Cherry chip cake layers, with cherry jam, chocolate ganache and cherry buttercream.
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.
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.
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.