Aunt Marga’s Cherry Cake

By Elisa John

Aunt Marga was a terrible person. She was miserly and rude and my great-grandmother’s sister-in-law. And let us be honest, everyone knows that sisters-in-law are to be taken with a pinch of salt. According to my elderly relatives, my family rather celebrated than mourned her loss when she passed away. So, one could truly say that the name resemblance to Harry Potter’s aunt Marge is not without reason.

This is one of the two things I know about this infamous woman even though I have never had the pleasure (or the distress, depending on how one views it) of meeting her. The second thing is that she was the creator of the most outstandingly delicious cherry cake existing. In, well, loving memory of her, my family named this cake Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake.

Now, if the chance of surprisingly finding a pit in one‘s slice of the cake (which means good luck) is not reason enough to love any cherry cake,  people will argue that it is more than easy to find good, if not excellent recipes for cherry cakes. They are everywhere – on the internet, on the cooking channel on TV, learned by heart and passed on from ancestor to ancestor by tradition and written in every second cook book in the forgotten piles of books in people’s cellars. The world does not need another recipe that claims to be the best out of them all, right?

However, this time, it is true; this cake is the best one. All these other already existing recipes might be lovely but not one of them holds the same message as Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake. This message is that even the worst things can turn into something great. The worst of human beings can still leave something good behind. Just like this despised woman blessed this world with the best cherry cake that now brings the whole family together whenever something is celebrated.

When looking at my recipe for the one and only Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake, there are exactly six steps that make this cake stand out from other people‘s recipes for any other baked goods. Some of these steps are debatable, some of them are not, but I can ensure that only by following these steps one can create a cake that truly lives up to the meaning of the message Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake stands for. Here are my inevitably essential steps to prepare and bake Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake.

List of ingredients:

  • 250g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 150g flour
  • 100g grated chocolate
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • grated lemon zest of one lemon
  • one glass jar of pitted sour cherries (ca. 680g)
  • Firstly, one should separate the eggs into egg yolks and egg whites. Afterwards, one should beat the egg whites. The beaten egg whites should be folded in as the last step of preparing the dough. This is the only way to make the cake light and fluffy.
  • Secondly, after blending the butter and sugar, one should add the egg yolks.
  • Thirdly, grated chocolate, cinnamon, flour, baking soda and grated lemon zest should be added. Here, one should definitely make sure to not be lazy but instead to  use a real lemon and not any kind of lemon aroma. Only a real lemon can provide rich and authentic taste.
  • Fourthly, one should only ever use pitted morello cherries or any other sort of sour cherries. This is probably the most surprising step for most people. Actually, a lot of baking enthusiasts or enthusiasts of indulging in all sorts of cakes swear by using simple and fresh cherries because they are sweeter. But even if needing the remaining juice in the morello cherry glass was not necessary for the final step, the morello cherries would be the better choice. Cherries have a lower acidity as sour cherries. The higher the fruit acidity, the more suitable it is for any baking purposes.
  • Fifthly, one should bake the cake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven.
  • Sixthly, after the cake has cooled down, one should slowly pour the cherry juice that remained in the glass over the cake. This step throws off the majority of people who come across this cake. Most of them are afraid the cake will end up being a mushy shadow of what it could have been, had they just kept their hands off the attempt to pour cherry juice over it. However, giving in to that fear will make those people‘s cake be as dry as the desert. They will also end up with a cake that could never have a taste as strongly and a consistency as juicy as Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake. Also, the results of daring this step are always the first thing people compliment as soon as they try this masterpiece of a cake.

Anyway, the great taste and the message Aunt Marga’s Cherry Cake holds are not even what I love most about this cake. It is that this message can be applied to any bad situation. Whether it is a blessing in disguise, hard times that make one grow and learn, the one rejection that leads one to finding their dream job or an ongoing global pandemic that brings back all the bittersweet memories of the times I was able to eat cherry cake surrounded by my family – Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake and its meaning cover them all. And I know for sure that the meaning of this cake will also always be a silver lining for those who have not yet been able to find the good in the bad.

3 Replies to “Aunt Marga’s Cherry Cake”

  1. I love this recipe and the story behind it! Wondering already if frozen sour cherries will work because I have not seen fresh ones (we have Bing and Ranier fresh now in the U.S., but they’re sweet).

    1. Thank you very much! I’ve never tried it with frozen sour cherries, but I think using them should work just fine. Just make sure to not forget the cherry juice then. 🙂
      Sorry for the late reply!

  2. Beautiful essay and very well written! <3
    I love the idea that now poeple all around the world can try Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake.

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