For “The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio” (SRC Publishing, $24.95), artist Linda Hammond included a painting she titled Thief. It shows a bird helping himself to a bowl of cherries, but not without keeping an eye on his surroundings in case he’s caught with a claw in the cherry bowl.
“The Boat-tailed Grackle, a forager with a taste for bite-sized fruit, is known to steal food from other birds,” she writes. “This image, inspired by my first stay in Seattle, where I tasted the most delicious cherries, is part of a series featuring this bird as a messenger.”
Those cherries are also the basis for her recipe for Maraschino Cherry Cake.
Linda Hammond’s Maraschino Cherry Cake
2/3 cup shortening (can use half butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cherry juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts
16 maraschino cherries, chopped
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans or one 9-by-13-inch oblong pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream shortening and sugar. In separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt.
Add shortening mixture, juice, almond extract and milk, alternating with flour mixture. (Buttermilk can be substituted for milk, if desired.) Add nuts and cherries.
Very gently fold in egg whites into batter and turn into pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove and cool layers, then turn out onto serving plate. Frost with your favorite frosting, such as 7-minute icing.
Makes 6-8 servings.
From Linda Hammond/”The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio”