This homemade Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake made from scratch is bursting with sweet cherry flavor and tinted the perfect shade of pink from nothing other than the maraschino cherry juice from the jar! Chopped up maraschino cherries are folded into the batter to make sure the cherry flavor really comes through in this super fun, moist Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake that is perfect for almost any celebration!

I take my cake baking very seriously and work hard to give you recipes that deliver consistently delicious results. If you love making cake recipes from scratch, be sure not to miss my Best Red Velvet CakeYellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting, or Homemade German Chocolate Cake!

Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake topped with long stem cherries and a slice is slightly removed

Today is House of Nash Eats blogiversary!! And what better way to celebrate than with a tall, beautiful, three-layer birthday cake?

Specifically, this homemade Cherry Chip Layer Cake made from scratch and topped with bright, beautiful maraschino cherries! Is it retro-modern? Is it vintage? Idk, but it's definitely delicious.

a closer view of the slice removed from the cherry chip cake

I can hardly believe it's been a year since I posted a delicious Blackberry Nectarine Crumble as my first post here on House of Nash Eats. Over the past year I have posted 128 recipes!

If you want to see them all, you can click on the "Recipes" tab at the top of this page, or just head to my recipe archives by clicking here.

My three most popular posts by page views to date have been my Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic, Parmesan, & Lemon, my Dark Chocolate Halloween Chip Cookies, and my Bombay House Style Chicken Tikka Masala.

If you haven't tried them yet, definitely check them out!

But let's talk more about this cake. This cake makes you time travel.

There is just something about the pretty pink chiffon color and maraschino cherries that make me think of frothy 1950's prom dresses or something. It fills me with nostalgia for times I don't even remember.

cherry chip cake with cherries on top
a partially eaten slice of cherry chip cake on a white plate below a cake stand holding the remaining cake

And you just can't eat a slice of this perfectly pink cake with lovely, fun cherry flavor and bits of maraschino cherry throughout and feel anything other than happy.

It makes you feel like a kid again and like you don't have a care in the world because you are eating cherry chip cake, of all things!

It's seriously bliss on a plate and I'm in love.

a removed slice of cherry cake on a white cake stand

Better cake decorators than myself would have perfectly smooth sides and a top, but honestly, I'm kind of loving my less than perfect approach to the frosting here because to me, this looks totally doable. Because it is.

This is how I decorate most of my cakes, like my favorite Devil's Food Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Maybe one of these days I'll get some equipment like a rotating cake stand and offset spatula to help me with improve my technique, but for now I just use a butter knife to frost the top and sides and a random cake tip that is floating around in a drawer in my kitchen to create the little rosettes/swirls/whatever they around the top edge of the cake.

The gorgeous, bright maraschino cherries on top of the cake make up for a lot of my shortcoming when it comes to decorating anyway, I think.

cherry chip cake on a white cake stand with pink frosting and cherries
a pink frosted cake with cherries

I remember eating cherry chip cake from a Betty Crocker cake mix as a kid, although it seems like it was always overshadowed by the flashier Funfetti mix.

But I have to say that a boxed cherry chip cake has got nothing on this from scratch version. Each bite of this homemade vintage cherry chip layer cake bursts with sweet cherry flavor and is tinted the perfect shade of pink from the maraschino cherry juice from the jar.

Lots of chopped up maraschino cherries are folded into the batter to make sure the cherry flavor really comes through and I love the tiny bit of texture that they add to the super moist, perfect cake.

a slice peeking out from this vintage cherry chip cake

I made this vintage cherry chip layer cake for Clara's 5th birthday after receiving multiple requests from her for a cherry cake with jarred maraschino cherries and not fresh cherries or pie cherries (like in my Aunt Becky's Black Forest Cake).

After singing her the happy birthday song, Clara promptly blew out her candles and started plucking off every cherry from the top of the cake and popping them in her little mouth before I could even get the cake sliced! Fortunately all our guests that year were older cousins, grandparents, and other family members who were cool with that.

Cake Baking Tip: Alternating Wet and Dry Ingredients

Lots of cake recipes (this one included) have you to add the wet ingredients like eggs and milk or water or buttermilk and oil (um, basically anything wet) and dry ingredients (typically just the flour and leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder and salt) to the creamed butter and sugar in alternating batches, usually ⅓ to ½ of each at a time. Then you mix well between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. 

