Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake

A traditional layered vanilla cake is flavored with maraschino cherry juice (which also gives it a nice pink color!) and accented by semisweet chocolate chips and diced maraschino cherries. A layer of vanilla icing ties the cake together, while a sprinkle of chocolate chips and whole cherries finishes it off. A Midwestern treat that is perfect for a celebration!

Let’s address the elephant in the room.

You may have noticed that there is no pretty picture of the completed Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake in this post. No glamour shot of a slice sitting, ready to eat, atop a decorative plate. No mouth-watering picture of this neatly-iced cherry-chocolate goodness.

This is because no such pictures exist. Behold below, the best possible picture of this cake:

…yikes. A few observations:
– The cake is on the ground
– The cake looks a little… worse for wear
– My leg is covered in frosting
– My jacket is covered in frosting
– The Snapchat caption indicating that I fell

Yes, that’s right – but let’s back it up a little bit.

My best friend Kelsey had her *Golden* birthday this past Friday, and – fam – we CELEBRATED. From a Thursday night bar crawl that began at Lost Society and hit several bars before finally ending at El Rey, to a Friday night that included Happy Hour with my new start class, a restaurant week birthday dinner, free open bar, and a wild night at Johnny Pistola’s, it is amazing we were still alive come Saturday – but we couldn’t miss birthday brunch! We had rented out the back bar area at Johnny Pistola’s, invited 20 of our closest friends (plus a few randoms from Bumble), and were geared up for bottomless mimosas, tacos, and shenanigans.

After 2 (or 3…) hours of bottomless mimosas, we (aka the bar) decided it was time for us to leave and head to my friend Chris’ house to continue drinking on his porch in the beautiful 70-degree day. Most of our party headed to the liquor store to grab some nourishment, while Kelsey and I clad in sundresses and wedges, marched our way down to my house to pick up the completed cake (and bendy straws – important).

On our walk back to Chris’ place I was feeling a little wobbly, the combination of wedges and champagne proving a bit difficult. I was doing well though – that is, until we rounded the corner onto Chris’ street. I took the turn a bit too sharply and felt my ankle roll under me, as I (and the cake) fell to the side.

Kelsey gasped.

Onlookers gasped.

“The CAKE!!!” screamed Kelsey.

I looked up from my bloody knee and toe, concerned that this entire journey had been in vain, when she continued…

“It survived!!!!”

Yep. Miraculously enough, the cake had landed intact and upright, the ceramic plate not suffering even a scratch. It was a birthday miracle!

I, on the other hand, was not doing so hot. I stood up, assured the passerby that I would be fine, and hobbled up to Chris’ place. He’s an EMT, so I won his sympathy with my tears as I convinced him to bandage me up. And, all in all, it was a great day! I’m bruised but not broken, we had a wonderful time, and everyone is alive. And the cake was delicious!

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake

To make this cake, you will need:
– 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
– 2 t baking powder
– 1 t baking soda
– Pinch salt
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
– 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
– 4 egg whites
– 1 t vanilla extract
– 1/2 t almond extract
– 15-oz jar maraschino cherries, drained, juice reserved
– 2 T maraschino cherry juice (from cherry jar)
– 1 1/3 cup drinkable vanilla yogurt (I used Chobani – you could also use a combination of greek yogurt and milk)
– 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (plus more for garnish)

First, preheat your oven to 350F. Drain your cherries (reserving the juice and 9 whole cherries) and dice them into small pieces. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, combine the maraschino cherry juice and drinkable yogurt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream your butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg whites one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Add the maraschino/yogurt and flour mixtures in thirds, alternating between the two and using a spoon to combine. This helps ensure that the moisture is evenly distributed, and your cake is light and fluffy. Once all of each mixture is combined, your batter should be slightly pink – just like the picture above.

Add your cherries and chocolate chips, stir well, and distribute into two 8″ cake rounds. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool, then turn out of the cake pans for frosting.

(Now we get to the part without pictures  )

I used a standard vanilla buttercream frosting, frosted the cake as I typically would, and then decorated the top with more chocolate chips and the reserved maraschino cherries. Voila! Delicious, and perfect for a birthday.

…just be careful not to drop it!