This snack cake is unbelievably light and moist and fluffy. It doesn’t have much fat and has a lot of egg whites–almost like an angel food cake. The cherry flavor comes from a whole jar of maraschino cherries chopped finely in the blender.
This cake works best in a rectangular pan and is sweet enough that it doesn’t have to be frosted. If you do choose to frost it, choose a light frosting, either a glaze or a fluffy, light frosting. Our choice for this cake is a dab of whipped cream or maybe a little ice cream.
Cherry Dream Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 ten-ounce jar of maraschino cherries
1/2 cup or more of buttermilk
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
Prepare an 8 x 13-inch pan by greasing the pan and dusting it with flour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat the shortening at medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and salt in two additions, beating after each.
3. Add the egg whites in three or four additions, beating after each. Add the almond extract. Beat at medium speed for eight to ten minutes. The mixture should be very light and fluffy.
4. Place the cherries from the jar in a blender along with a tablespoon or so of juice. In the blender, finely chop the cherries. Add the buttermilk. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of the cherry-buttermilk mixture. Add more buttermilk to reach exactly 1 1/4 cups.
5. Add about one-fourth of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Mix until almost combined. Do not over-stir or you may reduce the entrained air in the creamed mixture.
6. Add about one-third of the liquid ingredients and optional red food coloring and stir them in. Repeat with the rest of the flour mixture and cherry mixture until all ingredients are combined.
7. Place in pan, smooth the top, and bake immediately for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean.
8. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. If you have lined the pan with parchment paper, after ten minutes lift the cake from the pan by grasping the edges of the parchment paper.
proper mixing techniques
Baker’s note: This cake is light and airy because there is so much air entrained into the shortening, sugar, and egg white mixture. Be sure that the mixture is very light and fluffy before proceeding. The baking soda, and alkaline substance, reacts chemically with the buttermilk, an acid, to create carbon dioxide and lift the batter even more.