I love any excuse to consume maraschino cherries, so this recipe for Maraschino Cherry Cake caught my eye in my 1952 copy of the Ohio State Grange Cook Book:
I thought it would be good with a chocolate glaze instead of the 7 minute icing recommended in the recipe. I looked through a few more cookbooks and found a promising contender, Cocoa Icing, in my battered copy of the Pine Springs Community Center Cook Book (Tyler, Texas).
I decided to give the cake recipe a good read the night before making it and I'm glad I did, since Mrs. S. E. Beers provided absolutely no instructions for how to bake the cake and my cookbook is missing a bit of the text where something sticky had been pulled off the page. Apparently I saw "maraschino" and "cake" and that was enough for me. A quick search (I love you, Internet!) led me to A Book of Cookrye where I found the identical recipe and much-needed instructions from a Dormeyer Mixer booklet. (As an aside, I would love to have a vintage Dormey hand mixer. It's called a Dormey, for cryin' out loud. How cute is that?)
The cake is mixed up a little differently than I am used to. All the dry ingredients are sifted together*, then the shortening (I used butter. Butter makes everything better!), liquids and cherries are added at once, followed by adding the egg whites at the end. It mixed up really fast and the cake turned out tender and moist, so I guess there's more than one way to assemble cake batter.
*I am generally too lazy to sift, so I just give it all a good stir with a whisk.
I got so caught up in mixing the cake that I forgot to take any pictures, but here is the batter before it went in the oven.
Speaking of the oven, have I introduced my good friend, Betty? She is the 1950s Chambers gas range (Cooks with the Gas Turned OFF!) that Farm Boy restored for me. Best. Stove. Ever.
I managed to spill a little batter on the floor, but fortunately my assistant baker, Daisy May, was there for clean up duty. She rated it two dewclaws up.
Here is the finished cake. The cocoa icing didn't go as far as I had hoped. I wanted it to ooze down the sides a bit, but there wasn't quite enough and it was starting to set up by the time I got to the top. It still tasted nice, though.
The inside is so pink!
All in all, I really liked the cake. I would make it again, but with a few changes. I think a white icing (as suggested by the recipe author) that covers the whole cake would make the pink interior stand out more and hide the browned edges. Chocolate and cherries do go together very well, so I might do a thin layer of chocolate in the center. I might also use making it again as an excuse to buy some cherry extract for even more cherry (cherrier?) flavor. It's tough work, but someone has to do these experiments!
Maraschino Cherry Cake (Printable Recipe)
from the Ohio State Grange Cook Book, 1952 with directions and corrections
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (I used all-purpose)
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup room temperature shortening (I used butter, of course.)
1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
16 maraschino cherries, cut into eighths (I just chopped them with scissors)
1/2 cup milk
4 large egg whites (1/2 to 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I omitted these)
Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 round 8" cake pans.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixer bowl. Add butter, cherry juice, milk and cherries. Mix on low to medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Add egg whites and beat for 2 more minutes, scraping the bowl frequently. Fold in nuts, if using.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. When cake is cool, frost and decorate with cherries.
Cocoa Icing (Printable Recipe)
from the Pine Springs Community Center Cook Book (Tyler, Texas), 1975
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup canned milk (I used regular milk)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients except vanilla and bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat to a spreading consistency. Spread between and on top of cake.
Note: I don't think it will cover and entire layer cake, but it might cover a 9x13" sheet cake.