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Lacy Valentine Cake

* 1/2 cup warm water -- (105 to 115f)
* 2 packages active dry yeast
* 1/2 cup warm milk -- (105 to 115f)
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup butter or margarine -- softened, PLUS"PLUS" means this ingredient in addition to the one on the next line, often with divided uses
* 1 tablespoon butter or margarine -- softened
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries -- drained
* 1/2 cup chopped slivered almonds -- toasted
* 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar -- sifted
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
* 3 tablespoons milk

Place warm water in large, warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved.
Add warm milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, eggs, salt and 1 1/2 cups flour; blend well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough.
Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Pat maraschino cherries between paper towels to remove excess moisture. In medium bowl, combine cherries, almonds and 1/4 cup sugar; reserve.
Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll one piece to 24- x 7-inch oblong. Melt remaining butter; brush half on dough to within 1/2-inch of edges. Sprinkle half of cherry mixture on surface. Beginning at long end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal; carefully roll back and forth to stretch to 26-inch rope. Place, seam side down, on greased baking sheet. Form into ring; pinch ends together to seal. Shape into heart.
With sharp knife, cut slits starting at outside edge of heart, 2/3 of the way through dough, at 3/4-inch intervals. Turn each section on its side to show filling. Repeat with remaining dough, butter and filling. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes or until done; switch positions of sheets in oven halfway through baking time for even browning. Remove from sheets; cool on wire racks. Frost with Almond Icing.
Almond Icing: Combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and 2 to 3 tablespoons milk. Stir until smooth.

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