Kid-friendly Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes + Cherry Chocolate Drizzle + Iced Cherry Vanilla Spritzers Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes + Cheery Cherry Chocolate Drizzle + Iced Cherry Vanilla Love Spritzers

Family Meal Plan: Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes + Cherry Chocolate Drizzle + Iced Cherry Vanilla Spritzers

Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes + Cheery Cherry Chocolate Drizzle + Iced Cherry Vanilla Love Spritzers

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Lesya Dolyuk/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
25 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes

Mahogany Cake is apparently the first chocolate cake on record in the United States. After it’s baked, the color takes on the reddish-brown tint of mahogany, which is due to the reaction of baking soda, vinegar, and anthocyanin, a compound in both cocoa and cherries. It’s been said that Red Velvet Cake is a derivative of Mahogany Cake. Cakes back in colonial times weren’t very sweet since sugar wasn’t as available as it is now, and it wasn’t as cheap, either. Chocolate tasted more like the cacao beans from which it came. Today’s milk chocolate would be unrecognizable to our ancestors. We sweeten our mini cakes with cinnamon applesauce and just a bit of sugar. The cherry chocolate drizzle on top is divine. There are endless varieties of cakes out there, and they’re all wonderful!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 1 1/2 C frozen cherries (frozen are already pitted)
  • 1 C whole milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) very soft butter **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 C granulated or brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 C + 1 T cinnamon applesauce (or plain, unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1 big handful chocolate chips, optional **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 3 C sparkling water
  • 2 C ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • adjust :

    to change seasonings or consistency to one's taste or to alter portion sizes.

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • drizzle :

    to trickle a thin stream of a liquid ingredient, like icing or sauce, over food.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • sift :

    to pass a dry ingredient like flour or sugar through a sieve to make it lighter and more even in texture.

  • taste :

    to put a bit of food or drink in your mouth to determine whether more of an ingredient is needed to improve the flavor.

  • wet vs dry :

    to mix wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them: dry ingredients are flours, leavening agents, salt, and spices; wet ingredients are those that dissolve or can be dissolved (sugar, eggs, butter, oils, honey, vanilla, milk, and juices).

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Paper cupcake liners (optional)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Whisk
  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)


Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1/3 C cocoa powder **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob powder)**
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 C brown or granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 1 C whole milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 C cinnamon applesauce (or plain, unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) very soft butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, or nut-free oil, like vegetable or olive oil)**
  • 1 big handful chocolate chips, optional **(Omit for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY or sub carob chips and for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**

Cheery Cherry Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1/2 C frozen (thawed) cherries (frozen are already pitted)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob powder)**
  • 1 T granulated or brown sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon applesauce (or plain, unsweetened applesauce)

Iced Cherry Vanilla Love Spritzers

  • 1 C frozen (thawed) cherries with juice (frozen are already pitted)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 2 T granulated or brown sugar
  • 3 C sparkling water
  • 2 C ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour. Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. 
  • Chocolate: Substitute carob powder for cocoa powder. Omit chocolate chips or sub carob chips. 
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, or a nut-free oil, like vegetable or olive oil. Omit chocolate chips or use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Nut: Omit optional chocolate chips or use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Soy: Omit optional chocolate chips or use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.

Cheery Cherry Chocolate Drizzle

  • Chocolate: Substitute carob powder for cocoa powder. 

Iced Cherry Vanilla Love Spritzers

  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. 


Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes

preheat + measure + sift

Preheat the oven to 350 F. To a large mixing bowl: Measure and add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Sift the ingredients by stirring with a whisk to work out any lumps and mix all ingredients together.

measure + whisk

To a separate large mixing bowl: Measure and whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1 cup applesauce, and 1/2 cup butter.

add + stir + grease + bake

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, a little at a time, and stir gently until all traces of flour disappear. Don’t over mix! Lastly, fold in 1 big handful of chocolate chips if using. Grease a muffin pan (or use cupcake liners) and fill each muffin well halfway with batter. Bake until cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Top with Cherry Cherry Chocolate Drizzle and enjoy!

Cheery Cherry Chocolate Drizzle

measure + combine

Measure and combine 1/2 cup cherries (be careful—cherry juice stains), 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon applesauce to a blender.

blend + drizzle

Blend until the mixture is smooth and pourable! Drizzle liberally over the baked and cooled Mimic These Mini Mahogany Cakes (see recipe)!

