Recipe by Squirrelly Cakes, Premium Member © 2007 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
2 1/2 cups bleached cake flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chopped dried cherries
3/4 cup whole or 2% milk
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon. Amaretto or an almond flavored liqueur or 1 teaspoon almond extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan; tap out excess flour.
SQUIRRELLY CAKES SAYS: I position oven rack at center of oven. - A lot depends on the particular pan you are using, how high the pan is and how close it is to the top element. So you may have to experiment with positioning of oven racks. With the very deep pans, you are likely better off baking in the lower third of the oven but for pans like the rose pan, pansy pan and fleur de lis, the middle works for me.
SARAH SAYS: For best results, grease pan with shortening and dust with flour such as Wondra enabling you to see the intricate details of the pan. Nonstick vegetable oil is fine to use. Avoid sprays with lecithin because it promotes a gummy layer build up on the pan. Bakers' Joy, a nonstick spray with flour is recommended.
Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons flour mixture to a small bowl, add the cherries and toss to coat; set aside.
In another small bowl, combine the milk and the almond and vanilla extracts; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition (beat about 20 seconds for each egg added.)
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not over-beat or your cake will be dry. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold two-thirds of the cherries into the batter.
Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining cherries over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter on top, spreading the batter so the sides are higher than the center. This is very important.
Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, but not batter. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the granulated sugar and water and cook until the sugar dissolves, then boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the Amaretto / almond liqueur and let cool for 1 minute.
Tap the Bundt pan gently on a work surface to loosen the cake. Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.