White Cake with Cherry Buttercream

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Even though I am not always fond of eating sweets, I find a true joy in baking. I kind of get into a groove. Last Thursday my copy of Saving Mr. Banks came in the mail and I couldn’t wait to watch it. It was amazing and I have been humming and singing the songs from the film ever since. When I cook or bake, I always listen to music; it’s kind of my thing. So I dug out my Mary Poppins album and put it on my record player and baked this white cake with cherry buttercream. It may or may not have been one of the best days I’ve had in a while.

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The recipe I used for the cake was from i am baker. She got the recipe from epicurious who got it from Cook’s Illustrated. Need I say more? Any recipe from Cook’s Illustrated is almost guaranteed a winner. She modified the recipe slightly, mainly in order to bake it in 8-inch round pans. I followed her instructions to the T, except for dividing the batter into three pans, for a three layer cake.

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For the buttercream, I used one of Martha’s recipes and adapted it slightly. At first I was going to cover the entire cake in cherry buttercream, but I decided against it. I knew the cake itself was going to be sweet and a cherry buttercream all over would have been over-kill. The solution? I divided my buttercream and just put the cherry buttercream in between the layers.

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I loved the idea of chocolate covered cherries in cake-version, so for the cherry on top (lame pun, sorry), I finished with a chocolate ganache. The cake was pretty amazing – the texture was perfect – the buttercream complemented it in the best way – and the ganache put it on another level. It was better than any white cake I’ve ever had before.

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White Cake with Cherry Buttercream

For the cake:

I used the recipe from i am baker.

Notes: I wanted a three layer cake so I split the batter into thirds. I baked the first two layers in 8inch pans, took them out of the pans and cooled on wire racks, then I poured the rest of the batter back into the pan and baked the last layer.

I used Plugra for the butter which has a low moisture content and allows the cakes to rise even higher.

For the buttercream:
(adapted slightly from Martha Stewart)

3 sticks of unsalted butter (again, I used Plugra – I like the taste of it better than regular butter and this did not disappoint)
1 pound of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
8 drops red food coloring, 4 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Mix the buttercream according to the directions on Martha’s site.

Once beaten, take 2/3 cup of buttercream and place in another bowl. Fold in the cherry juice until well mixed. For the rest of the buttercream, mix in the food coloring and whip until all combined.

Frost the cake by doing a crumb coat first. In between the layers, spread the cherry-flavored buttercream. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then frost your cake normally with the remaining tinted buttercream.

For the ganache:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Pinch of salt

In a saucepan bring the cream to almost a boil. In a heat-proof bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and add the salt. Wait 5-10 minutes then whisk until silky-smooth. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and with an offset spatula, gently spread and push the ganache over the side to create the “drip” effect.

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white cake

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