Strain the full jar of maraschino cherries and reserve the liquid. Rough chop the cherries in a food processor. You don't want a paste, but chunky pieces slightly smaller than a pea. Place the chopped cherries into a mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the liquid and reserve it. Allow chopped cherries to drain for 2 hours, stirring every so often to release more liquid.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease sides and bottom of 2 – 8”x2" round pans. My goop recipe is perfect for pan release. Soak baking strips in cold water. Wrap the pans with strips just before filling them with batter.
Add all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) to a stand mixer bowl and mix with a paddle to combine well. This replaces sifting.
In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla bean paste, egg whites, milk, cherry juice, and vegetable oil) and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Turn mixer to low and add chunks of butter slowly to the dry mix. Continue to beat on slow until there are no chunks of butter remaining and the mixture becomes crumbly.
On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter ingredients and then turn to medium. Mix until a light paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add half of the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium high speed for 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
Gently fold in the cherries into the batter by hand.
Divide evenly between the two prepared cake pans.
Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and sides have begun to pull away from the side of the pan. (This will depend on the size of your pan, how full you make it, and on proper oven temp.)
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Invert onto a rack to finish cooling.
Vanilla bean paste can get crazy expensive. So can extract (I'm writing this during the vanilla bean plight of 2017/2018... Crazy beans!). So you can make your own using my recipe and save 37%-41%! Get my Vanilla Bean Paste recipe HERE.
Baking strips will ensure your cake baking success... It prevents over-baking around the edges and the dreaded crazy doming cakes do sometimes. For this recipe, I suggest baking in 8x2 pans. If you know me you know I love my 3-inch tall pans. Not for how thin we want this cake 🙂