Fresh Cherry Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Cherries are my best friend and nemesis. Talk about being like Katy Perry. Get it? Haha.
They are my best friend when I’m just popping them in my mouth to eat and can spit out the pit.
They become my nemesis when I need to get the pit out with the cherry still somewhat intact.
I know I could buy a cherry pitter, but it seems kind of silly because it’s going to sit unused for 9+ months out of the year. And I really don’t need another appliance taking up space in our tiny house. Plus I already have a prop addiction so I guess my fingers are losing this battle because they are just going to have to pit the cherries themselves.
I usually just cut the cherry in half and then dig out the pit from one of those sides. Ryan has a more creative technique. He likes to cut the cherry 4 times, cutting around the pit in a square or rectangle.
I was browsing youtube for creative ways to pit a cherry and there are a ton of ideas! I wish I would have used some of those techniques when I made this cake. I guess I thought there wasn’t another way to pit a cherry unless I had a cherry pitter. Here are some I found:
A paper clip – undo the paper clip so you have an s-shape and use the larger end to cut a circle around the pit, entering where the stem is.
A bottle and a skewer/chopstick – Place the cherry on the neck of a skinny bottle. Use the skewer/chopstick to push the pit down into the bottle.
A piping tip – Push the piping tip into the cherry entering where the stem was. The cherry should go inside the piping tip, then pull it out and discard of the pit.
Do you have any other unique ways to pit a cherry? I am definitely going to try the bottle and skewer technique next time!
This cake can be broken down into 4 steps – bake, fill, frost and garnish.
We recently shared a tutorial on how to bake a cake and later this week we’ll be sharing a tutorial on how to make buttercream. Definitely utilize those resources to help you along the way!
After you bake the cake layers, which I HIGHLY recommend using a homemade bake even strip during the baking process, and after you whip up the buttercream, the next step is to fill the cake.
Take the first cake layer and place it on a cardboard cake circle that has been smeared with a little buttercream, this will help the cake stick to the circle and not move around. Add your desired amount of buttercream on top of the first layer. Add a handful of chopped cherries, spreading them around the cake, then carefully add a bit more buttercream, kind of helping to seal in the cherries. Adding more buttercream on top of the cherries will prevent cherry juice from leaking into the cake layers and dying the cake.
A quick tip – To ensure that you have the same amount of buttercream in-between each layer, measure the buttercream in a measuring cup! For example, put 1/4 cup of buttercream in-between each layer.
Onto the third step, frost the cake. Add an even coat of buttercream on the sides and top of the cake. Don’t be skimpy on the frosting here! After you frosted the cake, place it in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to chill.
Fourth step – garnish. Once the chocolate ganache is room temperature, use a spoon to drizzle the ganache around the edges of the cake, allowing it to naturally drizzle down the sides. Once the edges have ganache, now go back and fill in the middle, adding more ganache and using a spoon to spread it smooth. After the ganache has set for 10-15 minutes, add mini chocolate chips around the outside of the cake and place cherries in the middle of the cake.
Fresh Cherry Cake with Chocolate Ganache
White Cake (repeat this recipe for each layer - that way you can decide how many layers you want)
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- 5 ½ tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ large egg whites
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
Cherry Buttercream (this recipe makes enough frosting for a 3 layer cake)
- 2 sticks butter, 1 cup
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 7 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup cherry puree
- ¼ cup chopped cherries, to go in-between each layer
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ¼ cup heavy cream
To top the cake
- Mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Using butter, grease the bottom and sides of an 6 inch round cake pan or springform pan and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper. To ensure even baking, place a bake even strip around the pan. You can make your own homemade bake even strip by cutting a towel or shirt to fit the size of your pan. Get the fabric really wet, then squeeze out the dripping water but do not squeeze it too dry. Secure the fabric around the pan with a safety pin.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the egg whites, beat again.
