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Holiday Gift Cake

More than 25 years ago, to remind my two young children of the real meaning of the season, I decided our Christmas dinner should include a birthday cake. This rich lovely dessert has served that purpose ever since.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 1 hour 20 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 jar (8 ounces) maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • GLAZE:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Birthday candles, optional


  • In a bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add 2 cups to batter. Set aside five to six cherries for garnish. Chop the remaining cherries; add to remaining flour mixture with pecans. Fold into batter.
  • Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For glaze, combine sugar and milk in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake. Decorate with reserved cherries and candles if desired.
Editor's Note: Green maraschino cherries may also be used for garnish.

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Average Rating:
  • Carole R
    Dec 13, 2019

    I have been baking this cake for my birthday for.... well for more years than I would like to remember! With my birthday on 12/26, All of the hustle and bustle of Christmas is done, I love to wake up before anyone else and have a slice of this cake and a nice cup of coffee.

  • diankas
    May 31, 2012

    I would make this cake again in a heart beat.I have been making it for at least 39 years and always used Philly cream cheese, well I decided to use a off brand for the cake the last time I made it and in didn't work it rose and then fell and looked like it wasn't cooked but it was. Off brands have stabilizers and I guess that was the problem. Oh forgot to say I used the off brand 2 x's same problem. This AM I made the cake with the Philly, it turn out prefect!