In April we celebrate 2 birthdays on the Gunnell side, my mother-in-law Susan and our son Camden, who would have been 2 this year. I saw this cake in Cook’s Country and have been wanting to make it forever! So, birthdays are the perfect excuse, right? Slight variations have been made from the original recipe. This is time consuming; baking the cake from scratch, making a buttercream filling and a whipped cream frosting, dipping the cherries, etc. But the end result is a delight. Light white cake studded with red cherries and mini chocolate chips, sweet buttercream holding the layers together topped with a light whipped cream and of course chocolate covered cherries! If you aren’t keen on making the cake from scratch, I am sure a box white cake would suffice, but just go and make the real deal, you won’t be sorry. After the cake cools, if you aren’t assembling and serving right away, wrap the cakes in plastic and place in the fridge, this solidifies the cake somewhat and makes it easier to layer. Store leftovers in the fridge.
1 cup milk
6 large egg whites
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still firm
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries with stems , drained and wiped dry
Red food coloring
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
Easy Vanilla Buttercream
The buttercream frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated; if refrigerated, however, it must stand at room temperature to soften before use. If using a hand-held mixer, increase mixing times significantly (at least 50 percent). Makes about 2 cups.
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter , softened
2 1/2 cups Confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
1/8 tablespoons table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Whipped Cream Frosting
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Red food coloring
For the whipped cream frosting:In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
For the buttercream frosting: In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Beat 5 drops red food coloring into buttercream; add more coloring as desired.
For the cherries: Melt remaining 1 1/2 cups chips and shortening in bowl. Holding stems, partially dip maraschino cherries into chocolate and place on parchment-lined plate. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 10 minutes.
Directions: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, cover the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment (If you don’t have 3 cake pans, use two 9-inch rounds instead). Mix milk, egg whites, and vanilla together in 2-cup measuring cup. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Continue beating, gradually adding the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add 1/3 each of flour mixture and milk mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add the remaining flour and milk mixtures in two separate batches, beating between additions to fully incorporate. Scrape down sides of bowl and stir by hand to finish.
Drain and rinse cherry pie filling under running water. Press cherries between several layers of paper towels until very dry. Chop cherries fine. Gently fold cherries and 1/2 cup chips into cake batter. Divide batter among pans. Bake on middle rack in 350-degree oven until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.
To assemble: Spread 1 cup buttercream on bottom cake layer. Repeat with 1 cup more buttercream and second cake layer. Top with final cake layer and frost top and sides with pink whipped cream frosting. If using two 9-inch layers, cut each layer in half and divide the buttercream evenly among the 4 layers. Decorate with whipped cream and cherries. Refrigerate until serving or serve immediately.
Pink sophistication for Susan and playful crayon candles in memory of Camden.
Read Full Post »