Off the bat, I’ll say this: It’s a “cheater cake”. Read: I added cherries to a box of Duncan Hines yellow cake mix.
We all have our Sandra Lee semi-homemade moments.
While I do love making cakes from scratch – namely, my baked cake donuts! – the simplicity of having a cake mix or two in the pantry when I have a craving is invaluable to me. I’m not the Food Police here: make your cake from scratch, buy a cake mix with 50 ingredients in it, buy an organic GF / DF cake mix, you do you! But being able to have a sweet summer treat mixed in baked in roughly 40 minutes is all I want sometimes. I don’t always want to measure things out, sift flour, and drive myself crazy in general.
Plus, when I’ve got to pit a bunch of cherries, I want to take some shortcuts elsewhere.
The buttercream, though? That I’ll make from scratch. I’ve used the same proportions for YEARS, which yields a simple batch of vanilla buttercream, roughly 2 & 1/2 cups or so: 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 sticks of butter, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. BOOM.
Take some shortcuts for a wonderful summer dessert! Cherry season doesn’t last for too long, and we’ve got to take advantage of it!
Cherry Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
(Makes two 9″ round cakes)
- 1 & 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and chopped; this amount was yielded from 1 pint of fresh cherries.
- 1 box yellow or white cake mix of choice
- Add eggs, water, oil, et al, in accordance to directions listed on the mix’s box.
- 2 sticks butter, unsalted and softened for at least 30 minutes prior to use.
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.) Preheat oven in accordance to the directions on the cake mix box, depending on the type of cake pans being used. Oil and flour cake pans; set a round of parchment paper at the bottom of each cake pan, if possible. (There is a great tutorial here!)
2.) Prepare cherries for cake mix by pitting and chopping; the chop should be fairly uniform, but it’s okay if there are a few larger pieces of cherries. Set aside.
3. ) Combine cake mix in accordance to the directions on the box. Fold in cherries until combined.
4.) Bake cakes in accordance to the directions on the box. (Should be 25 – 30 minutes.) Test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of one of the cakes; if it comes out clean, the cakes are baked. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from cake pans; continue to cool cakes on rack until room temperature.
5.) For the vanilla buttercream frosting, cream butter in a large bowl on medium-low speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Adding in 1/2 cup at a time, add sifted confectioners’ sugar to the butter and continue to blend. After adding in a total of 3 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, add in 1 tablespoon of milk and the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat and add in the remaining sugar. If the mix is a little dry, add in the additional 1 tablespoon of milk.
6.) Once cake has cooled, brush off any crumbs from top and sides, and cut down the top bottom layer if you have a “cake dome”. (See tutorial here.) apply an even layer of buttercream to the top of one cake, roughly 3/4 of a cup in total. Place the second cake securely on top, and use the remaining frosting for the top and sides, spreading evenly.
7.) Enjoy this cake!