Friday, February 15, 2013

"Cherry Dump Cake" For "Presidents' Day" And "National Cherry Month"

Presidents' Day is Monday, February 18th and it is observed in honor of two of our greatest presidents; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. For many years, Americans celebrated both Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday separately. Beginning in 1971, Congress combined these celebrations into one holiday. Presidents’ Day is when we recognize the lives and achievements of all America’s Presidents, past and present. Washington and Lincoln still remain the two most recognized leaders of America. It is also a Federal Holiday banks, schools, and the post office are closed in honor of America’s Chief Executives. Presidents’ Day is used by many historical groups that stage celebrations, reenactments, and other events. Some states also require that schools spend the days leading up to Presidents’ Day teaching students about the accomplishments of the presidents, which focus on the lives of Washington and Lincoln. 

Besides Presidents' Day, February is National Cherry Month and February 20th is National Cherry Pie Day. Did you know that in the United States, most cherries are grown in Washington, California, Oregon, Wisconsin and Michigan? The varieties of cherries grown in the states include the sweet Bing, Brooks, and the Sweetheart. Then you have Royal Ann or Queen Ann, which are lightly colored and used for the Maraschino Cherry. The sour cherries are called Evans and Nanking and come from Traverse City, Michigan which is called the “Cherry Capital of the World.” They host a National Cherry Festival and they make the largest Cherry Pie on record. So let‘s celebrate the Presidents and Cherries by eating them fresh off the trees, mixed in a pie, placed in a cold drink, covered in chocolate or in a delicious dessert, anyway you eat them they will be enjoyable and delightful.    

Want to have some fun? Well, here are some facts about cherries, see how many did you know?

Cherry Trivia Facts:

  • Michigan grows 75 percent of the nation’s tart cherries.
  • Cherries are a true ancient delicacy; explorers have found cheery pits from the Stone Age in European caves.
  • Cherries were brought to America by early settlers in the 1600s. Cherry trees, in fact were part of the gardens of French settlers when they established Detroit.
  • It takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie, enough cherries grow on the average cherry tree to make 28 pies, industry officials say.
  • Tart cherries ripen two or three weeks after sweet cherries. Look for them in mid to late July.
  • Tart cherries have fewer calories and more beta-carotene than sweet cherries.
  • Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that are believed to relieve the pain of arthritis and gout, plus help fight cancer and heart disease. They are also especially high in the antioxidant melatonin, which may help prevent or reduce brain deterioration associated with aging. Plus to top it all off is that they are high in Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene.
My recipe this week is a perfect way to help celebrate Presidents' Day and National Cherry Month. It is called a “Cherry Dump Cake”. I know it may not sound very appealing, but believe me when I tell you, it is amazing. A medley of cake, sweet cherries, pineapple and crunchy nuts are all “dumped” in a pan and you bake it. Henceforth the name “Dump Cake”. This sweet cake is so simple, full of fruit, and the taste is so delicious. You can serve this warm or room temperature, and what would be really yummy is a spoonful of whipped cream, or a scoop of Ice Cream on the side. Oh my goodness, I could just taste it right now!  

"Cherry Dump Cake"

Servings: Makes 12 servings

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple with juice, do not drain.
1 (21 oz) can Cherry Pie Filling (Comstock or your favorite)
1 box of yellow cake mix or chocolate (your favorite)
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13-X-9 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Dump pineapple with juice into pan. Spread evenly. Dump in pie filling and spread that evenly. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over cherry layer. Sprinkle walnuts over the cake mix. Melt butter and pour over cake mix. Bake 50 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Optional: You can add 1/ 3 cup of flaked coconut in-between the layers. Also try apple or peach pie filling instead of cherry. They all work well. Enjoy!

Till Next Time…………………………..

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