Last week I had a couple of friends over for “Christmas” lunch. I made an orange pomegranate prosecco cocktail, Ina Garten’s split pea soup, a salad, and this cake. Isn’t it cheerful?
It’s a Cherry Almond Angel Cake and it’s basically a doctored box mix cake. I read about this cake many years ago on a blog I can’t find anymore*. She made the cake based off a Betty Crocker recipe and she made hers in two loaf pans. I wrote down the recipe and all these years later, I finally tried it. It’s so fun. My cherry “glaze” was more of a frosting, but it was really delicious so I’m not complaining.
Cherry Almond Angel Cake
1 box angel food cake mix (Betty Crocker gets my mom’s stamp of approval, so that’s what I used.)
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries (One tiny 10 ounce jar will be plenty for this recipe, with a few leftovers for a Manhattan or two!)
Make sure your oven rack is at the lowest level possible and preheat your oven to 350.
In a large bowl, beat cake mix, water, and almond extract on low for 30 seconds. Raise speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.
Fold in cherries.
Pour into an tube cake pan. DO NOT GREASE YOUR PAN! (Also, do not use a non-stick pan!)
Bake for 37-47 minutes until the top is very dry, cracking, and dark golden brown. If the top is still sticky, the cake is not done.
When done, remove from oven and turn over onto a glass bottle. (If you don’t have a glass bottle on hand–this isn’t 1950–you can set your pan on top of 2-3 cans. The important thing is that the cake cools upside down.) Let the cake cool completely. When the cake is cooled, run a knife along the edges of the pan to remove it.
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons (or more) of maraschino cherry juice
Full disclosure, I broke my hand mixer making this glaze. The hand mixer was pretty old, but also, apparently 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of juice were more like wall putty than a nice, glossy glaze. I finished the glaze by hand, with a spoon and ended up using 5 tablespoons of juice and still, my glaze was pretty thick. Start with 2 1/2 tablespoons and add as you go, 1/2 tablespoon at a time to be safe. When it’s the right consistency, drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake
Decorate the cake with extra maraschino cherries and beam at your work like a 1950s housewife.
Three things: Wouldn’t this cake be so cute for Valentine’s Day? I’m going to make it again for a Valentine karaoke party we’re going to next month. And, if you aren’t a frosting person, I always think angel food cakes are delicious on their own. Maybe slightly less cute, but delicious still. Lastly, if you’re interested, the box mix has instructions for making your angel food in two loaf pans. One for yourself, and one for a gift.
*Maybe you’ve read this blog? The woman lived in Champaign, Illinois. She was married, had a corgi, and she made quilts and doilies to show at fairs. She also had an etsy shop where she sold a pattern for aprons made of pillow cases.