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 paper.
- 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 mixture.
- 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.