How to Decorate Desserts With Maraschino Cherries

Most people see maraschino cherries as being a bit toxic but the point is that they are fun and usually used for decoration. The bright red color comes from food coloring and then being soaked in a sugar syrup. You can get Queen Anne cherries or sour cherries that are healthier but part of the joy of using these cherries is their neon red color. In the old days they were much healthier as they were soaked in maraschino liquor. Nowadays they are soaked in a salt broth.

The desert that the maraschino cherry is commonly found on is on top of a Black Forest Cake. This is a cake made of chocolate and cherry syrup that also has chocolate icing. Usually there is a whipped cream dollop and a maraschino cherry overlaying each serving.

Another popular decorative culinary use of the maraschino cherry is as a decoration for Pineapple Upside Down Cake. In this case the batter for the cake is made and then the pineapple rings and they are placed on top. The cherries are placed in the center of the pineapple rings. When the Pineapple Upside Down Cake bakes the fruit sinks to the bottom of the pan. When the cake is done the pan is turned over and the pineapple rings with the cherries in the center are revealed.

Maraschino cherries are also used to decorate a very special Mexican dessert that involves slicing a tres leche cake into even squares. The cake is soaked condensed milk and heavy cream until it is very dense. Then the cake is frosted with whipped cream and topped with a maraschino cherry.

Maraschino cherries are also used on top of whipped creamed points on Jell-o and puddings. It is common to find a maraschino cherry topping fruit cakes in various designs. Maraschino cherries are also typically used as the crowning glory on top of whipped cream mounds on chocolate sundaes.

Maraschino cherries are also used in cake and pastry decorating whenever a rich, red shiny effect is needed. For instance, if you are making a cake that is meant to symbolize Santa’s Hat you can use maraschino cherry slices as the red coloring for the hat.

A word to the unwise! Before you top a cake with a maraschino cherry it is a really good idea to drain it of excess liquid. Too much liquid in a cherry can drain into the cake and cause it to “bleed” and look discolored.

How to Decorate A Cocktail in Traditional Ways

Decorations for cocktails fall into two categories – the traditional garnishes and the contemporary.

The traditional garnishes for cocktails are maraschino cherries, olives, pearl onions, the celery stick, twists of lemon, lime and orange. Over the decades though, these garnishes have mutated to include everything from exotic fruits to gummy drops to edible flowers.

Skewering different fruits or condiments on a cocktail spear is only one way to garnish a drink. Another method is called frosting. This is where the rim of the glass is wetted and then dipped into crystalline or powdered substance of some kind. The traditional frostings are salt, sugar and powdered sour mix. However as cocktails have evolved both in terms of their presentation and their taste, new and unusual frostings for the rims of glasses have evolved such as cocoa, Jell-O powder and flaked coconut.
The most traditional and simple of garnishes is the orange, lemon or lime twist. This is a wedge of citrus fruit that is simply squished and then dropped in the drink.

A variation of this is the squeeze, in which a lemon or a lime is squeezed gently and then also speared with other fruit such as pineapple on a pick to use as a garnish for the drink. This is a standard garnish for drinks such as the Daiquiri, the gin and tonic or the Cuba Libre.

The green olive stuffed with red pimento is the stand-by garnish for a martini however nowadays you can find stuffed olives and black olives sitting on the rim of the drink. A very traditional garnish for a martini, which is enjoying a comeback, is the black olive that is stuffed with blue cheese and dropped to the bottom of the glass.

When it comes to traditional garnishes cocktails, the maraschino cherry is just as famous as the olive. The maraschino cherry is made from marac or Queen Ann cherries that have had the color leached out of them. The two most readily available are, of course, the red almond-flavored ones and also green, which are sometimes mint-flavored. However in the old days, pickled Queen Ann cherries, both the white and red kind were dropped at the bottom of Old Fashioned and Manhattan cocktails to give them a bit of kick. There is a trend to using sour and fresh Bing cherries in the swanky bars in New York. You can easily make your own “specialty” cherry by simply soaking your favorite type of cherry in some kind of brandy.