Growing up, I thought cherries were gross. In my own defense, the only thing “cherry” I had ever tasted was cherry cough syrup, those red-dyed cherries in a jar, and the little pre-packaged cherry hand pies from the convenience store…Hawaii wasn’t the best nor most affordable place to purchase imported fruits! Why not use this delicious fruit in a white forest cake?
Fast forward several years later and I finally got around to tasting REAL cherries! Let me tell you, just like most things, fresh cherries taste nothing like those artificial flavors. Lately, we’ve been buying pounds and pounds of cherries just to snack on since they’re one of my son’s favorite fruits. Although the little pits on the inside are quite annoying, they at least slow him down when he’s eating them…otherwise, just like grapes in our house, they wouldn’t even last the afternoon! 🙂
Since our produce drawer was overflowing with this delicious fruit, I really wanted to include some in a dessert. The only question was what? A pie, ice cream, brownies, cake…the possibilities are endless!
I decided to make a variation of a black forest cake. Instead of chocolate cake, I would make vanilla cake layers filled with a white chocolate buttercream, sweet cherries, and covered in a dark chocolate ganache. YUM!
The vanilla cake is completely free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar too! I even made a refined sugar free swiss meringue buttercream (if you omit the white chocolate, of course!)
If you need a dairy-free buttercream, try this one!
This cake was so delicious and really just the best combo of both vanilla, chocolate, and cherries! If you make this, don’t forget to tag me and #wifemamafoodie on Instagram to show me your creations! I love seeing the things you all are whipping up in your kitchens!
- 2¾ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I use Bobs Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour or King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour)
- ¼ cup Coconut Flour
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cup almond milk or other milk of choice
- 1 cup honey or maple syrup (I used half of each)
- 1 cup melted coconut oil or butter (use refined if you don't like the coconut flavor)
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- white and/or dark chocolate bar or ½ cup chocolate chips, for chocolate shavings, optional
- mint leaves, for garnish, optional
- 2 cups fresh, pitted cherries, plus extra whole cherries for topping the cake
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons Arrowroot or cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1-2 teaspoons kirsch (clear cherry brandy), optional
- 3 egg whites
- ⅔ cup maple syrup/honey (I used half of each)
- 3 sticks (1½ cups) room temperature unsalted butter
- ½ cup melted white chocolate (omit for refined sugar free buttercream)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup thick, coconut cream (I used Trader Joe's Coconut Cream)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 8-inch or 2 6-inch cake pans and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly mix in milk, maple syrup/honey, coconut oil/butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix for 2-3 minutes, until smooth.
- Evenly divide the cake batter into each pan and place into the middle rack of the preheated oven.
- Bake for 18-25 minutes (depending on pan), or until center is set and toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
- Into a medium saucepan, stir together pitted cherries, maple syrup/honey, and kirsch, if using. Place on the stove over medium heat and bring to a boil. Mix together the starch and water and add to the cherry mixture. Continue to cook until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate until needed.
- Stir together egg whites and maple syrup/honey in a medium heat-safe bowl. Place over a pot of boiling water, stirring often until mixture reaches 150F degrees on a candy thermometer (about 5 minutes).
- Make sure your mixing bowl is clean and has no grease or butter residue, which can keep the egg whites from fluffing up. Pour the heated egg/syrup mixture into your mixing bowl and beat on high speed for 6-8 minutes, until fluffy and stiff peaks form (use a wire whisk attachment if you have one).
- Switch to your paddle attachment and begin adding butter slowly. Add in the melted white
- chocolate and continue to beat the buttercream until fluffy.
- If mixture gets too warm, place into the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to chill and then beat again.
- Place chocolate chips and coconut cream into a medium heat-safe bowl over a pot of boiling water. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Cool slightly before pouring it over the cake.
- Use a vegetable peeler and shave or peel the edge of a white or dark chocolate bar to make the small chocolate curls.
- For larger curls, melt chocolate in a heat-safe bowl over a pot of boiling water. Continue to stir chocolate until completely melted and smooth. Pour melted chocolate onto a marble cutting board, cookie sheet, or large plate. Spread the chocolate into a thin layer using an offset spatula. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
- Use the edge of a metal spatula to begin scraping the chocolate off the board. When it should begin curling on its own. If it breaks instead of curls, the chocolate may be too cold. Let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 minutes and try again.
- Top the finished cake with chocolate shavings.
- Slice cakes in half horizontally, if necessary. Place one cake onto a cake plate on top with a generous amount of buttercream and a spoonful of the cherry sauce. Repeat layering ingredients until you get to the final cake layer. Place the last layer on top and cover with the melted chocolate ganache, using an offset spatula to bring chocolate to the edge and drip over the sides of the cake. Top with lots of whole cherries (can use pitted cherries if you prefer), sprigs of fresh mint, and chocolate shavings.
- Vanilla cake recipe adapted from Yammie's Glutenfreedom)
Most chocolate contains dairy and sugar. Substitute with dairy-free or refined sugar free chocolate, if needed.