Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When I’m home alone, I bake. It takes up a lot of time, there’s no one to steal the frosting (cough, dad, cough), and I can try out new recipes without anyone judging me should they flop.

This cake? It didn’t flop.

I saw this cake on Pinterest and thought, hey, I think I could make something like that. I looked at the recipe and thought it looked disgusting, due to the marscapone, which I hate, so I made up my own. The cake recipe is adapted from an old family recipe and Martha Stewart, the cherry compote is something I threw together using what was in the fridge (super delicious and super ripe cherries from our town’s French Market and almond extract, naturally, because it makes everything better), and the white chocolate buttercream was half my favorite buttercream recipe and half a stroke of genius from Southern Living.

It’s delicious. You’re going to need to beat people away with a stick if you want to ensure that you get a piece. And the cherries? They’re at the peak of their season. Seriously. Make this cake. And then tell me what you think.

Grandma’s Pound Cake with Cherry Compote
& White Chocolate Buttercream

For the Cake
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 bar (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp salt

For the Compote
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup cherries (I used Rainier), pitted & stemmed
1/3 lemon
splash almond extract

For the Frosting
1 bar white chocolate, broken
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter
1 package (2 lb) powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch salt

For the Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, beat 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Reduce speed, add flour & salt, beating until combined.
2. Spray two 8” cake pans; pour in batter until nearly full. IMPORTANT: tap pans on counter until air bubbles pop.
3. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, 60-75 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan; turn out cakes & cool completely on wire rack.

For the Compote
In a saucepan, combine sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Add cherries and cook five minutes. Transfer to a bowl, squeeze the lemon over the cherries, add a splash of almond extract, stir to coat. Refrigerate until cooled completely.

For the Frosting
1. Microwave chocolate and 1/3 cup cream 1-1/2 minutes until smooth, stirring every 20 seconds (do not overheat!) Let cool to room temperature.
2. Beat butter with paddle attachment until creamy; gradually add splashes of cream and powdered sugar alternately, beating at a low speed until blended (use about 10 additions). Beat in salt and chocolate mixture until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

To Assemble
Level one cake, turn over on cake stand cut side down. Generously heap about 1 cup frosting on cake, use offset spatula to spread until 1/2 inch from edges. Generously spoon compote over frosting. Gently press down second cake layer, domed side up. Add another generous cup of frosting, swirl to edges (careful not to press too hard!) Garnish with whole cherries.

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