My Aunt Raffy had been telling me about a cherry pound cake that her nonna and mother had made long ago, and wanted me to try my hand at re-creating it! After all, it’s the perfect season for it – fresh cherries are super abundant, and I love baking with fresh seasonal produce.
This is a wonderful pound cake with the slight flavor of almond – I adore the combination of almond and cherry (like my thumbprint cookies!). To ensure that the cherries don’t sink in the batter or bleed their color everywhere, I opt to toss them in a bit of flour first, and add them to the cake in layers. It makes for a perfectly, evenly-dispersed slice every time, and it’s just beautiful to slice into.
A quick hint, too – you don’t need to purchase a cherry pitter if you don’t have one. I like to take the stem off of the cherry, and place it on top of a small glass bottle – a 10-12 ounce one you’d get something like beer in – and use a chopstick or metal straw and press down on the center of the cherry until the pit pops off the bottom. You could also simply cut them in half and remove the pit that way. However you get the pit out, the cake will turn out delicious!
Italian Cherry Pound Cake
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 heaping cups fresh cherries, pitted*
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- *Cook's Note: Frozen cherries can be substituted in for fresh. Thaw completely and drain any excess liquid before using.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan and line the bottom and sides with a strip of parchment paper.
- To a large bowl, add the butter and sugar. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream and mix on medium, scraping the sides if necessary, until thoroughly mixed. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and beat to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the ingredients together until just combined, being careful to not overmix.
- Set aside 1/3 cup of cherries for topping the cake, and slice them in half. Set aside. Add the remaining 1 2/3 cups cherries to a bowl or plastic bag, and add the 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour. Coat the cherries evenly with the flour and set aside.
- Add 1/3 of the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan. Next, evenly sprinkle ½ of the floured cherries on top of the layer. Add another 1/3 of the cake batter, and top with the rest of the floured cherries. Add the last third of batter, and decoratively top it with the reserved slice cherries.
- Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is evenly golden brown. Remove to a rack to cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Dust with powdered sugar for serving. Slice and enjoy.