Updated Jan 12, 2017Chatelaine
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil or spray 3 8-in. round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment.
- Stir flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl until evenly mixed. Beat 1 cup butter in a large bowl, with an electric mixer, until creamy, 1 min. Gradually beat in granulated sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time. Don’t worry if mixture separates; it will come together when flour is added. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed and beat in one-third of flour mixture, then add half the buttermilk. Repeat additions, ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Stir in cherries. Divide batter evenly among pans, filling each no more than three-quarters full.
- Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean, 25 to 30 min. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 min. Run a knife around inside edges of pans, then turn cakes out onto rack. Remove parchment. Cool completely, about 30 min.
- Crumble half of marzipan into a food processor. Whirl until it forms fine crumbs. Add 1 1/2 cups butter and whirl until smooth. (Do not over-process or it will become runny.) Scrape into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining marzipan and butter. With an electric mixer on medium, beat in icing sugar, almond extract and milk until fluffy, 2 to 3 min. Beat in food colouring until desired shade is achieved.
- Assemble by setting 1 layer on cake stand. Lay short strips of parchment under edges of cake to protect the stand. Spread with 3/4 cup icing right to edge. Top with another cake layer and press down gently. Repeat icing and layering with remaining cake layer. Then spread a thin layer on top and around sides of cake, smoothing surface. Remove parchment strips. Refrigerate until icing is firm, about 30 min. Scoop remaining icing into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 2D drop flower or #6 or #7 star decorating tip. Pipe rosettes around cake. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Position piping tip where you want the centre of the first rose to be. Pipe the centre, then move the tip in a counter-clockwise spiral around the centre. Release pressure on piping bag, then pull the tip away. (See our how-to video).
Practice making a few rosettes on a piece of parchment first.