Monday, October 7, 2013

Cheerwine Cake - A Taste of Carolina

I've been wanting to make a Cheerwine Cake for a couple of years now. Ever since a friend gave me a cookbook so I'd make her the Dr. Pepper Cake featured in it, I've wanted to try to make a Cheerwine layer cake.

Cheerwine has been my favorite soft drink for as long as I can remember. It's a Carolina classic, and hard to find outside the region. There are Cheerwine cake recipes online, but all I found were more of a pound cake style, and I wanted a layer cake, with Cheerwine pink icing.

So this weekend I gave it a go. The resulting Cheerwine Chocolate Cake with Cheerwine Buttercream was great.

Here's the recipe...

Cheerwine Chocolate Cake (adapted from the Dr. Pepper Texas Chocolate Cake in Dinosaur Bar-B-Que cookbook)

2 cups sifted flour (soft wheat, like White Lilly or cake flour)
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
2 16 oz bottles of Cheerwine
.5 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
1.4 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Grease and line or flour two 9" cake pans.

Sift together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, and baking soda and set aside.

Heat one cup of the Cheerwine in a saucepan and add the chocolate chips. Heat on low stiring often until the chips are melted and set aside.

Combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla with a mixer on medium until combined (2 min). With the mixer still runner, slowly add the Cheerwine-chocolate mixture and continue beating another minute.

With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients gradually. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more. 

Pour the batter evenly between the two pans and bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pan for 10 min until turning out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

While the cake is baking and cooling, simmer the remaining bottle and a half of Cheerwine on low until it is reduced to about a half cup and set aside to cool.

Cheerwine Buttercream

1.5 cups of sweet butter at room temperature (3 sticks)
3.5 cups sifted powder sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 whole scraped vanilla bean
3/4 tbsp vanilla
1 16 oz bottle of Cheerwine

Simmer the bottle of Cheerwine on low until reduced to about 1/4 to 1/3 cup.

With a mixer, cream the butter for about a minute.
Add the powder sugar in thirds, alternating with some milk each time until the mixture is creamy.
Add the scraped vanilla bean and extract.
Add the Cheerwine syrup a little at a time, tasting until you get the flavor and color desired.

Assembling the Cake

When the cake layers are cooled, slice the domed tops off.
Place one layer on a cake plate, cut side down. Pierce the top of the layer liberally with a fork. Slowly drizzle half the Cheerwine syrup reserved for the cake evenly over the layer until absorbed. (Don't leave any syrup pooled on the plate around the edge of the cake.)
Ice the top of the bottom layer and place the top layer on, cut side up. Slowly drizzle the rest of the reserved Cheerwine syrup evenly over the layer until absorbed.
Finish icing the cake. Store in a cool place.