And there's a good reason for this seemingly fussy extra task. Adding all the wet ingredients at once can make the batter to separate because it overwhelms the butter and sugar that you just creamed together.

And if you add all of the dry ingredients at once, your batter is likely going to be really thick and the chance that you will over mix the batter go way up, which ultimately results in a tougher cake without the moist, tender crumb that you want in a layer cake.

Instead of dumping all the wet and dry ingredients in at once, it's best to add them alternately, in two or three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and stirring only until just combined each time.

a vintage cherry chip cake on a white cake stand with a slice removed
a cherry chip cake on a cake stand with a slice removed and laid on a white plate in front

To everyone who reads this blog of mine, I just want to say thank you for your support and encouragement during this first year of House of Nash Eats! I love hearing from you whenever you try a recipe I have posted or when you think of something I should post but haven't yet! I read every blog comment and Facebook or Instagram message and try to incorporate the feedback I am getting from you.

a cherry chip cake slice on stacked white plates with a bite removed

I am excited about all the great recipes I plan to bring you in the next year of House of Nash Eats and hope you continue to follow along! Now who's ready to make this vintage cherry chip layer cake?! XOXO, Amy

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Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake

4.75 from 128 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 24 mins
Total Time 39 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
This homemade Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake made from scratch is bursting with sweet cherry flavor and tinted the perfect shade of pink from nothing other than the maraschino cherry juice from the jar! Chopped up maraschino cherries are folded into the batter to make sure the cherry flavor really comes through in this super fun, moist Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake that is perfect for almost any celebration!

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup maraschino cherry juice
  • ¾ cup chopped maraschino cherries

Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups shortening
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 5-6 Tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • Additional maraschino cherries with stems for decorating

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by lining the bottoms with circles of parchment paper and spraying the sides with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix well to combine.
  • Add the egg and egg whites in two batches, scraping the sides of the bowl and mixing well between each addition.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the maraschino cherry juice and milk, starting with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then adding half of the juice and milk, then repeating with another ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by the remaining juice and milk, and ending with the final ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Be sure to scrape the bowl between additions, and only mix just until everything is combined without overmixing.
  • Stir in the chopped maraschino cherries.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, then bake for 24 to 26 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with only a few crumbs.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting

  • In a large bowl, combine the butter and shortening and beat on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and beat well until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons of the maraschino cherry juice and beat again to completely incorporate.
  • Repeat with another 4 cups of the powdered sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice, mixing well between additions.
  • Add remaining 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, adding an additional tablespoon of cherry juice, if necessary, to make a thick frosting that is just slightly sticky to the touch.

Assembly

  • Level each cooled cake round by slicing off any domed tops.
  • Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate and carefully spread 1 ½ cups of the frosting over it in an even layer. Repeat with the second layer of cake and another 1 ½ cups of frosting.
  • Top with the remaining cake layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with most of the remaining frosting, reserving about 1 cup for piping onto the top of the cake. Decorate with extra maraschino cherries with stems, then slice and serve!

Notes

Adapted from Life, Love, and Sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 949kcal | Carbohydrates: 131g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 365mg | Potassium: 90mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 113g | Vitamin A: 891IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. This is such a lovely cake! Would be perfect for spring or summer parties!!

  2. Could this be cooked as cupcakes? The cake is amazing but way too much for me to eat alone. Cupcakes could be taken to work and shared. Thanks for the amazing recipes!

    1. I'm sure it could, although I have honestly never tried it. I would fill each cup 2/3 full and try baking them for about 18 minutes. Will have to try soon and let you know for sure, or if you do it, I would love it if you let me know how they turned out in cupcake form!

      1. 5 stars
        I made this recipe as cupcakes and it was awesome! Everyone loved it. The texture of the cake was perfect and the pink from the cherries was so pretty and delicate. Of course the recipe for the frosting was too much for cupcakes so this time i will half it and i did add a bit of almond extract. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

        1. I'm so glad everybody loved this recipe made into cupcakes! I still haven't tried it that way but I'm thinking about it for Valentine's Day!

