Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

This cherry chip cake, smothered in a fluffy whipped vanilla buttercream, is a homemade version of a boxed cake mix favorite. It’s also the perfect birthday cake for yours truly!

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from completelydelicious.com

Growing up my mom let us choose what flavor of birthday cake we wanted. The bakery aisle at the grocery store had an endless selection of scrumptious looking cake mixes, and while many of my siblings chose the ever popular rainbow chip, I was always drawn to its less flashier shelf-mate, cherry chip.

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from completelydelicious.com

I probably haven’t had a slice of cherry chip cake in twenty years, and that first bite of this homemade version took me back. It’s like I was turning 10 again, and not 32.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of eating cherry chip cake, it is a white cake filled with (and tinted pink by) bits of candied or maraschino cherries. It’s tender and light, with a subtle cherry flavor. Covered in whipped buttercream, it is the stuff of this birthday girl’s dreams.

I have to give a quick shout out to the versions of cherry chip cake that Taste and Tell and Sweetapolita have on their blogs, as both were helpful to me as I developed my own.

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from completelydelicious.com
Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from completelydelicious.com

Alternating Wet and Dry Ingredients

In many cake recipes (including this one) there are instructions to alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar. Believe it or not, this is for a good reason.

Adding the liquid all at once will saturate the creamed butter mixture and cause the batter to separate. Adding all of the dry ingredients will cause the batter to be thick and likely result in over mixing, which will yield a tougher cake. Instead, add them in two or three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir ingredients after each addition, but only until just combined.

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from completelydelicious.com
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Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream
Serves: One 8-inch layer cake
A homemade version of a favorite cake box classic – light and fluffy cherry chip cake frosted with whipped vanilla buttercream.
Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 1 10 ounce (283 grams, about 30 cherries) jar maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (226 grams) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup (315 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • For the buttercream frosting:
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups (900 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
To make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Drain the maraschino cherries, reserving the juice. In a food processor or with a sharp knife, finely chop the cherries. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg whites one at a time, mixing after each. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine the buttermilk and maraschino cherry juice. Add the flour mixture to the mixer in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Mix after each addition and scrape down the bowl as necessary. Stir in the chopped maraschino cherries.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting and assemble the cake:
  1. Place the butter, sifted powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and almond extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (alternately you can use a hand-held mixer). Mix on low speed until moistened, then increase speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Cover with 1/2 cup of the buttercream frosting. Place second cake layer on top and cover tops and sides with remaining buttercream. Let firm up for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.
  3. Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.