Is it OK for gifts to be ugly?

Yesterday, I suddenly realized that I have no gift for the nice person who will take me in today so I can avoid sleeping at a hostel. I have been planning to bake a pie for her weeks ago and have even procured all the necessary ingredients (copious amounts of pumpkin puree that is) but then I realized that the pie dish is at somebody else’s house. (When you bring a pie to someone’s house, it’s kind of hard to claim the pie dish back when the pie has not been finished after all! I trust those people to bring the pie dish back to us one day though… they are extremely polite.)

So I needed a new strategy, and was so incredibly glad when I discovered that we have a glass of cherries stocked at home. Note to self: Get more of these cherries next time I am at Trader Joe’s, they are absolute life-savers. The truth is that, for some reason, the chocolate and cherry combination is absolutely irresistible. When I started off as a young baker, most things I have baked never really turned out right. Nowadays I got much better, but at the time, the only thing that truly worked for me was chocolate cherry cake. It is beneficial to get a recipe for which the dough is moist and chocolate-y and nice, but even if is not, the strong taste of chocolate and the moisture of the cherries can make up for sub-par baking skills and/or a bad recipe. I might be biased because this is my favorite baked good from childhood, but there is just something about it that makes this particular cake ubiquitously beloved. Unless you hate chocolate or cherries of course, but who would do that? Note to self 2: Tell Tessamon about this.

It so happens that I am not entirely happy with this recipe. The dough came out really really watery, and I really ought to skip some of the milk, but taste-wise and consistency-wise, these muffins are absolutely perfect. They might not look extremely pretty, but they are the most moist muffins I have had in awhile, and everything in it goes well. I have used Hershey’s cocoa which has a strong chocolate taste as well as chocolate morsels which allow for a nice, gooey surprise if you bite into a piece. It is also important to get rid of the cherry juice so the dough will not turn into mush, but apart from that, this is a fail-safe recipe. I mean hey, my watery mess turned into a great muffin after all!

A silly picture. Diet Snapple and salad courtesy of the department.

I assume that it is because of the general lack of cherries in a glass, but there aren’t very many good recipes for chocolate cherry cake in English. I pulled one of the many you can find on chefkoch.de and painstakingly converted all the measurements into cups. Here’s the result:

  • 1 glass cherries
  • A little less than 100g of chocolate morsels (eyeballing is fine)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tsp sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil

Recipe-wise it’s quite simple. Mix all dry ingredients together (except chocolate morsels and cherries), make sure to sift everything. Beat eggs and add all other wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix carefully, add chocolate morsels and cherries at the end. Bake at 395F.

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