Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Cake with Rosemary Vanilla Bean Buttercream
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Yield: 1 2-layer (9-inch) round cake, about 12 servings
Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Cake with Rosemary Vanilla Bean Buttercream makes a lovely winter cake that’s fit for a simple wedding, or simply dessert for a family supper.
Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Cake:
  • ¾ cup (90 g) dried cherries, soaked in ¾ cup (180 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes and 3 tablespoons of the liquid reserved
  • 4 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup (175 g) coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or the scrapings from 1 vanilla bean pod)
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 cup (115 g) almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ + ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (60 g) toasted sliced almonds
Rosemary-Vanilla Bean Italian Meringue Buttercream:
  • 2 large egg whites (about 60 to 65 g), at room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 large sprig rosemary, crushed lightly with your hands
  • ½ lb/225 g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • Clarified butter or coconut oil, to grease the cake pans
  • Almond flour, to dust the cake pans
  • A sprig of rosemary, for garnish (optional)
  • A few dried cherries, for garnish (optional)
  1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350F. Butter 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, add a sprinkling of almond flour, rotate the pans around to coat the inside, and tap out any excess.
  2. Use a handheld electric mixer to beat the 4 egg whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks; set aside for now.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the 6 egg yolks, sugar, vanilla bean paste, almond extract, and 3 tablespoons of the liquid reserved from soaking the cherries for about 3 minutes, or until it’s pale-colored and falls off the beaters in thick ribbons.
  4. Add the almond flour, baking powder, and salt to the egg yolk mixture all at once, and stir to combine.
  5. Add ¼ of the egg whites and stir to fully incorporate them, and then stir in the sliced almonds and soaked, drained cherries. Fold in the remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula ¼ at a time (fold only in 1 direction and be careful not to over-mix; seeing some streaks of egg whites in the batter is better than over-mixing).
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake them both on the middle rack of the oven until they’re golden, feel springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the buttercream, put the egg whites into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and have them ready to go. Get the salt and cream of tartar out and have them nearby.
  8. Heat the sugar, water, and rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat. Don’t stir, but you can swirl the pan around to help the sugar dissolve if you like.
  9. Once the sugar syrup reaches 230F, start beating the eggs. When the eggs are foamy, add the salt and cream of tartar, and continue beating until they form stiff peaks.
  10. Meanwhile, continue cooking the sugar syrup. The temperature of the sugar syrup should reach 240F around the same time that the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks. At this point, add the sugar syrup to the egg whites in a steady stream with the mixer on high, and continue beating on high until the mixture is cool (touch the bottom of the bowl to check), about 5 to 7 minutes.
  11. Beat in the butter about 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated, and then beat in the vanilla bean paste and almond extract. If the mixture looks curdled, keep beating until smooth.
  12. Layer the cake and frost it with the buttercream. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a few dried cherries if desired.
  13. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days; let the cake come to room temperature before serving because the buttercream will stiffen in the fridge.
To Make This a 4-Layer Cake: You will need to make 2 of the cake recipes. I recommend making 1 batch of 2 layers, cooking them, and then making another batch so you end up with 4 layers. If you don’t want such a thick layer of frosting (more like the "naked" cakes that are so popular right now), then this will be enough buttercream for a 4-layer cake; however, if you want the amount of frosting that’s pictured, you will also need to make a double batch of frosting for a 4-layer cake.
Recipe by An Edible Mosaic™ at