- 3 (16-ounce boxes) pound cake mix, plus necessary listed ingredients
- 2–3 tablespoons Aiya America cooking grade matcha
- 1 cup amaretto, or to taste, divided
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, or as needed
- 2 ounces slivered almonds
- Sugared cranberries, to top, optional
- Fresh mint, to top, optional
- Prepare the first box of pound cake according to directions, but replace up to 1/3 cup of the liquids with amaretto (or add in 2 tablespoons of amaretto if no liquid ingredients are called for), and add in 2-3 tablespoons of matcha, depending on how strong you’d like the matcha flavor to be.
- Prepare and bake in a 9×5-inch loaf pan according to the directions. Let cool completely. Cut the matcha pound cake into large slices and use a small* Christmas tree cookie cutter (or cookie cutter of your choice) to cut shapes from the pound cake. Place the cut-outs on a baking sheet, cover, and freeze for at least 2 hours. This will help the cut-outs to keep their shape and prevent over-baking.
- Prepare a second box of cake mix the same way you did the first, but without matcha this time. Butter and flour the loaf pan and spread a near-paper-thin layer of the new batter at the bottom, just to help the cut-outs stand upright. Any more than just a teeny tiny bit of batter will expand and push the cutouts up too much, so make sure to keep it thin. Then, align the cutouts down the center of the pan, making sure there’s no space between them. Leave space around the edges so the cutouts are not visible from the front or back of the cake.
- Fill the rest of the way with the batter. Depending on the size of your cut-outs, you may need to make the second box of pound cake mix and use some to finish covering the cut-outs. Be careful not to overfill the pan, but be sure to cover the tops of all of the cut-outs fully.
- Bake until a skewer inserted into the base comes out clean. Usually this will take slightly longer than the package directions imply, so don’t worry, just test every 10 minutes after the package-stated time has passed.
- As the cake bakes, prepare the amaretto frosting. In a large bowl, cream the butter with a hand-mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar and then add amaretto, a bit at a time, tasting and adjusting until flavored as desired. If needed, mix in heavy whipping cream to thin. Set aside.
- As the cake cools, spread the slivered almonds on a large baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 3-4 minutes, then mix. Bake for another minute, or until toasted. Let cool.
- When the cake has fully cooled, spread the amaretto frosting over the top. Gently press slivered almonds into the frosting and top with sugared cranberries and mint, if desired. Serve.
Make sure that your Christmas tree cookie cutter is no more than 2 1/2 inches tall. If your cut-outs won’t fit fully in the baking dish without popping up at the top, you need a shorter cookie cutter. Stars, hearts, snowflakes, and holly leaves are good alternatives that usually are smaller, if needed.