The story of George Washington cutting down his father's cherry tree is generally understood to be a myth. But it is true that the nation's first president liked cherries. If you're looking for something special to pay homage to this Founding Father, try my grandmother's divine cake. She used Ozark grown cherries and walnuts and fresh cream from a dairy farm near her home.
- 6 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup half-and-half cream
- 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 40 maraschino cherries, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Maraschino cherries with stems, drained and patted dry
- Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of two greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment paper; grease paper.
- In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, mix cream and cherry juice. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with cream mixture, beating well after each addition. Fold in cherries and walnuts. With clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold into batter.
- Transfer batter to prepared pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.
- In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread top with half of the whipped cream. Top with remaining cake layer; spread with remaining whipped cream. Decorate with cherries. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Cherry Nut Cake in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2015, p175
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