Evil can be cute too! This Cherry Black Sesame Cake is a fresh flavor combination for the spooky Halloween season.
Despite despising the cold weather, I enjoy Halloween.
While there are countless posts about candy corn and red velvet desserts, I wanted to be adventurous and mashup two unlikely flavors—cherry and black sesame.
At first cherry and black sesame seems like an unlikely couple. But the two seemingly compatible flavors balance each other out.
When I think of Maraschino cherries, I picture Sherry Temples drinks, fluffy 1950s cakes, and sweet ice cream parlor delights. The black sesame frosting is the cherry cake’s slick and mature wingman into 21st century flavor combinations. Over the years, there has been a globalizing acceptance of flavors. Black sesame is certainly one of them.
Though not as mainstream as matcha, black sesame is still making a debut. Used as fillings for breads and cakes Asian bakeries and a popular ice cream flavor, black sesame is a earthy flavor. Black sesame paste is formed by grinding black sesame seeds with honey to create a thick viscous corn syrup concoction.
With black sesame frosting, cherry cake can be apart of the Halloween scene! Just like Valentine’s Day Halloween desserts are commonly chocolate. And that can get boring all too quickly.
This Cherry Black Sesame Cake acts as a reprieve, a palate cleanser, between the tooth aching chocolate and candy. The cherry cake is delicate from the superfine sugar and cake flour. The reverse creaming method ensures a soft, not tough, texture.
The black sesame frosting is smooth and not too strong, but also gives the cake a dramatic appearance. I think cute can cross the lines into creepy. From time to time hyperbolic sweetness of pastel everything is painfully stilted. It’s nice to have this cake to quell and mellow down the fluffed up happiness.
So dress up spooky, get a little scared, and have a Happy Halloween!
- 3 ¼ cups cake flour, sifted plus more for coating cherries
- 2¼ cups superfine (quick dissolve) sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks, 12 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups buttermilk, room temperature and divided
- 7 large egg whites, room temperature
- pink food gel
- 15 maraschino cherries, chopped
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 7 to 8 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ⅓ cup black sesame paste
- black food gel
- Pink candy melt shards
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
- Sift together cake flour, superfine sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Fit mixer with a paddle attachment and beat the dry ingredients on the lowest speed. Still on the lowest speed, add cold butter, one piece at a time. Beat until all of butter is incorporated, it should look like crumbly sand in an even coarseness.
- In a medium sized bowl or spouted measuring cup, combine vanilla extract, maraschino cherry juice, and 1 cup of buttermilk. In another bowl whisk together egg whites and remaining ⅓ cup of buttermilk.
- Toss chopped cherries with a bit of flour, set aside.
- Add vanilla-milk mixture and raise the mixer's speed to medium for 4 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl. With mixer on a low speed, add the egg white-milk mixture and pink food gel. Beat on a medium speed for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Fold batter with a rubber spatula, ensuring that everything is incorporated and nothing is clinging to the sides of the bowl. Gently fold in the chopped cherries.
- Divide the batter evenly among the 3 cake pans and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating halfway. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist (not wet) crumbs. Let cakes cool in pans for 5 to 10 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed until smooth and lump free, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Add vanilla extract and salt.
- Gradually add powdered sugar. If the frosting starts to get too thick, begin adding the black sesame paste. Add the remaining powdered sugar and black sesame paste. Beat in the black food gel. Refrigerate until you're ready to assemble.
- If the cake layers have domes, use a serrated knife to level off the tops. Secure the first layer to the cake board with a bit of frosting. Apply a generous layer of Black Sesame Frosting, add the next layer and repeat. Top with the final third layer. Give the cake an initial crumb coating. Chill for 15 minutes. Apply a thicker, second layer of frosting. Chill for another 15 minutes. Use a large round tip to pipe the top border. Use your hand to press the sprinkles and pink candy melt shards onto the bottom of the cake.