So, for my first Cathy Cake after the January hiatus, I wanted to do something good. Not just any old cake; something memorable. I decided to go into my magazine archives and pull February issues from years past. I was hoping to find something vaguely Superbowl-related; as it happened, I learned that people don’t seem to bake many cakes in February. Also, I am severely lacking in February magazine issues. Summer months I am generally well-stocked in, but February has proven to be elusive.
Finally, I had it narrowed down to two possibilities: a gross-sounding carrot cake from February 1974 “Family Circle”, and Cherry Devilicious Cake, the cover recipe from the February 1971 “Better Homes and Gardens”.
Cherry Devilicious Cake it was.
The cake is basically a devil’s food cake prepared with a mix, topped with a fluffy cream-cheese based frosting and then with a cooked cherry sauce.
The recipe seemed deceptively easy. SO easy, I decided to double the frosting and cherry-topping portions to make sure I would have enough. Which, inevitably, caused me problems later…
But the devil’s food cake came together smoothly.
Look at the batter-y, chocolate-y goodness.
While Cathy was baking, it was time to tend to the cream cheese frosting. This is where it started to get complicated. First, I had to make sure the cream cheese was softened. This is best accomplished by leaving the cream cheese on the counter all day. But seeing as I had forgotten to purchase the cream cheese and called Tim in a panic to purchase the cream cheese on his way home from picking up Elsie from a birthday party just half an hour before I actually NEEDED said cream cheese – it didn’t get quite as soft as I needed it to. Also, the recipe required “packaged whipped topping mix”. “Do they even make this anymore?” I wondered, reasonably. However! Let me introduce you to Dream Whip!
So. I prepared the Dream Whip and, as instructed, folded it into the whipped-but-not-super-soft cream cheese. Aaaand the result was lumpy white fluff.
Fine. On to the cherry sauce, using canned cherries. I didn’t take into account the complications that could be cause by doubling the amount of cherry juice needed.
At this point, Elsie informed me that I was “making a mess”. No time to clean! Must press on with the sauce!
And time to add the special ingredient – the 1/2 cup of “burgundy”. Which I took to mean “any red wine”.
While all of this was going on, Cathy was cooling on the rack. When I went to flip her onto the platter, her head cracked.
Aiighhhh! Why is this happening to me! I was having very little trouble with Cathy cracking earlier. I was extra careful to only cool her in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding her to cool on the rack. I don’t know. Clearly I am doing something wrong.
But it was nothing that 6 cups of lumpy, fluffy white frosting couldn’t fix.
And it was at this point that she became The Ghost of Cathy.
Elsie came over and asked to have her picture taken with Cathy.
She also suggested that I give Cathy eyes and a mouth. “How?” I asked. “With a butter knife, or a knife,” she suggested. Pushing aside my concern for Elsie’s knife fascination, I decided to go with melted chocolate chips in a ziploc bag. My go-to Cathy decorating solution!
Note the festive “super bowl” script at the bottom. At this point, I was more about wanting to get the cake in my mouth and was getting a little frustrated with all the extra steps.
Finally, we cut into her.
And we poured cherries on her.
And it was weird. I might have put too much “burgundy” in the cherries – they weren’t very sweet. And the frosting was too tangy. Oh well! Chalk it up to another Cathy “learning experience”.
Below is the recipe as originally printed, without doubling the ingredients as I did.
Cherry Devilicious Cake from the February 1971 issue of “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine
- 1 package 2-layer size red devils food cake mix
- 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 package whipped topping mix
- 1 16-oz can (2 cups) dark sweet cherries
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup burgundy
Prepare devils food cake mix according to package directions; pour into well-greased 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake in 350º oven for 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove to cooling rack. In mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, the first 2 tablespoons sugar and the milk till fluffy. Prepare topping mix according to package directions; fold into cream cheese mixture. Chill. Drain cherries, reserving syrup. In small saucepan, combine cornstarch and the remaining sugar, mixing well. Gradually stir in cherry syrup and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in cherries; heat through. Remove from heat; stir in burgundy. Spoon cheese mixture into center of cake. Top with some of the warm cherry sauce. Slice cake; pass additional cherry sauce.