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Vintage 1950s Maraschino Cherry Cake Recipe

I like collecting and trying out new recipes, whether they come to me via family or friends.

Vintage maraschino cherry cake

Vintage maraschino cherry cake

What Else Can You Do With Maraschino Cherries?

Have you ever wondered if there is something else you can do with maraschino cherries—other than using them as a garnish for a bowl of ice cream or for a Shirley Temple mocktail?

My Grandmother's Cake Recipe

I stumbled across this recipe while going through a box of old family recipes. The box, by the way, is a file storage box filled with recipes that date back to the early 1900s. It has been passed down and added to by each generation of cooks and bakers. When I asked my mother about this particular cake, she remembered it being a weekend cake. This cake was my grandmother's answer to not having to bake for the family till the beginning of the week. In the family tradition, I made this for my family on a Friday—and by Sunday evening it was gone.

Serving Suggestions

Each person in my family had their own way of enjoying a slice of this cake. A la mode seemed to be a favorite when eating the second portion. Others preferred whipped cream. During football games it was often accompanied with milk, malted milk or hot cocoa as a quickie snack.

No matter how you serve it, this maraschino cake is a great way to satisfy your cake cravings.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

35 min

25 min

1 hour

12 servings

Note on Time

Time above does not include the time required to cool the cake or frost the cake.

Maraschino cherry cake ingredients

Maraschino cherry cake ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (18-20) maraschino cherries, chopped fine
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6 to 8 maraschino cherries, sliced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Invert 2 (8-inch) cake pans and cut a piece of waxed paper to fit into each. The easiest way to do this is to invert one of the cake pans and cut a piece of waxed paper off the roll that fits a bit over the pan edge. Score the waxed paper with a pair of scissors so you can see the circle you will cut. Cut out the circle just a bit to the left of your score mark and repeat the process for the next pan. Place pieces in pans.
  2. Chop the maraschino cherries before beginning to prepare the cake batter. This will take a few minutes. You will need to use 3/4 of a jar of maraschino cherries. To make this easier, pour the 1/3 cup of juice from the jar and set aside to use in the cake batter. You will also need to hold the remaining juice in a small cup for the frosting.
  3. Measure out your cake flour carefully. You need to have 2 1/2 cups of firmly packed flour. Use the back of a straight knife to pack the flour into the cup by tapping down on the rim of the measuring cup. Trim off all excess by using the knife to "cut off" the excess.
  4. Place the first cup of flour into the sifter. Add in the salt and baking soda before adding in the rest of the flour. This method ensures that all ingredients will be sifted together. The reason for sifting the cake flour is to loosen up the tightly packed flour.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients directly into the bowl you will be using to make the cake batter in. As you sift, try to form a mountain of flour. This will enable you to make a deep well to pour the wet ingredients into the center.
  6. Pour cherry juice into the well. Then add in the vegetable oil. Begin to mix ingredients while slowly adding the milk. This will thin out the thick batter.
  7. Add the sugar and mix just enough to incorporate. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs till they are very foamy. This will bring volume to the cake when it bakes. Stir in, do not use a mixer, the eggs to the cake mix.
  8. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Check on cake by using a toothpick. Insert toothpick in center of cake and if it comes out clean, remove from oven to a wire rack for cooling. If The toothpick is not clean, bake for 2 to 3 minutes more and repeat toothpick test.
  9. Make the maraschino cherry frosting: Place the cream cheese and maraschino cherry juice in a mixing bowl. Blend until cream cheese is very smooth. Slowly add in the confectioners' sugar by the 1/2 cup. Blend thoroughly after each addition. By the time you are done adding in the sugar, the frosting should not run off the beaters. The frosting should just barely drip off the beaters. If the mix is too thick, add 1 teaspoon more of the cherry juice to thin the frosting mixture out.
  10. Assemble and frost the cake: Place the first layer of the cake on a serving dish. Frost the top of the cake. Place the second layer on top of the first. Frost the top, then the sides of the cake. Place sliced maraschino cherries on the top of the frosted cake for garnish.
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Baker's Notes

  • This is an old recipe. When it was created, none of the kitchens had dark, nonstick cookware. You will have to check your cake sooner than the suggested cook time if you bake with these types of pans. In newer model ovens, you may even want to turn down the temperature by 25 degrees. Check on the cake after 17 minutes.
  • If you make a one-layer cake, just frost the top and sides with the maraschino Frosting recipe from below. Decorate with sliced cherries.
  • Use a rectangle-shaped 2-quart baking dish that approximately measures 7x11x2 for a one-layer cake. This will give you a thick square to serve. Cut a piece of waxed paper to fit in the bottom and lightly butter the first inch of the sides of the pan.*Sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar on the butter (*Note made by my grandmother).
  • Instead of hand-chopping the cherries, use a mini food processor. Press the chop button quickly to prevent chopping the cherries too much. You want to have pieces, not teenie bits.

Photo Guide

Fit the wax paper to your pan

Fit the wax paper to your pan

Chop the cherries

Chop the cherries

Measure the cake flour

Measure the cake flour

Add the dry ingredients to the sifter

Add the dry ingredients to the sifter

Add the wet ingredients

Add the wet ingredients

Foamy eggs

Foamy eggs

Make the maraschino cherry frosting

Make the maraschino cherry frosting

Maraschino frosting is ready

Maraschino frosting is ready

Maraschino cherry cake and frosting

Maraschino cherry cake and frosting

© 2013 Susan McLeish

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