Dave and I don’t do much for Valentine’s Day. We usually give each other a card, homemade preferred, and maybe a couple pieces of candy.
I wanted to make him something special for dessert and surprise him when he returned home from his volunteer gig. What could be more special than using some of our cherries on this special day? So I went to the freezer and pulled out one of those rare packages of cherries – this one from 2008!
I really am pretty stingy with our cherries. Our trees only bear usually every other year, and not much at that since two of the three trees are still quite small. So for me to break out the cherries – that’s a big occasion. The Ball Blue Book‘s recommended length of storage for this fruit is a year, but I’ve found with these cherries they still have retained their flavor.
Usually I make cobbler, but I wanted to bake something special. I thought about a pie, but I didn’t have a crust, have time to run out and buy one, or take the time to make one. Then I went to the cookbook shelf and pulled out this binder.
This was my mom’s. I remember her telling me how she wanted to make sure each of us girls has copies of her recipes. She was going to make us each our own binder. That didn’t happen. She died in 1972.
Somehow or other, I got possession of her original binder. Her favorite recipes are in this little binder in her handwriting and in pencil!
I knew why I was looking at this binder. I wanted to make her Cherry Upside Down Cake that we always called “Cherry Pie Cake.” Here is a closeup of her recipe. The ink at the top of the page is a note I made last time I made this several years ago.
I did change her recipe a bit. I don’t use shortening or red food color and I’ve cut the sugar back a bit since the original now is way too sweet for me. Here is my revised recipe for what I love to call Cherry Pie Cake.
- 1 can of cherries (or two cups of frozen cherries)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
- Juice of cherries
- 1/4 cup of sugar (or to taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
Let’s start by making the top of the cake.
Drain the cherries, put in sauce pan and add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter. Heat until sugar and butter are dissolved. Add vanilla.
Pour that mix into an 8 or 9 inch round glass pie pan.
Now to make the cake.
Add to the mixer, 1/4 cup of softened butter, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix.
Now add 1/2 cup of milk minus 2 tablespoons to the mixer. “Mix until all is dampened,” says mom. Then beat two minutes.
After that time, add the remaining milk and the egg and beat for one minute.
Pour over cherry mixture.
This is how it looks when it’s completely covered.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.
The cake will look like this when you take it out of the oven.
After it cools, turn it over on a platter and it’s ready to serve.
For the sauce, take the cherry juice, add the sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch and cook on low heat until it turns translucent and thick.
Cut this cake into pieces and drizzle the cherry sauce over them.
Before I could cut myself a piece, I was able to get another shot of Dave’s piece.
The cake is so moist and tender. I had forgotten how much I love this treat. It doesn’t look quite like hers since she used food coloring back then, but it tasted the same.
It was fun baking with mom on this heart day. As I read her instructions, I really felt like she was here next to me giving me instructions. I probably ought to do this more!