Making Homemade Cherry Frosting and a Special Cherry Meringue Filling at the River House

Homemade Maraschino Cherry Frosting Recipe Bake This Cake

We’re SO on a cherry roll !! And now it’s frosting time! Delicate and bright homemade cherry frosting to be exact. Bring it on light and pink for our lovely vintage maraschino cherry cake. Just the palest pink — like a pretty pale-pink rose, whipped together with buttercream and our homemade maraschino cherry syrup FROM our luscious homemade cherries. Yes way!  We’re also boiling and whipping up a special cherry meringue filling for this cake that you COULD try with some slow food time on your hands. Otherwise, frost the top and bottom vintage style with the simple frosting recipe and you’re rockin in summer cherry flavor. Perfect for summer barbecue cake or a cute vintage party cake!

Pale Pink Rose Bake This Cake

This frosting screams country to me.  And that’s exactly where we were when we were watching the Merced River go by and baking up a cherry storm at the river house.

Rope Swing at the river house photo by Leslie Macchiarella

We’ll be double dipping here with the special meringue that takes a little extra spirit in the kitchen– but it’s useful when you want to kick the cake up a notch, if you know what I mean. To make something extra special.

Just like the amazing hand crafting of the lovely raffle quilt at this year’s annual town barbecue, this scratch cake frosting and filling is in the details…

Checking out the quilt Snelling Homecoming BBQ Bake This Cake

Bringing history alive!  One of my brothers found an old door at a salvage yard in Oakland that he thought would be perfect for his design of the family’s river house in the heart of California’s Central Valley. His theme was “gentleman’s farmhouse”. haha! And it’s kind of an ode to our great-grandparents who came to California in the mid 1850’s.

River House Panorama BakeThisCake

He found some large blue and bronze stained glass with an interesting pattern from the remnants of a church in Oakland that had been torn down (or burned down). Course, the stained glass was broken in parts — and didn’t quite fit the old door. So he called on an amazing “historic stained glass restoration artist” (who knew? right?) in Los Angeles. With a lot of tedious work on the door pieces and other tall windows pieces for the loft area, the glass was fully restored in the proper sizes and shapes. The rental truck ride from L.A. to the Valley was very bumpy and we were so worried the glass panels might not survive the bumpy ride–but they made it without a scratch! yoo hoo!

The stained work looks even prettier when the morning sunshine illuminates the blue glass. Because of the front door stained glass and the upper tall stained glass windows, we even get travelers stopping by, thinking the house might be a church.haha!

River House Stained Glass Door Bake This Cake

Lots of things in L.A. are light and bright and sometimes deco and sometimes retro and hip — but just about everything at the river house is dark and just plain old…and sometimes craftsman and sometimes rusty. But it’s good that way. It’s all about the history of the area and preserving lovely old things.

Egyptian Lamp River House photo by Leslie Macchiarella

Like the family bibles from both sets of our grandparents. They were so fragile (over 150 years old) that the spines were completely separated from the books with the bindings worn and many pages faded and torn. But they were lovingly (and I do believe, painstakingly) restored by a master book restorer and paper preservationist at the Huntington Library in San Marino where “paper preservationists” (I won’t say it) worked their incredible magic with their fine book binding craft.

River House Table with Restored Family Bibles Bake This Cake

Cherry Frosting Time!

This little frosting project starts with a smile and ends with a smile. I’m hoping it’s going to bring that and more to your friends and family when you serve it with pride.

Young Volunteer at Snelling Homecoming BBQ Bake This Cake

Young Volunteer at Snelling Homecoming BBQ

It also starts with our homemade maraschino cherry syrup

The syrup is so bright and perty! And the color is completely natural with no dyes, chemicals or food coloring.

And the flavor is actually cheery. Just take a quarter teaspoonful of the syrup and dribble it on the tip of your tongue, smack your lips a touch– and you’ll smile, guaranteed. Like, YES real cherries! And not that bad cough medicine cherry..but that way good cherry — like a handful of fresh chilled pitted dark sweet cherries. I swear it tastes like that. (I was kind of amazed myself.)

Jar of Homemade Maraschino Cherry Syrup Recipe Bake This CakeCherry Buttercream Frosting:

Quantity Alert! This recipe is for frosting and filling the cake, but if you just want to frost the top of the cake and fill it with the Cherry Meringue below, then be sure to divide this recipe in half.

