Food & Drink

Cherries sink and marshmallows rise in magic cake

Cherry Marshmallow Magic Cake is a simple three-step dessert.
Cherry Marshmallow Magic Cake is a simple three-step dessert.

It was a dreary Thursday made brighter by the appearance of Arlene DeMestri, who arrived in the Lifestyle Department of the News-Democrat with a cake.

Now, this is not an altogether unusual occurrence. Arlene over the decades has shown up — sometimes weekly — with one of her home-baked treats for us. Her husband, Bill, our favorite retired head photographer and rose garden tender, is always in tow. Arlene has been dealing with some health issues recently and, at 85 (Bill is 94), is allowed to miss some visits. We were just glad to see them, cake or not.

There’s always time for us to catch up on what’s going on with them and their family, and inevitably somebody asks what Arlene created. (During the summer, Bill grows so much zucchini that Arlene gets rid of it by making us cakes. We are so lucky.)

Last week, the 9-by-13 pan held what Arlene called a Cherry Marlo Cake, a recipe she got from a late friend. I found it listed at as Cherry Marshmallow Magic Cake. Basically, you make three layers in the pan: marshmallows, yellow cake-mix batter and cherry pie filling. The magic? When it bakes, the cherries sink to the bottom and the marshmallows rise to the top. So good.

So, editors and reporters not only came over to visit with Arlene and Bill, but to grab a slice of cake. Reporter Casey Bischel arrived late, got one of the last pieces and was sorry not to thank Arlene in person. He said to tell her thanks; it was great.

Here’s the recipe.

Cherry Marshmallow Magic Cake

1 box white or yellow cake mix

1 1⁄4 cups water

1⁄3 cup vegetable oil

3 whole eggs

4 cups miniature marshmallows

21-ounce can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare cake mix batter using water, oil and eggs. Beat in a large bowl on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over the bottom of the pan. Pour batter over marshmallows.

Spoon cherry filling evenly over cake batter.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes. Top of cake will be bubbly and marshmallows will be sticky.

Let cool before serving.