This cherry amaretto loaf cake is buttery and moist, with a tender crumb, juicy cherries, and the flavor of almond thanks to the addition of amaretto. It’s the kind of cake you can enjoy for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or dessert!
Baking with fresh cherries is totally worth the time spent pitting them (and the stained fingers). They’re sweet and juicy, and they taste completely different from the cherries you buy in cans and jars. In this cherry amaretto loaf cake, cherries are definitely the star.
This cake is so easy to make, and it’s always a hit with family and friends. While it looks like a standard loaf cake, the combination of cherries and amaretto totally make it next-level delicious. The moist, dense texture is reminiscent of a pound cake, and this also means it stores well, so you can enjoy it for several days!
What Kind of Alcohol is Amaretto?
Amaretto is an Italian liqueur that is made with almonds. It has a strong almond flavor and aroma, with a hint of sweetness. You can find it in most liquor stores, and it’s also a common ingredient in many desserts.
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the loaf cake:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter – Let this come to room temperature so it’s easy to beat into the batter.
- Cream cheese – This also needs to be room temperature.
- Granulated sugar
- Egg – Yep, the egg should be room temperature too!
- Amaretto liqueur – Two teaspoons of vanilla extract can be used instead.
- Cherries – Fresh is best, but frozen will do in a pinch. Just don’t use canned cherry pie filling!
For the optional glaze:
- Powdered sugar
- Hot milk or water
- Oil – Use one with a neutral flavor.
- Amaretto – Or, again, you can substitute vanilla extract.
What Is the Easiest Way to Pit Cherries?
A cherry pitter is the easiest way to pit cherries; it’s a small tool that you insert into the cherry and it removes the pit for you with minimal mess.
No cherry pitter? Another method is to cut the cherries in half and remove the pit with your fingers or a small spoon. You can also use a stainless steel straw or wooden chopstick to push the pit out of the cherry.
How to Make Cherry Amaretto Loaf Cake
If you’re not into making elaborate layer cakes, this cherry amaretto loaf cake is the recipe for you. It’s not any more complicated than making a quick bread!
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and set a rack in the lower third of the oven. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
Mix the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until they’re creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and amaretto for a minute more.
Finish the batter. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in the cherries.
Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool. Set the loaf pan on a wire rack and let it cool for 10 minutes. Use the parchment paper to gently lift the cake from the pan and place it directly on the rack to finish cooling.
Make the glaze. Stir together all of the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Pour the glaze over the loaf cake once it’s completely cool.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips and pointers for a perfect cherry amaretto loaf cake:
- Use fresh sweet cherries for the best flavor. I like Bing cherries in this recipe, but Rainier cherries would work too.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. You’ll need to mix in the flour until it’s just combined, otherwise your cake will end up tough.
- Tent the cake with foil. After 40 minutes, I recommend loosely covering the cake with aluminum foil. This will keep the top from getting too dark.
- Skipping the glaze. If you want a less sweet cherry amaretto loaf cake, you can skip the glaze and simply dust the top with powdered sugar.
How to Store
Keep the loaf cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, or refrigerate it for up to 1 week.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Unglazed cherry amaretto loaf cake freezes well for up to 2 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
Cherry Amaretto Loaf Cake
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, 190 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking powder, 5 grams
- ½ teaspoon salt, 2 grams
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (115 grams)
- ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature (120 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar, 200 grams
- 1 large egg, room temperature (50 grams without a shell)
- 2 Tablespoons Amaretto liqueur, *read tips for substitute
- 2 cups cherries, pitted and halved (approx 250 grams)
For the glaze (optional):
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons hot milk or water
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons Amaretto, more if you want a stronger flavor, but lower the amount of milk/water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and place the rack in the lower third of the oven. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch (22×12 cm) loaf pan and line it with parchment paper
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium-high speed beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in egg and amaretto, beat for one minute.
- Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon fold in the dry ingredients until JUST combined. Do not overmix.
- Gently fold in cherries.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-70 minutes, or until a skewer comes clean out of the center. After 40 minutes cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the top from getting too dark. Check toothpick test at 50 minutes mark.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently lift the cake out of the pan and transfer to the cooling rack to cool completely.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving or make a glaze.
- In a small bowl combine all ingredients until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if you want a thicker glaze. Pour over cooled cake.
- If Amaretto is not your thing, you can substitute it with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Don’t worry about the difference in the amount of liquid, it’s small and will not affect the texture of the cake).
- Keep the cake in a well-sealed container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days, or keep it in the fridge for up to 1 week. The cake freezes well (without the glaze) for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
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