Ethan and I have our birthdays 6 days apart - isn't that fun? Also within the first two weeks of August is his mom's birthday, so the beginning of August involves a LOT of cake in our family! Growing up, his family's tradition was to get a bakery cake with BUTTERCREAM frosting (yummmm!), and my family's tradition was for the birthday person to pick their favorite homemade cake for my mom to make. So we go back and forth with his mom's birthday (bakery or homemade), but I always make his cake. I love baking, and I love him, so it's fun to pick out the perfect recipe to hopefully make his birthday extra-special :-) Last year, he got a six-layer chocolate and buttercream cake... another year, I made him a dirt cake :-)
This year, he helped out quite a bit - he pinned this cake to our shared dessert recipe pinboard. I had every intention of making it exactly as Robin at Bird on a Cake created it... but I ran into some issues. Namely... I couldn't find my round cake pans. And I forgot to buy sour cream.
I had recently bought some new 9x9 square pans, but I didn't want the cake to look too short and boring... it's a birthday cake, after all! So I decided it would have to have a third layer of something... something chocolate. And easy, because I wasn't going to make TWO from-scratch recipes that day ;-) I happened to have a brownie mix in the pantry. Sold! Now for the sour cream problem... cherry is a favorite of Ethan's, so we had some cherry Greek yogurt in the fridge. A little shy of two individual-serving containers of that was a perfect substitute!
To make my version of this cake, follow the recipe here, substituting [1C Cherry Greek yogurt] for [1C sour cream]. Bake it in two layers, in 9x9 inch square pans. While the cherry cakes are cooling, bake a 9x9 pan of brownies (if you have a scratch recipe you love, go for it! But boxes are lovely...). While those are cooling, make your ganache. Now... if you want it to be exactly like mine, use margarine instead of butter and make a 1.5x batch. If you want it to be better and more whippy, do it like Robin says ;-) I stacked the cake thusly: cherry cake, ganache, brownie, ganache, cherry cake. Then I slathered the top and sides with the ganache... try to work quickly, as (at least my slightly off version of) the ganache set up faster than I expected! I dipped my cherries using my Wilton Chocolate Pro after the cake had set for a while... maybe even the next day. If your ganache is already too firm to set the covered cherries into, use a little dab of the same chocolate you're using to dip the cherries as "glue". And good luck finding jarred cherries with stems! What's up with that? Anybody know where to get those? My cherries weren't as obviously chocolate-covered cherries as hers were, but they got their point across. ;-) This cake made massive slices of super-decadent cherry and chocolatey goodness! It got rave reviews, and I think I'll break it back out around Christmas if we get invited anywhere and need to bring a dessert. It's definitely not quick and easy, but it is so worth the effort. :-)