Iced Cherry Vanilla Love Spritzers

measure + add

Measure 1 cup cherries and cherry juice (be careful—cherry juice stains!), 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons sugar and add to a pitcher.

blend + pour + taste + adjust

Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour 3 cups of sparkling water into the pitcher and stir. Taste! What does it need? More sugar? More water? Adjust accordingly. Divide 2 C ice among glasses or cups and pour spritzer over the ice! Cheers!

Surprise Ingredient: Cherry!

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Photo by Tatevosian Yana/

Hi! I'm Cherry!

"My name is a tree, a fruit, a wood, a color, and a female name! My skin is often a rich, dark red color, and when you bite into me, my flesh is the same color! You can eat around the pit in my center and spit it out (or remove it with your fingers). If you want to remove the pit first, pull out my stem and insert the narrow end of a chopstick (or similar tool) into the hole left by the stem. Then push the pit out through the other end, or use a cherry pitter if you have one!"

History & Etymology

  • The cherry is a stone fruit or drupe. People have been eating cherries for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence of wild (sweet) cherries has been found in Europe from the Early Bronze Age, about 2077 BCE. They were probably being domesticated and grown by 800 BCE.
  • Turkey produces the most sweet variety of cherries, followed by the United States. Russia is the largest producer of sour cherries. Washington, California, and Oregon grow the most sweet cherries in the US, and Michigan grows the most sour cherries.
  • The Rainier cherry was named for Mount Rainier in Washington State and was developed in 1952 at Washington State University by crossing a Bing cherry with a Van cherry.
  • Maraschino cherries are sweetened, preserved sour cherries originally made with Marasca cherries from the Dalmatia region on the Croatian coast. They were preserved with Maraschino liqueur made from cherries and their pits, stems, and leaves. However, the maraschino cherries we use now are made with Queen (Royal) Anne cherries soaked in a sweetened, non-alcoholic syrup with artificial red food coloring added and are really imitation maraschino cherries. 
  • Ornamental cherry trees are grown for their beauty when they flower. They grow naturally in Japan and other countries. Large displays of cherry tree blossoms attract tourists in springtime to places in Japan, the US (especially Washington DC), and other countries. 
  • Cherry trees produce a reddish-brown hardwood used to make furniture, cabinets, and musical instruments. You can also smoke meat using cherry wood chips. 
  • The world record for cherry-pit spitting is over 93 feet! Brian Krause, part of the Krause family cherry-pit spitting dynasty, set the record at an annual contest in Eau Claire, Michigan, in 2004. 
  • The cherry is the state fruit of Utah. 
  • The English word "cherry" comes from the Old Northern French "cherise," from the Latin "cerasum," based on the Greek "kerasos."  


  • The average life for a cherry tree is 15 to 30 years, although black cherry trees can live up to 250 years. However, the oldest cherry blossom tree in Japan, the "Jindai Zakura," is about 2,000 years old!
  • Cherry fruit grows on a flowering tree from the Prunus genus, which belongs to the Rosaceae (rose) family. The two main species used commercially are the sweet cherry (Prunus avium) and the sour cherry (Prunus cerasus). There are over 1,000 varieties; however, we will highlight only four common ones: 
  • Bings are sweet red cherries and dark red when ripe. They taste sweet with just a bit of tartness and are suitable for snacking, salads, ice cream, or baked goods.
  • Rainiers are sweet cherries that are yellow and reddish-pink. They are good in salads and for snacking.
  • Queen (Royal) Anne cherries are sweet and look like Rainiers but are more tart. They are often covered in chocolate for candies, used in baking, and to make modern maraschino cherries.
  • Montmorency cherries are sour cherries primarily grown in the state of Michigan. They are light red, tart, and can be used year-round because they are often canned, dried, or frozen. They are used in pies, cobblers, and, if dried, in trail mix or salads.
  • Fruit from the Black cherry tree (Prunus serotina) can be eaten raw, and the cherries are also added to baked goods, jelly, wine, and yogurt. They are sweet cherries and are dark red to almost black when ripe. In addition, black cherry wood is used in cabinet and furniture-making. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • When picking cherries, make sure they are firm, plump, and shiny, with attached green stems. There should be no bruises, cracks, holes, or wrinkles. Bing cherries should be dark red and Rainier cherries bright yellow and red. 
  • Store unwashed cherries immediately in a plastic bag in the refrigerator with their stems attached. Try to eat or cook them within seven days. Rinse in a colander before using, and then pat them dry with a kitchen or paper towel.
  • Cherry cake, pie, cobblers, crisps, and tarts are popular desserts. Cherries are also made into jelly or preserves, ice cream, milkshakes, syrups, and sauces to accompany grilled or roasted meat. Raw cherries are great for a snack, but they can also be sliced or chopped to add to salads. 
  • Maraschino cherries are sour cherries soaked in sweet syrup. They are used to garnish ice cream, gelatin desserts, pudding, milkshakes, cocktails, and soft drinks (especially cherry sodas). 
  • It takes about 80 cherries to make a homemade cherry pie! 


