Orange Cherry Cream Cheese Pound Cake. Sweet maraschino cherries suspended in a buttery cream cheese batter that’s been infused with orange flavour. A great Christmas cake to make in advance for the holiday freezer.
This cream cheese pound cake is another terrific example of how a good basic recipe can be reinvented in as many ways as you like.
The base recipe for this cake came from a family friend decades ago. That Cherry Pecan Cake was a revelation to us at the time because it was a departure from the Newfoundland Cherry Cake that we knew and loved all our lives and still do.
The cake used crunchy pecans and maraschino cherries instead of the usual glacé cherries. The most delicious difference was the batter which incorporated a whole block of rich cream cheese. It transforms the flavour of the cake and elevates it into something very different and special.
I’ve since used the batter as the base for a Orange Brandy Fruitcake which is a new recipe this Holiday baking season. In one of my posts on our Facebook Page, one reader remarked that she was going to try the recipe with just cherries. That sounded like a brilliant idea to me, so I responded that I might have to try that idea myself.
I had some cream cheese on hand already and Spouse had just bought a big bottle of maraschino cherries from Costco, so it didn’t take me long to follow through on the idea of a simple cherry poundcake with orange flavour infused inside. The cherry and orange flavours go so well with each other and the cream cheese batter keeps this cake exceptionally list and delicious.
If you’re looking for something a little different than your usual cherry cake this Christmas…or in addition to it) this one is well worth a try. I cut mine in 4 pieces, wrapped them in multiple layers of plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, to prevent freezer burn and stuck them in the down stairs freezer.
This is my approach with many Christmas Cakes, so that you need only thaw a little at a time when you need it. It also means you can have different kinds of cake readily available without having to thaw them all at once.
Like this Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe?
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If you liked this recipe be sure to check out this amazing recipe Christmas Cakes Collection:
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 cup cream cheese 8 oz
- 1 cup butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract optional
- 4 eggs
- zest of 2 large oranges finely minced
- 2 1/2 cups flour reserve ¼ cup to dust the cherries at the end
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 3 cups well drained maraschino cherries chopped in half
This cake can bake in a standard bundt pan, an 8-10 cup tube pan or in 2 regular loaf pans. If using a bundt or tube pan, grease it very well and lightly dust with flour. If using loaf pans, lightly grease them and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Rinse and drain the maraschino cherries well. I drain them on paper towels overnight with the pit holes pointed downward do that no liquid is trapped inside. This may seem like a bit of an effort, but it does make sure that the red maraschino juice does not bleed into the batter and discolour the cake. It makes a nicer presentation when the bright red and orange colours are quite distinct.
When well drained, chop the cherries in half and set aside with the 1/4 cup of flour reserved for them. Don't toss the cherries in the flour until it is time to add them though..
Sift together 2 1/4 cups of the flour with the baking powder and set aside.
Cream together the sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts for several minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple of times during this process.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or so between additions. Stir in the orange zest.
Gently fold the flour and baking powder into the creamed mixture until the flour is almost fully incorporated.
At that point toss the cherries in the 1/4 cup of reserved flour and and add them to the batter. Any flour that doesn't stick to the fruit gets added too.
Fold until the flour is fully incorporated and the cherries are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
Bake for about an hour in the loaf pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The bundt or tube pan may take several minutes more, mine took 1 hr 20 minutes; the loaf pans may need a little less, depending on your oven and the type of pans you are using. Always check your cakes a few minutes ahead of time and then every five minutes thereafter to make sure they do not over bake.
When fully baked, let the cakes rest in the pans for 10-15 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.
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