Friday, November 15, 2013

Are those real chocolate covered cherries?

That line comes at the end of this wonderful scene in Tootsie.

Teri Garr points an accusing finger at the lying Michael, says the line, then grabs the box of cherries and stalks out, slamming the door.

I won't lie.
Unlike Sandy, I don't like chocolate covered cherries.
But I'm crazy about this chocolate cherry fudge cake.

Here is the big reveal scene in the movie:

Here is the big reveal scene of this post:

That's how you make it.  The cake is completely, ridiculously easy.

Michael Dorsey would probably have found a way to complicate things:

Michael Dorsey: Are you saying that nobody in New York will work with me?
George Fields: No, no, that's too limited... nobody in Hollywood wants to work with you either. I can't even set you up for a commercial. You played a *tomato* for 30 seconds - they went a half a day over schedule because you wouldn't sit down.
Michael Dorsey: Of course. It was illogical.
George Fields: YOU WERE A TOMATO. A tomato doesn't have logic. A tomato can't move. Michael Dorsey: That's what I said. So if he can't move, how's he gonna sit down, George? I was a stand-up tomato: a juicy, sexy, beefsteak tomato. Nobody does vegetables like me. I did an evening of vegetables off-Broadway. I did the best tomato, the best cucumber... I did an endive salad that knocked the critics on their ass.

Critics. Agents. Men being women.

This cake could knock all of them on their ass.  

Chocolate Cherry Fudge Cake

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

My mom used to make this when we were kids, to rave reviews every single time.  The cake itself is tender, almost absurdly moist, and the frosting is literally a layer of honest-to-God fudge.  Fudge! The original recipe was probably on the back of a box of Betty Croker cake mix, but I'll always consider it one of my mother's masterpieces.

For the cake:
  • Butter and a little cocoa power or flour, to prepare the pan
  • 1 box (15 oz) Devil's Food cake mix
  • 1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. espresso powder (optional)
For the frosting:
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 5 Tbs. butter, cut into several pieces
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Generously butter a 9x13 or 10x15 baking pan, then dust with cocoa powder, or flour, to coat. Set the pan aside, and preheat your oven to 350.

Combine cake mix, cherry pie filling, eggs, extracts, and espresso powder, if using*, in a large mixing bowl. Stir by hand until batter is thick and smooth, and no dry lumps of cake mix remain.

Spread evenly in prepared pan, and bake for 20-30 minutes, until center springs back when touched.

 Set the cake aside to begin cooling.

As soon as the cake comes out, prepare the frosting.

Place sugar, milk and butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir from time to time until the butter has melted, and allow mixture to come to a boil. Boil for a full minute, or even a bit longer, then take off the heat. Add the chocolate chips, salt and almond extract, and stir vigorously until completely smooth.

Pour frosting over the still-warm cake, and use a spatula to spread out evenly. The frosting will harden a bit as it cools, turning into a delectable layer of rich, dark, fudge on top of the cake. Enjoy the cake warm, or allow to cool completely.

* I feel like the espresso powder makes anything chocolate taste just a little more intensely chocolate-y, but it's definitely not worth running out to buy some just for this.  The cake will be fine without it.

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