Candied Cherry Cake with Cherry Buttercream

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Candy Cherry Cake with Cherry Buttercream RecipeI love cherry cake, and I’m talking about the kind you make from a mix.  That cake takes me back to my childhood and with a host of memories attached.  Straight from the box, unadulterated, and with vanilla frosting is the way I like it.  Oh, but wait, the frosting has to be spiked with maraschino cherry juice. It’s been years since I’ve had that cake, and I can’t quite tell you why it came to mind recently.  What I can tell you is that once it did, I knew I needed to satisfy the craving.  Does that ever happen to you?  I frequently have food cravings, and I can’t even blame it on being pregnant.  A food will come to mind and I can’t rest until I get it in my hands and into my mouth.  H remains constantly surprised by how much I premeditate my food consumption.  I plan ahead hours, if not days, what I am going to eat at the next meal, or even a dinner three days later.  I wonder if that’s weird.  Possibly, but I suspect I’m not the ONLY one.  Anyway, about the cherry cake.  I was all set to head to the market to pick up a box of cake mix when I had a thought.  Why not try to re-create my memorable cherry cake from scratch.  So that is exactly what I did.
Candy Cherry Cake with Cherry Buttercream RecipeIn some ways, the two cakes didn’t resemble each other at all.  I chose to frost my version with a decadent Swiss meringue buttercream.  Also, I used candied Italian (Amarena) cherries in place of those bright red maraschino cherries that have such a bad reputation.   (I’m not judging, and when one of those little guys shows up adorning my whiskey sour or gracing the top of my hot fudge sundae, in my mouth it goes.)  The cake from ‘back then’ had just two layers, but I couldn’t resist adding a third to make this cake extra special.
Candy Cherry Cake with Cherry Buttercream RecipeAll that said, in the most important way I hoped the two cakes would compare, they did.  That cherry flavor I was so craving boldly stood out.  The texture of my cake was also similar – light, moist, and delicate.
Candy Cherry Cake with Cherry Buttercream RecipeAdmittedly, this cake is more involved than opening a box and then stirring together butter and confectioners sugar for a frosting.  But what a spectacular celebration cake it is!  So worth the time and extra expense.  (Amarena cherries can be pricey.)  So, put on your apron, dice up some cherries, and make a cake worth talking about.
Candy Cherry Cake with Cherry Buttercream Recipe

*  Amarena cherries can be found in many markets, as well as at  I was lucky enough to find mine sold in bulk at a local specialty food store.
*  I used the tiniest bit of pink gel food color to tint the cake and frosting.


5 thoughts on “Candied Cherry Cake with Cherry Buttercream

  1. Oh Mary! What a radiant dessert for Valentine’s Day! I am also fond of the pairing of cherries and almonds and this seductive cake has me charmed! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. I love how food can evoke such fond memories for us. 🙂 I never actually tried cherry cake before, but your photos has me wishing I had. Your cake, cake layers, and frosting are gorgeous.

  3. Hi,

    I have a coworker who loves cherries and I wanted to get her a cherry dessert for her birthday, but despite cherries being all over the grocery stores, I couldn’t find a cherry dessert at the bakeries in LA (crazy!) In a moment of sheer insanity I decided to make one myself. I specifically wanted to use Amarena cherries as I love them. Traditional recipe sites were not helping and I saw an image of the perfect cherry cake- yours! It was scary to make a cake that didn’t have any reviews of how it really turns out or the slight tweaks you always get in reviews, but I went for it. The cake took me HOURS and it was very expensive; about $75 total for the ingredients which is largely cherry expense ($52). Well it was the cake of my life, it was beautiful just like the one on your site and it came out perfect! Everyone loved it. I almost feel like baking again. Well maybe :-). Thank you very much for the recipe.

    • Donna, please forgive my tardiness in responding to your lovely comment. I have been traveling quite a bit and away from my blog. I am thrilled that the cake turned out so well for you. It is one of my favorite recipes on Sifting Focus. Amarena cherries are crazy expensive but they are so worth their exorbitant price tag. I’m so glad the cake turned out well for you, and I hope your co-worker felt duly celebrated.