With a natural design esthetic that falls along the line of Egon Schiele and Edvard Munch, it’s challenging to content myself with royal icing roses and buttercream doll cakes. I realize, however, as an utter decorating novice, I’m obliged to acquire the basic skills first. I’ll discover my particular decorating style once I’ve mastered gum paste pigs and delicate string work. Today, I’m struggling to learn a technique called “brush embroidery,” although the final product reminds me of porcelain rather than embroidery. I’ve learned much on my initial flawed attempt.
With my first cakes, I’ve been practicing rolled fondant. While I appreciate the smooth finish fondant delivers, I’m not an admirer of the lackluster, tooth-achingly sweet flavor. When served a slice of fondant-covered cake, I typically peel off the fondant before eating the naked cake. As a counterbalance to fondant’s sweetness, I came up with this minimally sweet walnut cake and tart Morello cherry filling; no fondant peeling needed.
Walnut Cake with Cherry Filling
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs beaten, room temp
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Vanilla Buttercream
- 1 jar Morello cherries in light syrup (available at Trader Joe’s), drained and dried on paper towel.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9” round cake pans. Whisk together flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the oil, buttermilk, water, vanilla and beaten eggs until no lumps remain (don’t overmix). Stir in walnuts.
- Pour batter evenly into pans. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a few moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake. Cool in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn cakes onto racks and cool completely.
- Fill cake with buttercream and a layer of Morello cherries. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining buttercream. Cover in fondant, if desired.