When I first read Barbara McKay’s book Coming Home: Recipes and Reflections from a Life in the Spotlight, I had no idea how fascinating her life story would be. As a TV show host for 40 years, McKay has had an incredibly adventurous and exciting life. Not only have we enjoyed her book for its story, we also have greatly enjoyed the recipes, which she says are all “easy to make, simple to master, and classics for those who enjoy delicious Southern food.” Now that is right up our alley!
One of our fast favorites from the book (which we have now made several times and have tweaked to our liking) is her Cheerwine Cake. Y’all, this cake is a chocolate-y delight. But you don’t have to take our word for it; just go ahead and make it!
Cheerwine Chocolate Layer Cake
What You Need for the Cake:
1 box of devil’s food cake mix
1/3 cup oil (sometimes the box mix requires 1/2 cup; follow what’s on the box)
1 cup Cheerwine (instead of the water listed on the box)
1 tsp. almond extract
Flour and butter (for greasing the cake pans)
What You Do:
1. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
2. Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, Cheerwine and almond extract, then pour half into each pan.
3. Bake the cakes according to the temperature and time on the box. Let cool after baking.
What You Need for the Frosting:
3/4 cup Cheerwine
1 1/2 sticks butter
6 tbsp. cocoa
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup nuts (we like walnuts or pecans, but nuts are optional in this recipe)
What You Do:
1. Add the Cheerwine, butter and cocoa to a pot and whisk well.
2. Heat on medium high heat until it boils, then reduce heat to low and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from stove.
3. Stir in the almond extract.
4. Slowly, add the powdered sugar and continue to stir until smooth.
5. Add the nuts (if you like).
6. Remove one layer of cake from its pan and place on a cake plate. If the layer is rounded on top, take a sharp bread knife and slice across the top to make it even. (This way the top layer won’t slide off the bottom layer when you put it on.)
7. Spread frosting on the first layer and let it drip down the sides.
8. Add the second layer of cake on top, then frost the top and sides.
9. Serve a slice with a tall glass of milk (that’s how we like it). Enjoy!