It’s cold outside and the landscape is dreary. And the jolly celebration of Christmas and New Year’s is over. I can’t think of a better time to make –and share– a pretty cake.
My sights have been set on a pink scratch-made maraschino cake, and trying to find a recipe for one has been a little like trying to find Waldo. The same recipe kept popping everywhere I looked. You know, the one that uses a white cake mix as a base? I tried that one, but it was not what I was looking for.
I wanted scratch-made. I wanted complete control of what went into my cake, and I wanted it to taste bakery fresh. That doesn’t seem like such a tall order, right?
Alas. The recipe I had been looking for was in an old fundraiser cookbook (love those!). It took a some mild tweaking, but now it’s ready to share!
The frosting is the Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe from my cookbook. I gave it a generous dose of vanilla, which is a nice compliment to the cherry cake.
I also want to mention that I made this cake in two 7″ springform pans. I cannot tell you how much I love and use this size pan. It makes cakes a little smaller in circumference, but they are slightly taller. I love this profile! You don’t have to adjust the ingredient amounts of a double layer cake recipe to accommodate the pans. Just divide the original amount of batter between two (or three) 7″ pans and adjust baking times according to the amount of batter in the pan.
The original recipe for this maraschino cherry cake indicates the use of one 9″ cake pan. As you can see, it divides beautifully between two 7″ pans.
- I may be venturing into the world of video podcasting soon. It all depends on whether or not I can stand the sound of my own voice.
- I am in major like with my new “special purpose” camera. It’s so much fun, and there’s something great about capturing the moment with no hope of digital editing, no turning back.
- I’m completely obsessed with the 90’s TV show Northern Exposure, and about to watch the series from beginning to end again. It’s not often that I recommend watching television, but this show… it is special.
Cherry-Vanilla Layer Cake
Serves 8-10 [click for printable recipe]
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 tablespoons flour for sprinkling over diced cherries
10 oz bottle maraschino cherries, finely chopped
Drop or two of red food coloring, or Americolor Deep Pink food coloring gel *optional
4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
- Preheat oven to 340 degrees.
Grease two 7” spring-form pans (or one 9”) and line with parchment
- Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand
mixer until creamy. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt
and baking powder . Combine milk,cherry juice and almond extract, and add alternately to the butter and sugar with the flour
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over
the diced cherries and stir until the flour has been completely absorbed. Note: It’s okay if the cherries still have a little
juice on them after this.
- Stir cherries into the batter.
Stir in food coloring if desired
- Fold stiffly beaten egg whites into the batter. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for
50-60 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely
on a wire rack.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
3 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
- Set a saucepan filled one-third full of water over
medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large
heatproof bowl. Set over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot
to the touch and the sugar has dissolved.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted
with the whisk attachment.
- Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high
until stiff peaks are formed.
- Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is
fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).
- Turn the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to
the paddle. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a
time, beating until well incorporated before the next addition.
- Add the vanilla extract.
Divide batter and tint with food coloring, if desired. I kept a little un-tinted frosting out to
pipe around the edges of the cake. To achieve my favoriteblue/green tint, I
used a dot each of Sky Blue and Kelly Green Wilton gel food colorings.
- Beat until the frosting is thick and completely smooth.
- Store in an airtight container until ready for use.
Note: The heart topper is a piece of gum paste with a piece of clean, unused floral wire inserted through the center. The surface was brushed with corn syrup and dipped in multicolored sprinkles.