Today has been a bit traumatic for me.
I cleaned out the sippy-cup drawer. I threw them all away. My nearly-four-year-old has stopped using them, so into the trash they went.
I’m pretty sure that was the last of the baby stuff. Diapers are long gone, no more rails on her big-girl bed, no bibs, high-chairs or footed pajamas. She’s officially not a baby anymore, and it sucks. This spring we’re planning a big garage sale to clean out the basement, and after that there will be no signs of baby left in the house. It’s kind of sad. Not that I’m not excited about watching her grow up, and not that I don’t cherish each new stage of her life, but I gotta say, I was really hanging on to the baby-stuff this time.
It doesn’t help that she’s been incessantly parroting her seven-year-old sister. “Seriously, Mom?” is her catch phrase of the week. Last week everything was “So, so awesome,” and all she wants to do lately is play dress-up out of her sister’s closet. Doesn’t this kid know she’s my baby? Why does she want to be a big kid so badly? I’m a mess.
I definitely needed something to cheer me up. So, as usual, kitchen therapy to the rescue!
I’ve been rolling this cake around in my head for a few months now. The white-almond-sour-cream (WASC) cake seemed like the perfect base for a cherry cake because all of my favorite cherry pie recipes use almond flavoring in the filling. This cake is awesome too, because it starts with a boxed cake mix which cuts out a lot of the work! It’s so tender, has a heavy crumb and the almond flavor is to die for. Lots of bakers use a form of this recipe for wedding cakes because it’s delicious and sturdy enough to stack and layer – and now that I’ve made it a few times I’m a total believer.
Oh, and PS – chopped maraschino cherries and cherry syrup in the batter take it to another level. It has just a slight cherry flavor and a beautiful pink color. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, if you ask me…
I would definitely be remiss if I didn’t spend some time talking about this frosting. The original title of the frosting is “The Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had.”
I can see that. It’s pretty darn tasty.
It’s also a totally strange recipe. It starts with a thickened milk and flour base, which is added to white sugar and softened butter. Beat it until it fluffs up like whipped cream, and voila – amazeballs.
Best frosting I’ve ever had? Probably not. But it’s definitely right up there, and definitely worth trying it out.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m actually not sure what holds the title for the best frosting I’ve ever had. My Grandma’s seven-minute frosting was legendary, and I’m a sucker for a good cream cheese frosting… never mind, it’s too hard. I threw 15 sippy cups in the trash today, don’t make me choose my favorite frosting, too.
Hope you love this one! And definitely scroll down and leave me a comment so I know you were here. Do you have a favorite frosting? Have you ever had a cherry cake? I’d love to hear fro you, plus I ♥ comments, and it would totally cheer me up. 😉
- 1 box white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines White)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 pinches salt
- ¾ cup maraschino cherries, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons cherry syrup (from maraschino cherries)
- 2 cups prepared frosting (see below for recipe)
- ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries
- 10 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup half and half or heavy cream (may substitute milk instead)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter slightly softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).
- Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray and parchment rounds
- Chop cherries, and set aside.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), combine cake mix, flour and sugar. Whisk to combine.
- Add wet ingredients: eggs, sour cream, water, almond extract, and cherry syrup.
- Beat on low speed for 30 seconds to combine, then on medium speed for 90 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
- Add chopped cherries, and stir until just combined.
- Evenly divide batter between three cake pans (I use a kitchen scale to be precise).
- Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.
- Meanwhile, prepare frosting,
- In a medium sized, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine milk and cream/half and half and flour - whisk together until combined.
- Heat milk and flour over medium low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. This will take between 5 and 10 minutes - do not stop stirring and take care not to scorch the flour. The mixture should resemble cake batter thickness.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Do not try to add warm flour to the frosting, it will not work!
- While the flour mixture is cooling, cream together butter and white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until completely combined, and pale and fluffy.
- Once the flour mixture is cooled, add the vanilla and whisk to combine.
- Then, pour the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
- Beat at medium speed until the frosting takes on a whipped-cream consistency, about 5 minutes.
- Remove about 2 cups of frosting from the bowl, and stir in chopped cherries. This will be your cake filling.
- Place bottom layer on an 8-inch cake board (or on your serving platter, if desired.) Place cake board on a folded, damp paper towel, then on a rotating cake plate to prevent sliding.
- Using an offset spatula, spread half of the cherry frosting on to the bottom layer, and spread to edges in an even thickness.
- Place the middle cake layer on top of the frosting and center it.
- Spread the other half of the cherry frosting on top of this layer. Again, spread to edges in an even layer.
- Place the top cake layer on top, and center it.
- Spread ⅔ of the plain frosting on the top layer of the cake.
- Using a large offset spatula, slowly spread the frosting out to the edges of the cake, working it down the sides of the cake, creating a thick crumb coat.
- Once cake is completely covered, set it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set slightly.
- Remove from refrigerator, then spread the remaining ⅓ of frosting over the cake to completely cover any bare spots. If you like, you can save some frosting for decorations using a pastry bag.
- Dip offset spatula in warm water, then go over the cake to smooth it out and finish as desired.
- Garnish and decorate as desired.