When it comes to making birthday cakes for the kids, I go for taste over style every time, for the simple reason that I can’t make fancy cakes for toffee. I admire them from afar, as my special cakes-I-won’t-ever-make Pinterest board can attest but there will never be delicate fairies and toadstools, Hello Kitty faces or elaborate Peppa Pig scenes coming out of my kitchen. That’s not to say my cakes can’t look good but they sure won’t win awards any time soon for their decorations.
I don’t mind this by the way, as I’d rather people remembered how good a cake tasted rather than how pretty it looked. This said, I still wanted Little Girl’s cake to have some sort of impact so I went looking for something pink and blue. I found just what I was looking for on the Sprinkle Bakes website (they have much prettier pictures too) but when I looked at the recipe, I had all sorts of issues, such as where to find Maraschino cherries this side of the Atlantic, how to work out the american cups business (simple on the one hand but nothing weighs the same so trying to translate it into grams and millilitres is a complete pain) and, well, no way was I going to make a Swiss meringue frosting, and not just because I don’t have a stand mixer.
In the end, I changed the recipe so much that to fit around the ingredients I had available that it probably tastes nothing like the Sprinkle Bakes version so for ease of reference, here it is below.
Pink Cherry Cake
113 g unsalted butter
250 g cups granulated sugar
256 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
60 ml whole milk
275 g jar of cherries, finely chopped – I used the jar of Morello cherries from Lidl ((I also decided to add a handful of chopped glacé Morello cherries but this is by no means necessary)
125 ml cherry juice (I used the juice the cherries came with)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour for sprinkling over diced cherries
4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
Food coloring – I used Dr Oetker Food Colour Gel in Hot Pink but only had half left (5 g) so it is not as pink as I would have liked.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C. Grease two 15 cm cake tins and line with baking paper.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until creamy.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Combine the milk, cherry juice and vanilla extract, and add alternately to the butter and sugar with the flour mixture.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over the diced cherries and stir until the flour has been completely absorbed.
- Stir the cherries into the batter. Stir in food coloring if desired
- Fold the stiffly beaten egg whites into the batter. Pour into the cake tins and bake for 50-60 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Icing
As I said, I really wasn’t going to faff about with swiss meringue, so I decided to make a simple cream cheese icing.
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 x 250 g tubs cream cheese or mascarpone
350 g icing sugar
Food colouring optional (It took quite a lot of colouring to get the deep colour – I used a whole tub of Dr.Oetker Food Colour Gel Sky Blue 10g, and also added a couple of drops of green liquid colouring)
1. Very briefly beat the vanilla and cream cheese or mascarpone with an electric whisk until smooth.
2. Sift in the icing sugar and gently fold in with a spatula. Be careful – the more you work it, the runnier it will get, increasing the chance of splitting.
Note: The white decorations are simple whipped cream with a bit of icing sugar mixed in, and I used neon pink sugar crystals on top.