Cherry Cake – The OG

Since I have already waxed poetic about the divine confection that is the cherry stick doughnut it may not come as a surprise to you that I am also a cherry chip cake fangirl.  As I’ve mentioned my Mom is and was an amazing baker.  Her butter tarts single-handedly converted me to accepting raisins in desserts.  Despite all her skill some of my favourite cakes she made came from the classic Betty Crocker boxed mix.  Topping the list of best cakes ever is the Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip and Cherry Chip cakes.  There is just something about the super sweet kind of snythetic flavour of those cakes that appealed to me as a kid.  I secretly still love those cakes, even though I pretend to have a refined palate that is turned off by too much sugar.  I was excited to start the series five technicals by paying homage to my childhood favourite.  Not to mention the fact that the recipe only had 5 steps.  Woohoo!

The cornerstone of any cherry chip cake is the fluorescent “cherries”.  I had assumed that the nuclear colour would have come from maraschino cherries, but I learned that there is a thing called glace cherries.  These are essentially pimped up maraschinos.  You thought a maraschino was sweet, well let me introduce you to glace.  According to Steve Harvey  “Candied cherries, also called glace cherries, are essentially maraschino cherries that have been processed further by cooking them in thick flavored syrup.”  Perfect to replicate the mostly sugar flavour of the cherry chip cake.  They definitely had the quintessential, not found in nature, colour needed for the cake.

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Once I rinsed, chopped and coated the cherries in flour I mixed up the batter.   In my regular baking life cakes have been my nemesis.  They always turn out too dense and heavy.  But so far I have had success with Mary’s cake recipes so I was feeling optimistic.  The batter came together quickly and easily and I dumped in my cherries.

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YUM! The mixture was really thick and I had to coax it around the sides of the pan but I got it in.  I happily sampled the batter stick to my fingers. Double YUM!

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The cake took exactly 37 minutes to bake and came out perfectly golden. OK, maybe a bit dark but still pretty golden.  And it smelled heavenly.  I had every intention of following the recipe and using lemon in zest in the batter but my lemon looked sad and shrivelled and there was a big ripe orange right next to it.   I ditched the lemon, used the orange and never looked back!  All that was left was to toast my almonds and dress up the cake.

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This was my first time toasting almonds and it went pretty well.  There was a lot of waiting around while nothing happened until all of a sudden things turned brown.  I think the elements on my oven are a little erratic because I had some almonds that caught while others were still white.  I’ve burned enough things in my life to know that only my father-in-law appreciates the bitter taste carbon so I pulled them off the heat and got ready to sprinkle.  And here is my creation.

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The moment of truth came when I cut into the cake.  Were my cherries suspended or did the sink to the bottom?  And would this grown-up version of the cherry chip cake live up to my memories? YES!  Oh my god!  This was so good!  It didn’t exactly taste like cherry chip cake, more like a delicious almond cake.  I was so pleased with my orange substitution.  I think lemon would have been too tart but the orange just made things sweeter.  Perfect for my childish tastebuds.  And the crumb!  Perfect if I do say so myself.

Technically I think I did ok too.  The cherries were suspended, mostly. More slices revealed some appalling gaps in cherry distribution.  I had to eat three slices to confirm the cherries were randomly dispersed and any gaps were anomalies.  The sacrifices I make for science.   I might lose marks for my icing being too runny but I think I would have been in the top five of this technical challenge.  Series 5, I’m coming for you!

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3 thoughts on “Cherry Cake – The OG

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