  • Cherries have a moderate amount of vitamin C and fiber, and sour cherries have about 50 percent more vitamin C than sweet cherries.
  • Some studies indicate that cherries, which have antioxidants, help repair damage to the cells of our bodies and aid our muscles in their recovery after a strenuous workout. They also may help prevent gout or ease its pain and can be used as a sleep aid.
  • Some of these purported health benefits require eating a lot of cherries, so it may be beneficial to drink a concentrated cherry juice instead. 
  • As their names imply, sweet cherries contain more sugar than the sour varieties, but you would not want to eat the sour type raw.
  • A cherry pit is inedible, and the kernel inside it is toxic if ingested in large amounts. 


What is Mahogany Cake?

Photo by Fischer Food Design/
  • According to colonial lore, mahogany cakes date back to the 1800s and are the first chocolate cakes on record in the United States. 
  • A chemical reaction happens when cocoa meets vinegar and baking soda: the natural bright red pigments called anthocyanins in cocoa are released and cause the reddish-brown hue in both mahogany and red velvet cakes. In addition, mahogany cakes traditionally have the addition of coffee, which give them a rich, dark brown tint and a deliciously deep chocolate flavor. 
  • Mahogany cakes are subtle in chocolate flavor, not rich like some chocolate cakes are. Another signature feature of these cakes is their texture—light, airy, and sponge-like.

Let's Learn About Colonial America!

Photo by Alexander Sviridov/ (Plymouth Colony Village Re-creation)
  • European settlers came to America from England, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic in the late 1500s and created colonies for their respective countries. The Jamestown settlement in the Virginia colony was established in 1607 and was the first English community in the Americas. The Dutch founded the New Netherland colony in the area that is now the states of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. 
  • There are two reasons these countries colonized America. One was the access to natural resources in the new land and the ability to make money for investors back in their home countries. The second was for freedom to practice their religion without persecution. The Puritans were the first such pilgrims to leave England, and they settled at the Plymouth Plantation. The Province of Maryland was founded to protect English Roman Catholics. 
  • Unfortunately, foreign colonization brought hardship to the indigenous people already living there. One reason is that these people lived in an interconnected relationship with the land. In contrast, many colonists and their governments set out to conquer the land (and the Native Americans) to increase their property and wealth.
  • The thirteen British colonies eventually joined in revolting and fighting against the British in 1775 and declaring independence from the British government in July 1776. 

What Was It Like to Be a Kid in Colonial America?

  • The lives of colonists and their children were difficult. They had to live off the land and often suffered and died from diseases. Kids had to follow strict rules, and their parents expected them to do a lot of work at home.
  • There was a common belief that "children are to be seen and not heard." Therefore, kids were to eat quickly, without talking, and then leave the table as soon as they finished. Sometimes kids did not even sit at the table but stood behind their parents, waiting to have their food handed back to them!
  • Kids had household chores such as shelling corn, spinning cotton and wool, cutting sugar, gathering wood, making soap and candles, helping in the garden, and feeding the animals. 
  • Even babies had a job to do! Crawling was considered an animal behavior, so little ones wore stiff stays under their clothes to help them stay upright, keep good posture, and learn to stand and walk as soon as possible.
  • At the age of eight, boys started grammar school for writing and arithmetic, but for girls, education came second to their training in domestic duties. By age 14, young people were already considered adults. 
  • Children played with toys made of wood; however, they spent so much of their time doing chores they had to squeeze in playtime.

THYME for a Laugh

What did the ice cream say to the fruit? 

"You are the Cherry on top!"

THYME for a Laugh

The date on my vanilla must have expired.

It just doesn't make any scents!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the cherry go to the chocolate factory?

It was cordially invited.

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the Sticky Fingers Cooking kids say to their mini mahogany cakes? 

"You are Cherry, Cherry Sweet!"

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

That's Berry Funny

What did the cherry give to the chocolate cake on Valentine’s Day? 


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