Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cherries Galore Birthday Cake

This is about the prettiest in pink cake, you may seen made for a grown man!  But my man is all about the cherries: black cherry cola; cherry koolaide; chocolate covered cherries; even cherry flavoured cigarillos!  Every imaginable imitation cherry flavour is his favourite thing; so obviously cherry cake it had to be!  Chocolate cake, with cherry cream cheese frosting, covered in a chocolate ganache, and topped with chocolate covered cherries, to be exact;)

Luckily, the weather held out for his July birthday!  The rains had finally seized, and the sun cam out to shine, so it was the perfect weather for an outdoor BBQ feast with the whole family!  My mom made her famous "Nuts about Broccoli" salad, and I made a super dill-y potato salad, to go along with fresh Albertan corn on the cob, baked beans, and the most amazing ribs I have ever made.  I'm not even a rib fan, and I L.O.V.E.D. those ribs!  There's still allot of summer left, I'll have to make that recipe again so I can share it with you!  And my Mom's salad too, you'll need that recipe to go with the ribs!  Soon. Promise.  First I'll share this Cherries Galore cake. 

Trying to take pictures of the food in the middle of serving it was less than ideal...everyone standing around watching me...and waiting for me. Ugh.  So, sorry for the super rushed pictures, but that's real life, and you get the idea...this cake is obviously super duper deelish, and worth the wait!

Cherries Galore Birthday Cake
Recipe adapted from: Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Chocolate Cake
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup boiling water or hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350 Grease and flour 3 round 8 inch pans.  In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using a mixer, add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add the boiling water while continuing to beat, until also combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Remove from oven, and allow the cakes to cool for about 15 minutes, and then remove to finish cooling on wire racks. 

Cherry cream cheese frosting
1 brick (250g) cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1(ish) cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained - reserve juice.
6 cups powdered sugar

Using a medium sized bowl fixed with a mixer, or using a hand held, combine butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add chopped cherries, and 1 cup of powdered sugar, and continue to mix, alternate between the powdered sugar, and the reserved cherry juice until you get the right consistency, it will firm up in the fridge as well, if need be.

Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate
1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
1 Tablespoon honey

**If you're making chocolate covered cherries, dip them in the melted chocolate, and allow to set on parchment, before proceeding with the ganache process.**

Using a double boiler (I just use a stainless steel bowl, over a pot of boiling water), first melt the chocolate, then slowly add the cream, stirring after every addition, until glossy and smooth.  Remove from heat, add the honey, stir to combine, and refrigerate until thick, and slightly cooled, but still pourable.

Place bottom cake layer on plate, or whatever you're serving it on, and carefully spread a layer of the cherry cream cheese frosting.  Place second cake layer on top, and repeat frosting. Place on third cake layer, and carefully spread frosting over whole cake, this will act as crumb coat, so crumbs are okay!  Place cake in cool spot or fridge to firm up.  Use this time to make your ganache.
Remove cake from fridge and give a final crumb-free frost.  Return to fridge to firm up once more.
Pour the cooled ganache over the middle-top of the cake, spread it slightly so it will completely cover the top, but allowing it to fall over the edges, and create the decorative chocolate drips & pools.  Return to the fridge for the ganache to set.
**If your are adding the chocolate-covered cherries & whip cream, wait until the ganache is cooled, and add swirl of whip cream, and finally top with your chocolate-covered cherries**


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