Leftover Frosting Tip: Course, if you have leftover frosting, you could do what our Grandma Margaret used to do and frost a graham cracker square then press another graham cracker on top for Gram Sammies, as she called them (short for Grandma’s Graham Cracker Frosting Sandwich). Kind of like a s’more without the campfire and marshmallows. 🙂

Tools Needed for Cherry Buttercream Frosting:
Small bowl (for bringing butter to room temperature)
Large mixing bowl (for the frosting)
Electric Mixer
Measuring cups and spoons

Cherry Buttercream Frosting Ingredients (enough for filling and top layer, maybe more)
16 ounces (1 lb. or 1 box) Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup (1 cube) unsalted butter, cut into chunks at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, fine quality
2 Tablespoons Maraschino Cherry Syrup
2 Tablespoon light corn syrup (e.g. Karo brand)
Optional: A few drops of red or pink food coloring

Powdered Sugar Butter and Cherry Syrup for Cherry Frosting Bake This Cake Just throw everything all together in a bowl, start out slow and beat it all up on high-speed for a few minutes until light and fluffable.

Some folks like to sift the powdered sugar first (but I’m lazy on that score).

Our frosting has a very light pink look to it but you could add a few drops of fine red food coloring.

Homemade Maraschino Cherry Frosting Recipe Bake This Cake

The Maraschino Cherry Cake bottom layer has been sliced to even it flat, flipped over and brushed with a little cherry syrup and now it’s cool and ready to frost.

Maraschino Cake First Layer Frosted with Cherry Frosting Bake This Cake

We’re topping the frosted bottom layer with an uncut top layer (and leaving the lightly rounded hump on top for a vintage look.

Cherry Cake with frosting filling top bare Bake This Cake

We’ll drape the frosting over just the top, leaving the sides naked (for vintage sake)… 🙂

Homemade Cherry Cake on the wood bench by the river Bake This Cake

Now the cake’s ready to serve to your friends and family!

Maraschino Cherry Cake on a crocheted doily BakethisCake

Boiled Cherry Meringue Filling:

Here’s our extra-special cherry cake filling project when you have a bit more time on your hands (like never, right?). But you might enjoy carving out some time for this when you want to enhance your homemade cherry cake a tad with some light and fluffy filling that has tiny chopped bits of cherry added to it.

Tools Needed for Cherry Meringue Filling:
Small Pot
Large mixing bowl
Electric Mixer
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Candy Thermometer (that reaches to 240 degrees)

Egg Whites and Temperature Tip: I highly recommend using a thermometer for this filling for safety reasons and whenever there are eggs involved to get the temperature hot enough to basically cook the egg whites.

Types of cake baking thermometers Bake This Cake

Ingredients for Cherry Meringue Filling:
1/3 cup homemade maraschino cherry syrup (or use syrup drained from commercial cherries)
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup fine-chopped homemade maraschino cherries (or commercial cherries)
Optional: Red or Pink Fine Quality Food Coloring

Step 1:

In small saucepan, boil on medium heat without stirring until mixture reaches 240 degrees (between 5-10 minutes):
1/3 cup maraschino cherry syrup
1/2 cup sugar

Boiling Maraschino Cherry Syrup with Sugar for Cherry Cake Filling Bake This Cake

Although you can stir the syrup initially to incorporate the sugar into the syrup, some folks just let it sit and soak there. There is no need to stir the syrup while it heats up to super hot conditions (and most folks think if you do stir you’ll cause crystallization) so just set down your whisk on the side and keep an eye on it as we go…

Simmering  Cherry Syup with Sugar for Cherry Filling Bake This Cake 2. Second step is to work with the egg whites:

In the meantime, (while the syrup/water boils), in a medium bowl, beat on high until fluffy but not stiff (about a minute or so):
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

This photo shows the egg whites in process but they still need a little bit more beating to get fluffy (but not dry) with gentle peaks…

Whipping Egg Whites for Cherry Filling Bake This Cake

Remove the boiling molten-hot syrup from the stove when it reaches the temperature of 240 degrees.

I started using Grandma’s old thermometer to check the temperature — but it didn’t go high enough. haha!

Using thermometer for boiled cherry syrup frosting Bake This Cake

When the bubbling sugar syrup reaches 240 degrees, pour it directly from the little pot (or from a heat-proof pouring device) very slowly into the whipped egg whites while the beater is on low-speed.

Tip: Remember not to touch the hot sugar syrup. You don’t want to get burned!
Tip: Drizzle syrup to avoid sides of bowl and mixer parts (it might crystallize on those spots — but if it does, just ignore it, haha!).

