Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cake

Evan has a taste–with a little help from Melissa.

A few weekends ago we went on a canoe trip to Tangle Lakes. The day before we left also happened to be Evan’s girlfriend Melissa’s birthday. Obviously Evan couldn’t bake her a surprise birthday cake with her in the house, so he asked me if I would help him out. I was happy to, as Melissa is pretty much the nicest person in the whole world. I used a basic recipe for chocolate cake from the Food Network website and added some extra chocolate. I know it may be mixing genres, but I used a Martha Stewart recipe for a basic white icing as a base to compose my vanilla and maraschino cherry frostings. Mainly because I’d never tried a Martha Stewart recipe before and I thought I might as well give it a shot. A word to the wise and a warning: these are really hefty chocolate cakes. They almost have the consistency of brownies. One small slice will be enough for the most dedicated cake eater, in my opinion. I love small slices of cake. Sorry for the not-so-great pictures. Obviously it’s a bit hard to keep a cake safe when you’re taking it camping. I did the best I could with what I had. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be enough cake for everyone, but it was so sweet that we ended up being able to share it after all, which was great. Treats like that are quite important when you’re camping.

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cake
for the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 sticks butter
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups chocolate chips

for the vanilla frosting:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more, if needed
2 tablespoons vanilla almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the maraschino cherry frosting:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
1-2 tablespoons maraschino cherry syrup

1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two small baking pans with butter and dust with flour so you can turn the cakes out easily.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Stir together and set aside.
3. In another bowl, mix the milk, baking soda, vanilla and eggs and set aside.
4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the cocoa. Whisk together to combine.
5. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil. When the butter is melted, pour the boiling water in the pan. Allow to bubble for a moment, then turn off the heat.
6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture. Stir together for a moment to cool the chocolate, then pour in the egg mixture.
7. Stir together until smooth, then pour into the two small baking pans, making sure each pan has an equal amount of cake batter in it, and bake for 20-30 minutes. You’re gonna stack this baby later.
8. While the cake is cooking, make your vanilla frosting first by creaming butter in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add milk, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar bit by bit and beat until smooth. If it’s too thick add more milk, if it’s too thin add some more sugar.
9. In a second mixing bowl, make your maraschino frosting by creaming the butter till smooth. Add your milk, maraschino cherry syrup and add in the confectioners’ sugar bit by bit. When your frosting is just about mixed up add your chopped maraschino cherries and finish it off. For this frosting, use more maraschino cherry syrup if it’s too thick and confectioner’s sugar if it’s too thin.
10. Once the cakes have cooled, turn them out onto a clean surface.
11. Choose a pretty plate and place one cake on the bottom. Using the vanilla frosting, frost the top of the cake nice and thickly.
12. Place the second cake on top of the one you just frosted. Pat lightly to make sure the cake stays firmly on top. Frost this second cake with the maraschino cherry frosting. Make sure you get the top well. If you have enough left to frost the sides you can do that too, if you’d like. Otherwise clean up any globs of frosting on the cake and the plate.
13. Decorate the cake however you want, using more of the maraschino cherries or whatever magic cake methods you want. Serve and watch the smiles.

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cake and little Miss Abby looking hungry.

Happy birthday Melissa! You’re so splendid and we love you!

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