I have not yet welcomed my new followers this week and want to do that. So welcome and thanks to all of you who take time out of your busy lives to read this blog. I hope you enjoy today's recipe.
The original recipe was created by Mrs. Emil Jerzak of Porter, Minnesota for the 25th Anniversary Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1974. It won a $25,000 Grand Prize in the Grocery Products Category. Above is a photo of the picture that was on the cover of the cookbook for that year.
It was a simple idea. She combined cake mix, cherry pie filling, eggs, and almond extract to make moist bars that kept well. The bars were glazed with a chocolate glaze made with semi-sweet chocolate chips, sugar, butter, and milk. The bars could be baked in a 10x15-inch jelly rolls pan for a thinner more cookie-like bar or in a 9x13-inch pan for a more cake-like bar. The recipe turned up in "The Cake Mix Doctor" as Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake. Bars or cake, this is very good.
The recipe originally called for Fudge Cake Mix with is no longer available. I have used almost all of the chocolate flavors of cake mix for this. It doesn’t seem to make any difference. The chocolate version of my Homemade Cake Mix can also be used. Since it is February and Valentine’s Day is coming up, I wanted to use Red Velvet Cake Mix to make it more seasonal.
I like to use milk chocolate chips for the frosting/glaze, but they don’t melt as well as the semi-sweet ones do, so sometimes there are tiny bits of unmelted chips in the finished frosting/glaze.
This goes together very quickly; and, if the ingredients are kept on hand, can be made “at the drop of a hat.”
Please forgive this photo. I was pushing to get this done and put the frosting/glaze on the cake while it was still too hot. The frosting/glaze seeped down the sides of my baking pan. So don't do as I did, wait the 15 minutes before topping the bars.
Red Velvet Cherry Bars/Cake
1 pkg. Red Velvet or Chocolate Cake Mix (any flavor)
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 t. almond extract
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter (must be butter)
1/3 c. milk (low-fat is OK)
1 c. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pie filling, eggs and almond extract. Stir until well mixed. Pour into greased and floured 10x15-inch jelly roll pan or greased and floured 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes for jelly roll pan or 25 to 30 minutes for baking pan. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile combine sugar, butter, and milk in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chips and stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over partially cooled bars. Cool and cut into bars. Make 3 to 4 dozen bars depending on the pan used. Covered tightly, the bars will keep at room temperature up to 5 days, in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Uncut, the bars may be tightly wrapped in foil and frozen up to 6 months. Thaw on counter overnight before serving.
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