kirsch Cherry Pound Cake – A Booze Soaked Tribute to Maritime Fruitcake
Kirsch Cherry Pound Cake is my tribute to the white cherry cakes shared in the Canadian Maritimes at Christmas. Unlike dark, rum soaked fruitcake chalk-full of candied citrus peel and nuts in a rum soaked batter, during my time in Nova Scotia I became fond of ‘white fruitcake’ made with just red glace cherries, but I often thought it could use a little somethin’.
This year I tested a theory and soaked cherries in cherry liqueur (for like, four days) and baked them a dense, rich pound cake which I liberally painted with the remaining kirsch after baking, for a fabulously fragrant cake that pairs well with a strong cup of tea.
The five years I spent in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley changed my life in so many ways. I found myself in the kitchen, both literally and figuratively, and haven’t looked back. Run off my feet six months of the year, struggling to make ends meet for the other six, I spent a great deal of time in the company of good people and learned a different pace of living that’s become a part of me. The part of me that prefers tea over coffee, gives directions utilizing landmarks rather than street names, and is prone to eating dinner at 5 o’clock.
Love comes in many forms and this little cake, with it’s boozy red cherries, is my tribute to the winters spent, power off, near the fire waiting out the latest Nor’easter with the shovel INSIDE the backdoor. (Some things you learn fast!) I hope Kirsch Cherry Pound Cake makes it’s way east to take root there, the way I did.
Think of it like a Christmas Card, make with love & butter.
Kirsch Cherry Pound Cake
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time 60 – 80 minutes
Yield: two loaves
2 cups cherries (dried sour, maraschino or candied), cut in half
1 cup kirsch (cherry liqueur)
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup warm milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
- Place cherries in a jar or bowl you can seal, pour kirsch overtop, enough to cover and reserve at room temperature overnight (at least). Ideally, I like to soak the cherries for a couple of days, this will colour the kirsch pink as the cherries bleed a bit of colour.
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F (163°C). Prepare two loaf pans; spray well with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper. In a stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until smooth, then add almond & vanilla extracts, and mix. Add eggs and mix on medium for about 90 seconds until light and smooth.
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl remove 2 tablespoons of dry mix and reserve. Drain cherries and reserve kitsch, cut cherries in half reserving eight to ten whole to garnish the top of the cake. Add dry mix alternately with the milk and 2 tablespoons of remaining kirsch to the batter, at a medium speed, until combined. Do not whip or over-mix.
- Remove mixed batter from stand mixer. Mix drained cherries with the reserved portion of the flour mix and fold into batter.
- Divide batter equally between two the two loaf pans and finish with whole cherries if desired. Bake at 325°F (163°C) until done, about an hour to an hour and 20 minutes. If top begins to brown too early, tent the with tin foil until cooked through. Be sure to test the center with a toothpick to ensure it’s fully baked.
- Remove from oven and immediately brush top with reserved kirsch, a couple of times. Cool for ten minutes or so on a wire rack before unmolding, then brush entire surface with remaining kirsch. Repete bushing with surface to taste, or until the top of the cake top is glossy and well soaked (you can use it all if you like, I know I like!)
Then wrap Kirsch Cherry Pound Cake tightly with a double layer of plastic wrap to store (or freeze) or serve… with plenty of piping hot tea.