This rich, easy-to-make cake is the kind of semi-homemade baking popular in the doo wop era.
In 1950, a study from the Institute for Family and Community Living at Vassar College indicated that about one quarter of American wives held a job outside the home. Among their concerns, besides providing a paycheck to help the family budget, was to prepare meals quickly and effortlessly with reliable results. To address these issues, along came Minute Rice, Readi-Whip, frozen snacks and meals, and Betty Crocker cake mixes. The cake mixes had the cook add some wet ingredients, such as eggs and oil (instead of shortening), to the dry mix. The cook would have the satisfaction of making rather than buying the cake, plus the result was relatively assured each time, taking care of any fear of failure. Cake mixes caught on with wives who worked at home, too, for their convenience. The mixes were on the shelves, in the homes, and, in 1953, even the First Family (that is, the Eisenhowers) had some in the White House pantry.
Cherry Chocolate Cake*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13” x 9” pan.
Combine cake mix, eggs, and fruit filling. Mix until well blended. Pour into the pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool on a rack.
When ready to frost the cake, combine the sugar, butter, and milk in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly and cook a few minutes. Stir in chocolate pieces until melted and smooth. Let it stand until spreadable, then frost the cake.
*Disclaimer: The retro recipes on The Daily Doo-Wop take us back to how cooking was in mid-Twentieth-century America. Ideas and attitudes about nutrition and diet have changed in the intervening years. Also, nutritional needs change over the different phases of life; what was okay 6 is not necessarily so at 76. You know what you need. Whether you just read through the recipe or decide to make it, we hope that you enjoy it.