Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake

For a cake with a long name, this one is simplicity itself to make. To start, it’s a doctored cake mix. I started doing these when I was in my teens, and was introduced to the concept by a professional baker who would simply take the basic box cake mix and add stuff in. Later, we made what we called ‘dump’ cakes, only they weren’t, actually. What they were was an excuse to eat cake, and they were rarely the same twice… Which is what led me to this one. I keep a handful of cake mixes in the pantry. Only thing is, with moving things were disorganized for a while, and they were mislaid, so we bought more. Or I was simply absent-minded and bought more. How we got here is irrelevant. What we have, are close to ten boxes of brownie, cake, and um, assorted mixes. 

Which led to me standing in the kitchen yesterday with a white cake mix in my hand, asking the Junior Mad Scientist ‘what should I add to this? I can’t make it up by itself, that would be boring.’ 

She raised her eyebrows at me, shrugged, and went back to her reading. I went back in the pantry. I came out with my hands full a few minutes later, and I showed her what I’d grabbed, one at a time. She gave me the thumb’s-up for each, and didn’t even have to come out of her musical haze to talk to me. 

So here’s what you need: 

1 cake mix. Honestly, you could do this with white, yellow, or even chocolate cake. 

6 oz chocolate chips (about a half bag. I didn’t measure)

1 14 oz can of cherries (not cherry pie filling. These were dark sweet cherries in their own juice)

sliced almonds (um. A couple of handsful. You’ll see)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour your pan – these would make superlative cupcake/muffins, so that’s an option. I used two 9″ round pans as I want to do tiers. 

Into a bowl, dump the cake mix, three eggs (or what your mix calls for), a third cup of oil or melted butter, the un-drained can of cherries, and the chocolate chips. Stir well. It will not look pretty – real cherry juice doesn’t turn pink. Put the batter in the greased pan, and bake for about 25 min (for cake pans, muffin tins will cook faster) until a toothpick insterted in the center comes out cleanly. 

Cool the cake. I was working with compressed time schedule, so I tossed mine in the freezer for about an hour to bring them down fast. Once cool, you will want to frost (if desired, see above muffins) lightly with cream cheese frosting. I recommend lightly because this is already a very sweet cake. I didn’t put much on the top, nothing on the sides, and just sufficient in the middle to keep the tiers straight and steady. On the top, I liberally coated it with almond slices. I’d planned to drizzle chocolate to finish the ‘look’ but that didn’t go according to plan, so instead I make chocolate polka dots. 

Super simple, fast, fun, and tasty. Box cake doesn’t have to be boring cake. 

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