Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fresh cherry layer cake with cherry buttercream

A dense and fluffy cherry cake made with fresh cherries and topped with a fresh cherry buttercream. If you're like my dad, you'll want to eat a slice for breakfast!
I visited my parents a few weeks ago for the 4th of July holiday. My mom has been getting into baking and has been having a blast using all the fun new kitchen appliances that I bought for her (she is making my homemade peanut butter with sesame seeds and giving them away as gifts to friends). 

I asked what fun dessert she wanted me to bake with her while I was home, and she couldn't think of anything. She looked in her refrigerator and saw that she had at least 5 pounds of cherries and suggested we use them up. I came up with a cherry cheesecake, but it turns out that my mom threw out her springform pan. I finally settled on a cherry cake since I could use cherries in the cake and in the buttercream. Plus, this particular recipe did not use any egg yolks (my dad has been limiting his egg yolk intake) so that was a plus.

I'm happy to report that this cake was a big hit with my family. My mom, dad and husband all helped me bake this cake so it truly was a family effort. The cake was dense and fluffy with just a hint of cherry flavor, and the cherry buttercream was nice and smooth. My husband asked me if we saved any of the cake for ourselves, and I said no since we would have to travel about 4 hours to bring it home. He made a sad face but smiled again after I told him that I could recreate it at home for him if he wanted.

As for my dad? Well, he ate a big slice of it for breakfast the next day. Now you know where my sweet tooth comes from.

Fresh cherry layer cake with cherry buttercream
Cherry puree
  • 2 cups pitted red cherries
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
Cake
  • 2 and 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 and 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cherry puree
  • 1/4 cup half & half or milk of choice, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 12 Tablespoons (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Cherry buttercream 
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons cherry puree
  • 3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Bake the cake: About 3 hours before baking, toss the cherries with the 3 Tablespoons of sugar and set aside. Allow the cherries to completely mascerate and break down. Then put the cherry mixture in a blender and puree it. Set aside 3/4 cup of the puree for the cake and 3 Tablespoons for the buttercream. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease or line two 8" round baking pans. Set aside.


In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the cherry puree, milk, egg whites and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Add butter and continue to mix well.

Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Beat on high speed for an additional 30 seconds.

Evenly divide the batter into your prepared baking pans and bake in your preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.


Make the frosting: In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the reserved cherry puree about about 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. Keep adding powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until you achieve your desired consistency. Add the vanilla.

Assemble the cake: After the cakes have completely cooled, place one cake down on a cake plate, flat side up, and frosting with about 1/2 cup of buttercream. If desired, add extra cherries on top of the frosting. Place another cake layer, flat side down, on top of the filling. Frost the top and sides with remaining frosting. Garnish as desired - with fresh cherries, whipped cream flowers, chocolate shavings, or whatever makes you happy.

Leftover cake should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: About 10-12 servings

Source: Indigo's Sugar Spectrum

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