Cherry Chip Cake – homemade maraschino cherry cake studded with chocolate chips, layered with chocolate ganache and finished with a whipped vanilla buttercream frosting. A new layer cake recipe by our contributor, Tessa Huff.
This cake is bright, playful and full of whimsy. I first had visions of this cake a whole year ago, but between holidays and seasonal favorites, it’s been difficult to fit it in. Now that Valentine’s Day has passed and we are waiting for spring/summer produce (hello berry season!), it is the perfect time to bring out a cake that is just pure fun!
Packed with maraschino cherries and decorated with an almost retro feel, this cake naturally comes with a sweet side of nostalgia. I imagine it being served at a diner with checkerboard floors and red vinyl booths or at a soda shoppe, where everything is topped with whipped cream and bright red cherries. The pale Tiffany blue frosting was begging to be paired with the pink interior. For whatever reason, blue is often synonymous with vanilla-flavored candies (when not representing the ambiguous “blue raspberry” ??), and in this cake, I think the color brings everything to life.
With syrupy cherries and whipped vanilla frosting, this cake is rather sweet yet delicious. The cake layers themselves are studded with mini chocolate chips, chopped cherries, and tinted light pink with a glug of cherry syrup and a splash of pink food coloring. They are lightened up with whipped egg whites, so be sure to use mini chips and to toss the cherries in a bit of flour to keep these goodies from sinking to the bottom of the cake pan. A thin layer of bittersweet chocolate ganache breaks up some of the sweetness as well as the real vanilla beans in the frosting.
Cherry Chip Cake
Cherry Chip Cake – maraschino cherry cake studded with chocolate chips, layered with chocolate ganache and finished with a whipped vanilla buttercream frosting.
- Yield: One 8" Round Cake
- Skill Level: ✽ ✽ ✽ ✽ ✽
For the Cherry Chip Cake:
- ¾ cup chopped maraschino cherries
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 whole eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup maraschino cherry syrup
- pink gel food coloring (optional)
- 4 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons flour, reserved
- ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Whipped Vanilla Frosting:
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 5 ½ to 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup milk or heavy cream
- turquoise gel food coloring, optional
- additional maraschino cherries
For the Cherry Chip Cake:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
- Chop the cherries and place on a few sheets of paper towel to drain and dry.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- With the mixer on medium-low, add in the vanilla and whole eggs – one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and cherry syrup and set aside.
- Working in alternating batches, add half of the dry ingredients to the butter/eggs and mix on low until combined. Stream in the cherry buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and a drop or two of pink food coloring (if using). Mix until combined. The batter should be fairly thick.
- In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites on high until medium-firm peaks. Meanwhile, toss the chopped cherries in the 2 tablespoons of reserved flour.
- Using a spatula, fold the cherries and chocolate chips into the batter. Add in about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and mix until combined and the batter lightens up slightly. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold until the batter is smooth.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the cake pans and bake for 24 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
For the Bittersweet Ganache:
- Place the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and set aside. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer.
- Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 30 to 60 seconds. Whisk until smooth. Allow to cool and thicken before using. You may cool the ganache in the refrigerator, but be sure to stir every so often to remain smooth.
For the Whipped Vanilla Frosting:
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium until smooth.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add in the remaining ingredients. Once the sugar begins to incorporate, turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes).
- Adjust the sugar and milk quantities until desired consistency is achieved. When done, the frosting should be nearly white.
For the Assembly:
- Once the cakes are completely cool (or chilled) and ganache has thickened, place one layer of cake onto a serving plate and top with a thin layer of ganache. Place about ¾ cup of frosting on top and smooth with an offset spatula. Top with the next layer of cake, ganache, frosting and final layer of cake. Crumb coat the cake with the frosting and chill for 15 minutes.
- Reserve some white frosting for the swags and rosettes, then tint the remaining frosting blue.*
- Frost and smooth cake with blue buttercream to your liking.
- Use a medium star tip, like a Wilton 1B, to pipe white swags around the sides of the cake. At the top of each swag, pipe a small rosette and plop on a cherry!
* This cake and decoration uses every last bit of frosting in this recipe. To make sure you don’t tint too much of it blue, first practice your swags and piping on the crumb coat. Gently scrape off the decorations and set aside (keep this frosting white!), before tinting the remaining frosting blue to use for the tops/sides of the cake.
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