We knew it was Valentine’s Day in my home growing up when this cake appeared. It was definitely my dad’s all time favorite cake and my mother knew the way to his heart. This Sweetheart Cake is a classic recipe, filled with sweet Maraschino cherries, walnuts and almond flavoring topped with a buttery almond frosting and chopped walnuts.
Made with egg whites, the batter is light and airy. The only change I made from my mother’s original recipe was to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of cake flour. Admittedly the texture is a bit more dense, but the creamy frosting makes up for it.
I also cut the recipe down to accommodate a single layer cake rather than two. Pouring and decorating cupcakes is another fun way to share this delicious cake in a mini-version.
Maraschino cherries provide the juice and the cherries. You’ll probably have a few left over, so consider freezing them and add to a smoothie or chopping them up and stir into yogurt for a sweet treat.
- Sweetheart (Almond Cherry Walnut) Cake
- Cooking Spray
- 1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries
- 1 3/4 cups sifted whole wheat pastry or cake flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup butter or coconut oil
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk, room temperature
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 (1-pound) box powdered sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup cherry juice (reserved from ingredients above)
- 2 tsp almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch heart-shaped cake pan with cooking spray then lightly flour or arrange cupcake liners in cupcake pan.
- Reserve 1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice. Coarsely chop the cherries to make 1/2 cup. Set aside.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each.
- Combine milk, 1/4 cup of the reserved cherry juice, almond and vanilla extracts. Add the flour and milk mixture alternately to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. Stir in the reserved chopped cherries and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan or fill cupcakes 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes (15-20 minutes for cupcakes) or until cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger or a tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
- To make frosting: Beat butter in a large bowl till fluffy. Gradually add 1/2 box of powdered sugar; beat well. Slowly beat in remaining 1/4 cup cherry juice and almond extract. Gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar.
- Once cake is completely cool, frost with butter frosting and top with remaining 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
Be sure to allow cake to cool completely before frosting.