slivered almondsoptional - for the base of the cake
1/4tspalmond emulsionor extract
1tspvanilla bean pasteor extract
2 tbspmilk(or cream)
1/2cupchopped maraschino cherries
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl, whisk and set aside.
In another bowl, combine the sour cream, milk, oil, vanilla, almond and eggs. Mix well with a whisk and set aside.
Cut your room temperature butter into chunks. Turn your mixer on low and add in the butter little by little into your dry ingredients. Mix on low and then medium until the flour mixture is completely coated with the butter. The mixture will be crumbly and sort of resemble sand.
Pour in about half of the liquid mixture. Mix on low/medium until just combined.
Pour in the remaining liquid mixture and mix on low/medium until combined. Be careful not to over mix. You just want to mix until all the ingredients are combined...not for a couple of minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on medium for only about 10 - 15 seconds.
Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes.
Cool in pans on wire racks for about ten minutes, then turn the cake layers out of the pans to cool on the racks until completely cool.
For the buttercream:
In a bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium.
Add in the almond and vanilla extracts and beat again on medium until well combined.
Add in three cups of the confectioners sugar and one tablespoon of milk and beat again on low at first, then switching to medium until well mixed.
Add in the last three cups of confectioners sugar and one more tablespoon of milk. Beat well on low at first, then switch to medium and beat until well mixed.
Add in the chopped cherries and mix again until well incorporated.
Spread icing on cooled cake layers. Pipe icing dollops around the top of the cake and add a cherry to each dollop. Add slivered almonds around the base of the cake.
The cake layers or cupcakes can be frozen for up to a month.For cupcakes: Fill the cupcake liners just slightly over half full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.