- Add in the sour cream and vanilla extract, mix until smooth.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, gently mix with a spoon. Gradually add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, do not dump it in, rather take spoonfuls of the flour mixture and gently shake it over the wet ingredients, as if you were sifting in the flour. Fold in the mixture until no flour remains. Repeat with the other half of the flour, folding it in and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, using a spatula to evenly spread it out.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Once the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully remove the cake from the pan. If using a springform pan, remove the sides and bottom. Allow the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, remove the parchment paper round from the bottom of the cake. If you need to level the top of your cake, do so now using either a cake lever or knife. Make sure the cake is completely cooled, then wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. This cake is good for up to one week like this.
- Pit cherries to make cherry puree. Place the cherries in a blender and puree until smooth. Measure 1/2 cup of puree and set aside.
- In a mixing large bowl, combine the butter and vegetable shortening, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy, 2 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla extract and cherry puree, beat using electric mixer.
- Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 1-2 cups at a time, mixing by hand first, then with the electric mixer. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting tastes good and isn't too wet.
- Place chocolate chips in a medium heat-proof bowl.
- In a small pot over low heat, heat the heavy cream until just before boiling.
- Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to stand for 1-2 minutes.
- Use a spatula to stir the mixture until smooth.
- Allow the ganache to come to room temperature before adding it to the cake.
To assemble the cake
- Spread a small amount of buttercream on a 6 inch round cardboard cake circle. Place your first layer of cake on top of the cardboard. Put buttercream on top of the first layer and spread it as even as possible with an offset spatula. Decide how much or how little frosting you want in-between each layer.
- Evenly place chopped cherries on top of the buttercream.
- Spread more buttercream on top of the cherries. This will help seal the cherries into the buttercream and prevent the juice from seeping into the cake.
- Repeat this process for each layer of cake. Once all of the layers are stacked and frosted, it’s time to do a crumb coat. The crumb coat will help seal the crumbs in. Using your offset spatula, spread a thin layer of buttercream around the sides and the top of the cake. It’s easiest to start off with more frosting on the cake and remove some as needed.
- Place the entire cake in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden the crumb coat.
- Begin to add the second layer of frosting, starting with the top of the cake and working your way down to the sides. Try to get the buttercream as even as possible around the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for 20-30 more minutes.
- Once the ganache is room temperature, use a spoon to drizzle the ganache around the sides of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Fill in the middle of the cake with ganache and spread evenly with the back of the spoon. Allow the ganache to set for 10 minutes.
- Place mini chocolate chips around the outside of the cake.
- Add cherries to the center of the cake.
- Serve and enjoy.
Gosh, this cake looks incredible, Beth! I love fresh cherries and the combination with chocolate is perfection. You always make the most beautiful cakes!
Awww thank you Ashley! I must have cake on my brain :)
Absolutely gorgeous!! I don’t even know if I could eat it. I just want to put it on the table and look at it :)
YES! We can freeze it in time?!
This is one beautiful cake! Just wow!
Thank you Cathy!!
This cake is so gorgeous, Beth! Love the fresh cherries. I don’t have a cherry pitter either and usually use the chopstick method over the sink since the juice tends to splatter a bit. It would be totally worth it for a slice of this cake though :)
I’m going to have to give that method a try!
Beth, I know I say this about your cakes all the time, but this looks SO good. I’ve seen the bottle/chopstick trick before, but I have yet to try it. I can totally see how it would work though! Also, I would love to know how to tie a knot with the cherry stems inside my mouth. I don’t know why, but it seems like a cool party trick!
Hahaaa!! I am sure you can youtube that :)
I love the fresh cherries here and they pair amazingly with the chocolate :) This is such a centerpiece cake!
That is a great way to describe it Medha! Thank you!
OMG Beth! Every day you succeed in making me SO HUNGRY. This cake looks sinful!
Muahahaa!! I succeeded :)
Wow, those are some creative ways to pit cherries! I’m with you – love eating them but hate working with them! But it was totally worth it for this cake – SO GOOD! And so pretty. Just LOVE it!!
Sounds like we both need to give these cherry pitting techniques a try!
