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Cherry Amaretto Loaf Cake

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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!

Sliced cherry amaretto loaf cake on rustic cutting board

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!

(If you love cherry desserts, be sure to try my Classic Sour Cherry Cobbler and Mini Cherry Pies too!)

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.

Side view of cherry amaretto loaf cake topped with fresh berries and mint

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
  • Salt 
  • 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.

Three plates with slices of cherry amaretto loaf cake and fresh cherries

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.

Cherry amaretto loaf cake topped with fresh berries and mint with 2 slices cut

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.
Overhead view of cherry amaretto loaf cake with two slices cut

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 on rustic board, topped with cherries and mint
Sliced cherry amaretto loaf cake on rustic cutting board

Cherry Amaretto Loaf Cake

This cherry amaretto loaf cake is dense, moist, and bursting with the flavors of amaretto and cherries!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 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

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

  • 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.

Glaze:

  • In a small bowl combine all ingredients until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if you want a thicker glaze. Pour over cooled cake.

Recipe Notes

  • 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.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 385 kcal | Carbohydrates: 59 g | Protein: 4 g | Fat: 15 g | Saturated Fat: 8 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 52 mg | Sodium: 203 mg | Potassium: 107 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 43 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: amaretto cake, cherry cake, loaf cake
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