Dark Chocolate-Cherry Cake

The setup:

For cake ~

2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

For frosting ~

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk
Enough juice from a jar of maraschino cherries to reach spreading consistency

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wrap the bottoms of 4 mini springform pans with foil; generously butter foil and sides of pans and set aside.  In a medium bowl combine boiling water and cocoa powder; mix well and let cool.  In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.  Add vanilla; mix well.  Alternately add cocoa and flour mixtures, mixing well after each addition.  Fill pans halfway (there will be extra batter); place on a baking sheet and bake 25-35 minutes, or until toothpicks come out clean.  Let cool in pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then gently remove them.  Let cool completely on wire rack.  Repeat with remaining batter (I made a single-layer 9-inch cake instead, baking about 30-35 minutes).

In a large bowl beat shortening and vanilla for about 30 seconds.  Slowly add powdered sugar and milk.  Beat in cherry juice until it reaches the desired consistency.  Spread or pipe over cooled cakes.  Garnish with chocolate shavings or mini-chips and cherries.

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