This cake is absolutely gorgeous!!!! I love the use of the old pans too…I have been looking for some at thrift stores with no luck yet!!!
I am a prop junkie for sure, I even have neighbors on the lookout for old bakeware!
Ugh pitting cherries is such a pain! On top of it taking forever it stains everything from the cutting board, to my hands, and usually my shirt gets hit with some juice too. However I absolutely love them and I love them even more all over this beautiful cake!
Yes! The cutting board! How did I forget it always stains!!
All I can say is I LOVE cherries for the same reason. And hate them for the same reasons! And I definitely bought a cherry pitter and have yet to use it..ha.
And do you ship cakes? Because my 30th birthday is at the end of September I can’t see a better dessert to celebrate with…just sayin ;)
Girl, for you and baby, I will ship this cake!
I have no idea where to even start. This cake is stunning. It is truly art. How in the world do you even cut it? Please tell me how you cut this cake. LOL. I don’t have a pitter either, I just use a chopstick, but not the bottle, that is new to me and I have to say, I am going to try it.
The only secret I have to cutting a cake is cleaning the knife in between each cut, that way you have super clean cut lines!
Okay, Beth, this cake is straight gorgeous! I absolutely love chocolate and cherries–this cake looks heavenly!
Hello, handsome Cake! You look absolutely gorgeous! And you’re right, Beth, about the cherry pitter. It’s better to have more space for another 10 cookie cutters, haha (just teasing):) Well done!
Hahaha, you read my mind completely :)
So pretty, Beth!
What a gorgeous cake! Love the flavor combination of chocolate and cherries too! So pretty!
I need to let you know this is my most requested cake – friends, family and FB. This was the best recipe I have tried in a long time. Kudos to you for an amazing recipe, great tutorial and great blog. Thanks for giving us updates. I can’t wait to try the new recipe for the chocolate cake, peanut butter buttercream with chocolate chard’s!
Laura, I think you made my night. Thank you!!
I know this is a stupid question, but how many layers of 6 inch cake did you use for this cherry cake that is pictured? Also, is the buttercream amount you list only enough to frost one 6 inch layer? I know the ingredients you list for the cake is for each layer of the cake, but didn’t know about the frosting? Thanks so much.
I used three 6 inch cakes. And the buttercream recipe will make enough to frost the entire cake!
This cake looks absolutely gorgeous .. I am a novice at cake baking but I feel with your helpful tips , I should be able to bake one next week. I will keep you posted on how I go :)
Share a picture if you can!!
I’m eager to bake this cake, but I have one question regarding the ingredients. You listed “1 & 1/2 egg whites” – do you mean 1 1/2 cups of egg whites? I have no clue how to divide an egg white-LOL!
Hi Anna! It’s 1 and 1/2 egg whites. Whisk 1 egg white and only use about half of it :)
Loved it! I’m throwing a party today and decided to make this cake. I’m in Brazil, so I need to make some substitutions. Instead of sour cream, I’ll use yogurt, and maraschino cherries . Let’s hope it’s as awesome as yours. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
I am planning to make this but I only have 9″ springform pans. Do you think I can get away with making a 2 layered cake using the same amount of ingredients listed in your recipe?
Yes I think so!
I’m picking up 18 lbs of fresh cherries tomorrow with my Bountiful Basket. I am totally making this cake for Father’s Day and trying out the piping tip pitting idea. My mom suggested soaking the cherries in a cherry liquor over night similar to a Schwartzwaldee Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake). I am so excited to make this elegant cake for the men in my life!
Oh, that sounds amazing!!
This looks amazing. One question – how many cherries do I need to make the cherry puree? Thanks! Rosie
Hi Rosie! You’ll need 1/2 cup cherry puree. I am not sure how many cherries that is exactly – start with 1/2 cup chopped cherries, puree them and see it that yields enough!
Ahhh, I just made this gorgeous cake! I love how impressive it looks, yet it really isn’t all that difficult at all. I used a swiss buttercream recipe to frost with, but otherwise followed as per your instructions. It looks like an absolute dream!
