For the cake layers:
Yield: three 8-inch round cake layers
3-1/3 cups (370 grams) sifted cake flour
1-1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (7 grams) salt
1-3/4 cups (415 ml) whole milk, at room temperature
6 egg whites, at room temperature
3 tablespoons (45 ml) cherry juice/syrup (from the jar of cherries)
1/4 teaspoon (1.75 ml) almond extract
1-2 drops cherry flavour, *optional (I used LorAnn Oil Cherry)
2-1/4 cups (450 grams) vanilla sugar (or regular sugar, if you don't have vanilla sugar)
1-1/2 sticks (173 grams)(12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (178 ml) finely chopped maraschino cherries
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and center the oven rack. Grease, line with parchment and flour three round 8-inch pans. I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease. Put two of the pans on a baking sheet (you will bake two layers then the third layer afterwards).
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together the milk, eggs, cherry juice/syrup, almond extract and cherry flavor oil (if using) in a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup.
3. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment (I used the whisk), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 5 minutes.
4. With the mixer still on medium speed, alternate additions of the flour mixture and milk-egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (3 dry additions, 2 wet), beating after each addition until incorporated. Continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in finely chopped cherries.
5. Divide batter evenly among 3 cake pans, smoothing the surface with a small offset spatula or rubber spatula. Use a digital kitchen scale for accuracy (mine were 560 grams per pan + one 60 gram cupcake tester), if possible. Bake until a skewer comes out with a few crumbs only, about 30 minutes. Cakes should be well-risen and springy to the touch.
6. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the edges by running a knife around the sides. Gently turn out the cakes, peel of parchment paper bottom, then cool right side up. Bake the third cake and repeat.
Sweetapolita's Notes on the Cherry Cake Layers
Whipped Vanilla-Cherry Filling
Yield: Enough to fill a three-layer 8-inch round cake
2 sticks (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoons (30 ml) milk
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice/syrup (from the jar of cherries)
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract)
a pinch of salt
a handful of finely chopped maraschino cherries
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 5 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except the cherries, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Filling will be very light, creamy, and fluffy. Fold in cherries.
Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency).
Nanny's Old-Fashioned Frosting
3 egg whites
1 cup (200 grams) of vanilla sugar (you can substitute regular sugar)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
1. Place all ingredients except the vanilla (if using) into a large heatproof bowl that fits snugly atop a medium saucepan of simmering water on the stove (about one inch of water). Place the bowl tightly on top of the saucepan and beat the ingredients with an hand mixer until thick and glossy, about 5-7 minutes. Be sure that the bottom of your bowl does not touch the water.
2. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, wipe the bottom of the bowl dry, and place on the counter. Continue to beat until the frosting is cool (or at least just slightly warm) and beat in the vanilla extract, if using.
Best used right away.
Sweetapolita's Notes on the Old-Fashioned Frosting
Assembly of the Cherry-Vanilla Delight Cake
1. Trim any doming or top crust from cake layers using a very sharp serrated knife (I use theMac Bread Knife for all of my cake trimming, splitting, etc.).
2. Use a cake turntable, if possible, for filling, frosting and decorating. Place a small dollop of frosting in the center of a cake plate or 8″ round thin foil-covered cake board, and place the bottom cake layer on top, top side up (face up).
3. Place ~1 cup of Whipped Vanilla-Cherry Filling on top of the cake layer, and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife. Gently place 2nd cake layer, face up, on top. Repeat, then place your third layer face down.
4. Put a generous scoop of Nanny's Old-Fashioned Frosting on top, spreading evenly from the top down to the sides until you have smothered the entire cake in the frosting. Use the back of a spoon or small offset palette knife to create the swirly texture. If you are creating the ombre effect, tint one third of your frosting with the gel colour of your choice and apply to the lower third of your cake, taking care to not over blend. You can see more about this technique here.
Good luck & enjoy!