Once all syrup has been slowly poured into the peaked egg whites, beat the mixture on high for about 5 minutes until stiff peaks form and the pink meringue turns lovely and  glossy and it comes to room temperature. You could beat it longer, say, 7 minutes, and then this could be called a 7-Minute Frosting. 🙂

Clean-up Tip: Boiling water should dissolve any hardened sugar for easier clean-up.

3. Final step, adding a little butter and chopped cherries:

When egg whites are cooled to room temperature by beating, then beat in to incorporate:
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fine-chopped homemade maraschino cherries (or commercial cherries)
Optional: A drop or 2 of Red or Pink Fine Quality Food Coloring

Tip: You must be sure the frosting cools down to room temperature or the hot mixture will melt the butter.

Double Tip: Add the butter just a tad at a time.

Triple Tip: Make sure your cherries are not soaking in syrup (use a paper towel to dry the and even squeeze syrup from them.

Quadruple Tip: If the frosting softens, keep beating, up to 15 minutes if you must to bring it back. These meringues can be a little tricky but they are so yummy.

Fine Chopped Maraschino Cherries for Cherry Cake Filling Meringue Bake This Cake

Now you’ve got yourself an interesting and delish cherry filling that you can slather between the layers of this fine homemade cherry cake. This filling is somewhat lighter than the buttercream frosting with tiny chunks of the dark sweet cherries peeking through. I think you’re going to like it. 😀

You can see it peeking out between the cake layers in this screen porch photo…

Maraschino Cherry Cake Slice w Cherry Meringue Filling and Cherry Buttercream Frosting by the river BakeThisCake

We tried to test this cake to see how long it is best stored…but we couldn’t keep it around long enough. haha!

Last bite of homemade cherry cake Bake This Cake

Thank you for joining us for this cherry frosting adventure!  If you whip up this frosting and filling, I hope you’ll post a photo of it on our Facebook page. 😀

Now it’s time for a lovely little canoe ride up the river to search for the baby eagle nest…

Kids Canoeing on the Merced River photo by Leslie Macchiarella

Now on to homemade cherry ice cream and maraschino cherry cocktails! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!


Leslie Macchiarella photo by Julie Macchiarella

Indian Maiden Painting photo by Leslie Macchiarella

Indian Maiden Painting

Michelangelo EJ and friends at the river house summer photo by Leslie Macchiarella

River House Kids

Diana at the river house table photo by Leslie Macchiarella

Diana at the river house table

Uncle Bill's Baked Egg and Sausage Dish for a River House Breakfast Crowd Bake This Cake

Uncle Bill’s Baked Egg and Sausage Breakfast for a River House Crowd

4 thoughts on “Making Homemade Cherry Frosting and a Special Cherry Meringue Filling at the River House

  1. Hi, following the cherry cake recipe I tried my hand at the boiled sytup/merenge recipe and everything was going really well until I added the butter and chopped cherries. The mix was nice and lovely, fluffy, and quite tasty, but as soon as the chopped cherries and butter pat hit the mix, the whole thing deflated like a holed tire. It was quite sad really…I did notice and heed your warning about making sure everything was at room temp before mixing to prevent temperatures clashing, but still…very sad to watch it fall from a bowl of fluffy pink confection to runny soup. I don’t know if it was the butter or maybe too much water in the chopped cherries that killed it.
    Anyway, not to be dissuaded, I’ll tried again, and skipped that step adding the butter and cherries and all went great. Instead, I layered some chopped cherries on top of the cake before applying the meringue. Seems to have gone much better.

    Regardless, I thank you for the the great tri-fecta of recipes. It’s just the thing for a great bounty of fresh summer cherries!

    Ithaca, NY

    • Hi AJM, Thank you for your comments. So glad you enjoyed the cherries recipes but so sorry to hear of your meringue issue. If this comes up again in your frosting adventures, don’t give up. Likely temperature changes caused the meringue to go runny. Keep beating (up to 15 minutes if needed) and it should come back to life. I will add a note to the recipe about this with a caution also about draining away extra syrup from the cherries.

  2. I wanted to make the boiled/meringue frosting, the ingredient list says “1/3c cherry syrup, and 1/2 c. sugar,” but the first step changes the amounts to “2/3c sugar and 1/2c cherry syrup”. Which amounts are correct?

    • Hey Kerri, Thank you! I’ve corrected the recipe for the cherry meringue frosting thanks to your keen eye! Its 1/3 cup homemade maraschino cherry syrup (or use syrup drained from commercial cherries) with 1/2 cup sugar, etc. Happy baking. Send me photos if you can when you try it and thanks so much for your comment! 😀

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