Thanks for reporting back Melissa!!! Can you send me a slice?! ;)
wow, I really like your recipe, I just have a question: why do you left egg yolk in this recipe? Can I add the whole egg? Thank you so much
Hi there! I left out the egg yolk so the cake would be white, not discolored yellow by the yolk.
Hi Beth.. This cake looks so gorgeous .. I’m going to try baking this tomorrow. However I plan on baking a 9 inch cake instead of 6 inch one. I’m an amateur baker and was wondering how much more flour, egg whites, sugar, sour cream , baking powder and butter would I need for a 9 inch cake . I’d really appreciate if you can help me out here .. Thanks a lot!!
Hi Vanessa! You could try doing 1 and 1/2 times the recipe to have enough batter to fill the 9 inch pan. Let me know how it goes!
Hi! I only have an 8 inch pan. Can I use the same amount of ingredients or how much more should I add? I plan on making two cakes. Thanks.
Hello there! I think this cake looks delicious and would love to try it for my husbands birthday! (He loves cherries!) I was just wondering if you’ve ever tried this flavor buttercream with a chocolate cake. We have egg allergies in our family and I’ve had a hard time making any white successfully. Thanks!
I think it would be awesome with a chocolate cake!
This was my daughter’s selection for her birthday cake today. The party is tomorrow. I bake all my kids birthday cakes. I gotta say this cake was tricky by that recipe. I got pretty irritated and had to go back to the store mid making and I did not still have enough for 3 layers. So I tried that cake recipe hoping for a 3 layer cake and I poured it into my first cake pan, an average and standard sized 9 in pan, and was shocked to realize it only made 1 layer?! So then I have to make another layer for the second pan and again I triple it and it only makes 1 layer. Even after the store run I didn’t have enough to triple the recipe again so the cake is only 2 layers. It also took double the recommended time to bake. After all that trial though so far it is tasting and looking pretty good. I don’t have it all put together just yet. Waiting on the cake to cool to frost. But how big that cake in the photo looks I find it hard to believe that that recipe made each layer. I also had to double the ganache recipe and I’m hoping that that is actually enough to cover the top. Fingers crossed the standard frosting recipe will cover the whole cake as I really don’t want to make more buttercream and don’t even know if I have enough powdered sugar to do a whole second batch. I’ll update with the final thoughts though tomorrow.
Hi Kaylene! I’m sorry there was a bit of confusion for you. The recipe clearly states that the recipe I provided makes ONE cake layer, that way you can decide if you want one, two, three, or eight! Also, our recipe calls for a 6 inch pan – you said you used a 9 inch pan?? That’s probably the reason why you didn’t have enough ganache. I’m sorry!
Hi not sure if my last comment was send properly so just in case,
It looks sooo delicious!!
But I was wondering if it’s possible to make this cake with sour cherries instead of fresh since I’ve just received a beautiful batch of those and fresh cheries are out of season here:(
Cant wait to try it!!
Hi Thassia! I’m not even sure what sour cherries are, so I am not sure!
They are french griottes its a more sour type of cherrie that’s been soaked in his own juice.
If you google griotte cherries you’l might see what I mean!
I’ll give it a try anyway!
Can you tell what kind of ‘fresh cherries” you used please? Black? red? baking? Are they sweet cherries? Thanks for the info.
Hi Diana! I’m not a cherry expert but they were a deep red color, perhaps bing cherries?
I have no idea why the cake recipe will only make one 6 inch cake ….. so I assumed that I should triple the recipe for a 3 layer cake… however the frosting is enough to frost a 3 layer cake so DO NOT TRIPLE THE FROSTING RECIPE….not the best laid plans..recipe is all over the place!
Hi Peggy! Sorry for the confusion, I’ll add a note about the frosting.
This cake looks amazing! I’m going to make it for my Birthday. One question, though. Are the decorative cherries on top pitted? Thanks!
