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A Cherry Chip Cake Better than Boxed Mix

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Marcella DiLonardo of modest marce makes a cherry chip cake that puts the boxed mix to shame. 

If you baked a cake from a box mix in the 90s, chances are you know about Betty Crocker's Cherry Chip Cake. It was the box mix wedged between Funfetti and SuperMoist Chocolate, and it still holds a special place in my heart—and my stomach.

More: Learn how to make a Funfetti cake from scratch.

Growing up, I always looked forward to the (glowing) bright pink cake that emerged from the oven—so much so that I could never turn down licking the batter off of the spoon. But as I graduated from "just add eggs" mixes to cakes made from scratch, I left the Cherry Chip on the shelf and opted to make my own version. Step aside, Betty. My homemade version replaces the died "cherry-flavored" chips with maraschino cherries (you can also use chopped fresh cherries), and canned frosting gets a rich vanilla buttercream upgrade. In place of the sprinkles on top, I opted for fresh sweet cherries—it is summertime, afterall. I challenge you not to lick the spoon:

Homemade Cherry Chip Cake 

Makes one tall 9-inch cake

For the cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup maraschino cherries, stems removed and finely chopped, or chopped fresh cherries

For the frosting:

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh cherries, as garnish

Preheat oven to 325° F, then heavily grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. 


In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and oil and beat until well combined.

In a separate medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl on low speed until the flour is just combined. Add the milk and mix until the batter is smooth.

Using a spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the in the maraschino cherries. Evenly distribute the batter into the two pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool completely, then flip each onto a cooling rack. At this point, either slice each cake in half horizontally to make a four-layer cake, or let it remain a two-layer cake.

While the cake cools, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add all the ingredients and whisk until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Frost the cake as desired and garnish with fresh cherries.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Marcella DiLonardo

Tags: Fruit, Dessert, DIY Food, Small Batch