Hooray! Another “no trip to the store” baking day! Fall baking comes easily when the ingredients in many recipes are already waiting on your pantry shelves, ready for use. When everything you need to bake up something yummy is at your fingertips, it is much easier to begin! I browsed through this collection of recipes from “A Taste of the South’s” Fall baking special issue, making note of the 1-2 items I need to buy but those items truly are few, and that is a definite plus for us bakers. Use what you have when you can!
I appreciate the endless choices offered with Fall baking and the traditional flavors sure to shine in these recipes. You can bet your hard-earned dollars that the tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves will be showing up! There are basic batters and crusts using flour, sugar, baking soda or powder, eggs, and a cup or two of buttermilk. And nuts! You will be using chopped nuts, guaranteed! Today, I chose walnuts for their rich flavor. You should use whatever tickles your fancy because it’s all about easily preparing something spiced, warm, and delicious for your family and friends.
The easiest way to make this cake, or any cake, is to gather your ingredients and sort them out, having them ready when you need them. Have it all in place, cut your prep time in half, and you will be so much more efficient in the kitchen. The French say “mis en place”, and that is good advice! Read your recipe several times, know where everything fits, fill your measuring cups and small bowls with what you’ll need, and you will have this cake ready for the oven quickly. Do set your butter out early so it is completely softened. And use your stand mixer for both the cake batter and the cream cheese frosting. You can wash everything up while the mixer does its work.
The canned cherries are a great surprise in this cake; their tart flavor perfectly complements the sweet cream cheese frosting. Today I used the reserved juice from the cherries for the liquid in the cake frosting. I didn’t want it completely pink, however, so only used 2 T. This cake would also be great with a rich butter cream frosting. Ahhh, more choices! However you slice it, my friends, place it in the refrigerator once frosted until sliced; if you are lucky enough to have leftovers, place it back into the fridge. I set aside a large chunk last night to enjoy with coffee this morning. Yum, breakfast too!
Cherry Spice Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1-14-1/2 oz. can pitted tart cherries, drained
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
3-3/4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 t. water
2-3 drops red food coloring, optional
Additional chopped pecans or walnuts, chopped, optional
Directions Preheat oven to 350. Line two 9” round baking pans with waxed paper. Grease and flour the pans and paper; set aside.
Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and powder, and the salt then add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fold in the cherries and pecans.
Transfer batter to prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
For frosting, in large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and enough water to achieve spreading consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Garnish with additional chopped nuts. Store in refrigerator, covered.