Hi Kim! They aren’t pitted, just whole fresh cherries.
I would love to make this cake, it looks amazing! Can you let me know what a stick of butter weighs? We don’t have those in the UK. I can convert everything else from cups to grams. Thanks
I would like to verify a part of the recipe that doesn’t seem to make sense to me. When the final layer of buttercream is added to the cake it states to refrigerate for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Everything is fine up to this point. However, the very next step states right at the beginning, “Once the ganache is room temperature, use a spoon to drizzle the ganache around the sides of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.” Why refrigerate cake for 30 minutes only to take it out and have it come to room temperature again? I would think the buttercream would be more stable if chilled. Or, is the chilling only to set the buttercream? Does the ganache flow better on chilled or room temperature buttercream?
Hi Pamela! So you’ll want to refrigerate the cake once all the buttercream is on then cake – for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the ganache and make sure the ganache comes to room temperature. Then pull the cake out of the fridge and spoon the ganache on the cake. You want the cake to be chilled when adding the ganache.
P.S. When typing a quantity of an ingredient that is not a full amount it is not necessary to use the ampersand symbol. Many computers are programmed to reduce fractions into one space area. Most Word programs are. If not, Open “Insert” in Commands and then use “Symbol” link. Look through all of symbols and it will have almost all the standard and basics such as 1/2 and 1/4 and 3/4 and so on. If you need to combine a total amount, for example, one and a half cups and you do not have the auto set for your fractions it is displayed as follows: 1-1/2 or 3-3/4 or 2-1/2 and so on and so forth. I convert ALL recipes I save from the internet in my own Word system that over the years I’ve decided work best for me. Some recipes require a great bit of converting and some are almost exactly how I save them. I’ve learned the older version of word is better designed for recipes than the newest Word software. Any problems, do a quick search on google for any instructions.
I like to use “2 & 1/2 cups” because I think it’s easier to read then “2 1/2 cups”. I want to make sure the ingredients are as clear as possible so readers don’t just quickly glance and read the wrong number :)
Seeing the confusion on the recipe stated is per layer as the print version does not state per layer. It is only after reading website version that clears up the mystery.
Hi Nancy! It does say, right below the ingredients for the white cake “WHITE CAKE (REPEAT THIS RECIPE FOR EACH LAYER – THAT WAY YOU CAN DECIDE HOW MANY LAYERS YOU WANT)”
It looks amazing! We are hoping to make it tomorrow after getting fresh cherries. My mom uses a pencil with the eraser removed to put them. I use a pitter. Thanks for the great directions! ????
I’m trying to make this cake right now for a birthday party this afternoon. But the cake is not rising. I’ve got the second layer in the oven now but it still looks like it’s not going to rise! What do you think I’m doing wrong? I checked to make sure I didn’t miss any ingredients.
Do you have to use fresh cherries? Has anyone used maraschino cherries from a jar?
Maraschino cherries from the jar have a lot of excess liquid, so be sure to drain them REALLY well before adding them!
I only really have time to decorate it the day of so wondering if you think I can make the cake part the day before and store them in the fridge?
Yes, definitely! Wrap the cake rounds in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until frosting.
Hi this is gorgeous! I can’t make it or eat it as I’m gluten and lactose intolerant but I would love to paint it. May I? I’ll give you credit of course if I post my painting on social media of course. Thanks, Gwendolyn
Will be making this for my husband’s birthday! I had one question, do I have to use vegetable shortening for the buttercream? I mean, can I skip it?
Yep, you can totally skip it and just use butter in place of it.
Hello Beth! I really wanted to make This cake. I didn’t have 6 inch so I used two 8 inch. It came kind of flat not springy looking like yours. Can you tell me what I did wrong besides the wrong cake pan sized?
Hi Lauren! The recipe as written is for one 6 inch cake. Did you make the recipe as written and then split it into two 8 inch pans? Because that would result in a very very thin cake. Next time, I would triple the recipe then divide the batter among two 8 inch pans.