Cherry Chocolate Cake

This is a cake I made for a friends baby shower,she is expecting a baby girl.It is a chocolate cake layered with Cherry Flavored buttercream icing.Steps 9 onwards are optional,they are just a serving suggestion.Since its a chocolate cake it pairs well with most fruit icings.I have explained how I made each of detail,Baking and decor is one thing that gets better with practice,so my only advice is to keep trying and follow the steps closely.
Preparation time:1 Hour for cake+2 hours for decoration
Serves:8-10 slices
Ingredients:
1/2 cup+2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 eggs room temperature, separate the whites and yolks in different bowls
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup finely ground almonds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 can of cherries
Procedure:
1.Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 2- 9 inch cake pans with oil or butter then line with parchment paper.
2.In a bowl sift the cocoa powder, flour and ground almonds,baking powder and baking soda two to three times and keep aside.

3.In a separate  bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar and brown sugar until it forms a thick mousse kind of consistency.

4.Now gently sift the flour into the egg yolk mixture, do not mix(read baking basics for learning how to fold).Gently add in the melted butter and continue folding until combined.

5.In a separate bowl beat the egg whites  with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on high speeds for about 4-5 minutes until soft peaks are formed.(when raised with a spoon the mixture forms a small peak that is not too pointy).

6.Take 3 tablespoons of egg white mixture and fold into the main cake mixture and loosen it. Then add the rest of the egg whites and fold in.

7.Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of pan comes out clean.

8.Let rest for 10 minutes and gently run your knife along the edges  before flipping them onto a wire rack, peeling off the parchment paper and letting them completely cool. You can serve this as is with whipped cream or proceed to buttercream recipe here.

9.Trim off the outer layer of the cake.

10.Place a spoon of buttercream on the center of a cake round and place one cake round on top with the smooth side facing up.

11.Drizzle some cherry syrup on top.Do not pour too much or your cake will be soggy,this step is only to keep the cake moist.

12.Place a big blob of buttercream icing on the cake and spread from the center out with a spatula.

13.Place some cherries on the cream.

14.Place the second layer on top and place another big blob of buttercream on top and spread from the center out. Make sure you add enough so that the cream will be hanging off the edges of the cake.

15.Now place your spatula upright and start smoothing out the buttercream on the sides of the cake until completely covered and smooth out.Usually this is done in 2 steps,ie crumb coat which is the first layer that seals the cake crumbs from the cream then it is refrigerated and then a second layer is put on top,I didn’t do the second layer due to shortage of time.

16.Place the buttercream in a piping bag and decorate your favorite patterns.

17.I made a Baby mold out of rice crispies and fondant and placed on top and a bassinet dome with rice crispies and covered with fondant to represent the baby shower.See how here

Tips:
Please read baking basics1 and baking basics2 before starting.
Steps 9 onwards are optional and you can also use any other icing of your choice.
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