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Old Fashioned Cherry Chip Cake – a delicious, from-scratch version of the popular box cake mix, this from-scratch version is full of flavor and memories!
Thank you, Betty Crocker
There’s no way to start a post about Cherry Chip Cake without thanking the “first lady of food,” Betty Crocker, for this cake flavor. I think it’s also interesting to note, Betty Crocker is actually a fictional character, made up by General Mills for marketing purposes. In fact, when the Betty Crocker brand was first introduced in the 30’s, there was a “Betty Crocker” in many of the US markets answering baking and cooking questions on local radio station (think, Dear Abby, but food specific).
Some of the first Betty Crocker box cake mix flavors were classics like yellow cake and chocolate cake. Cherry Chip came a little later and truly is most well-known as a box cake mix. Unfortunately, it’s not a flavor you can find very often on shelves and it’s not a super popular from-scratch recipe either.
Old Fashioned Cherry Chip Cake
To be honest, this wasn’t a flavor I had on my list until suggested to me by many of you over the last couple of years. As I’ve been working on my vintage cakes, the trend of diced fruit in cake layers was coming up a lot and I thought it was about time I tackle a Cherry Chip Cake because it fits so well with so many of these vintage cakes.
Cherry Chip Cake Layers
It took me a couple rounds of experimenting to get the flavor, texture and colors I was looking for.
To get the beautiful pink color and some cherry flavor in the cake layers, we’re adding the juice from the jar of maraschino cherries. However, I don’t think the juice alone provides enough cherry flavor (adding a ton more didn’t help either), so I’ve added a little cherry Jell-O (which amps up our color a bit, as well) and a good amount of chopped maraschino cherries. If you can’t find cherry Jell-O, don’t stress. You’ll see below where we add some other elements of cherry that help increase the flavor.
Similar to my Creamsicle Cake, I’ve made these layers to be extra thick (an extra .5x a normal batch of my cake recipe).
Before we move on to the fillings and buttercream, I wanted to give you a few tips about the cherries.
- Use a food processor or blender and pulse the cherries into small pieces.
- After you’ve chopped the cherries, spread them out over a paper towel and let them sit out for a few hours to dry up. If possible, chop the cherries and let them sit out overnight.
- Before adding the cherries to the cake batter, make sure to toss them in a little flour. This helps the cherries not sink to the bottom of the cake layers while baking.
Fillings and Buttercream
After my first round of cake layers and buttercream, I felt like the cake needed a little extra cherry flavor, so I tested it out with a small slather of cherry jam and fell in love.
I also polled Instagram about whether or not Cherry Chip Cake should have some chocolate in it. The majority vote was “YES!,” so I added just a drizzle of dark chocolate ganache between the layers, as well.
For the buttercream, I used my classic vanilla buttercream recipe as my base and added some more maraschino cherry juice for flavor. The juice alone won’t give you enough pink color, so I added Americolor Soft Pink food gel to most of my buttercream and reserved about a cup of buttercream for the red.
I hope you enjoy this Old Fashioned Cherry Chip Cake as much as I do! Follow me on Instagram @cakebycourtney for more tips and tricks on all things cake.
Cherry Chip Cake
Cherry chip cake layers, with cherry jam, chocolate ganache and cherry buttercream.
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 1/2 cups (339 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups (450 g) granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp cherry flavored Jell-O you can leave it out if you're unable to find this
- 7 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 tsp (4.2 g) vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups (508 g) cake flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp (15 g) baking powder
- 3/4 tsp (8 g) salt
- 3/4 cup (180 g) buttermilk at room temperature
- 3/4 cup maraschino cherry juice drained from the cherries
- 6 oz. chopped maraschino cherries about the amount of cherries in one regular jar of maraschino cherries. I pulsed mine in a food processor
FOR THE JAM
- 1/2 cup cherry preserves mine were store-bought
FOR THE GANACHE
- 1/2 cup (87.5 g) dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup (57 g) heavy whipping cream
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
- 6 cups (670 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1/4 cup (57 g) heavy whipping cream
- 10 tbsp maraschino cherry juice
- pink and red food coloring optional
- **This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ¼ to ½ batch.
FOR THE CAKE
- Using a food processor or blender, pulse the cherries into small pieces. Drain and let dry for a least an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch pans (or four 6-inch pans) with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and Jell-O on medium-high speed for about 3 to 5 minutes. You want the mixture to get lighter in color and texture. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the mixture has combined well.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg whites in three additions, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Once all of the egg whites are added, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and stir again.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk and cherry juice.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until combined.
- Toss the chopped cherries in a tablespoon of flour. Fold the cherries into the cake batter.
- Divide the batter between the three 8-inch pans, about 22 ounces of batter in each pan. Bake on the middle rack for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
- Let the cakes cool on write racks, in the pans, for about 15 minutes and then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. TIP: spray your write racks with nonstick spray.
FOR THE GANACHE
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream on high for about 30 to 40 seconds.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Stir the cream and the chocolate chips until smooth and silky. Let cool to room temperature before using.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy and pale in color.
- With the mixer on slow, gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, and the cherry juice.
- Once all of the ingredients are combined, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a couple minutes more.
- If you want to decorate the cake as pictured, remove about a cup of buttercream from the bowl and tint it red. The remaining buttercream can be tinted a stronger pink with pink food coloring, if desired.
- Before using the buttercream, make sure to beat it by hand with a wooden spoon or large spatula to help push out the air pockets.
- Spread a small dollop of frosting on your cake board. This will act like glue to hold your cake in place.
- Place your first cake layer, top side up, on your cake board. Pipe a rim of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
- Evenly spread about 3 tablespoons of cherry jam over the cake layer, followed by a drizzle of chocolate ganache. You don't need much of either. We want a hint of the cherry and chocolate but nothing that's overpowering the cake and buttercream.
- Place the next cake layer on top of the filling and repeat steps 2 and 3.
- Set your final cake layer, top side down, on your second layer of filling. Apply a thin layer of buttercream over your entire cake. This does not need to look pretty or be even. This coat of frosting is simply to lock in the crumbs. Freeze your cake for about 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- After the crumb coat is set, finish frosting your cake with the buttercream.