  3. Beautiful cake and what a great way to celebrate your bloversary. Actually I lake it better when it is not perfect, homemade cakes are much better than store bought so imperfection in look to me means perfection in taste. I will try this for my birthday.

    1. Oh no! I'm so sorry! I wonder what could have happened because I've made this lots of times and had others make it without any trouble! Do you think it was the frosting or the cake that was most problematic?

    1. I just cover it loosely with plastic wrap and store it on the counter on a cake stand, unless I don't think it will all be eaten in a day or two, in which case I would store it in the fridge.

  4. 5 stars
    I just used this to make the big sized cupcakes and got 14 out of the batter. They turned out great! My coworker loves cherry chip but you can't find the mix anymore but he loved this recipe.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed them! Yes, cherry chip is classic and one of my favorites too but it can be hard to find, if they even still make it. But I would argue that homemade is better anyway. 🙂

  5. The cake recipe calls for "salted" butter - is this correct for a sweet cake? Just wondering if it meant to be written as "unslated". I am making this for my daughter's 18th birthday this weekend and want it to turn out perfectly!

    1. Actually, I really do think salted butter is the right choice for this cake because it doesn't call for any other salt in the recipe. Just a little bit of salt actually can bring out the sweetness of other ingredients. If you only have unsalted butter, you could absolutely use that - I would just add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I hope your daughter has a wonderful birthday!

  6. 5 stars
    JUST MAKE THIS CHERRY CHIP RECIPE INTO CUPCAKES...."WOW" AMAZING!!! 23 CUPCAKES AT 350* FOR 20 MIN.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE RECIPE....THIS IS A KEEPER!!!!

  7. Hi Amy just wondered if the cherry taste deepens in your Cherry chip cake recipe. I tasted the batter before baking but felt it seemed a very mild flavor of cherry.

    1. Hi Cathy! I would say that the flavor deepens a little bit as the cake cools, but much of that comes from the actual chopped cherries themselves. I think if you wanted an even more intense cherry flavor, you would have to look at reducing cherry sauce or looking for cherry extract or something to intensify the flavor. But let me know what you think once your cake is done!

  8. I am headed in to make this/halving the recipe...and I don't buy the heavy sugared jarred maraschinos : ) ...I have frozen and plan to simmer them a wee bit to extract some juice and dry back the moisture content. It won't be the same...as those jarred ones are simply divine. As a kid I could inhale them. Think I will need to up my golden coconut sugar measurement for the sweetener I will be missing not using the Maraschinos. And Amy, I wanted to write to encourage you to consider using Almond extract instead or pared with vanilla. Almond intensifies cherry flavor and I think it would really shine in this recipe. Worth a second look I assure you. Thanks for the recipe. Sorry my pantry contents and I are going to butcher such a beauty! But when it has good solid base such as yours there is room to tweak! : ) Sorry no stars yet...haven't made it.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Almond and cherry really do go beautifully together, don't they? I think your ideas sound great and would love to hear how yours turns out!

  9. 1 star
    Made this cake tonight and followed the recipe with no changes. We were very disappointed in the the flavor and texture of both the cake and the frosting. The cherry flavor really didn't seem to come through which is odd because it really smelled so good coming out of the oven. The frosting again seemed weak on flavor and you could really taste the powdered sugar and shortening. It does make a pretty cake when it is all done but flavor is always most important.

  10. Do you think it'd be fine if used only butter and no shortening in the frosting? I find that frostings with shortening leave a weird film in my mouth

    1. You could absolutely use butter. The main reason for using shortening is because it allows the cherry flavor to shine through a bit more than butter, but butter would definitely work if you don't like to use shortening. 🙂

  11. 4 stars
    Looks, smells, and tastes beautiful! One problem though, I reduced the frosting recipe to 2/3 due to my limits of butter and shortening, and the frosting turned out so dry that it could barely take hold on the cake. What could I do to fix this?

    1. If the frosting is too dry, add more cherry juice, a little at a time, to get it to a consistency that you like. And if you run out of cherry juice, you can just use milk instead.

  12. 5 stars
    Hi Amy!

    I am going to try this recipe for a wedding. Do you think it would yield a half sheet cake or a full sheet?

    Can’t wait!

    1. I wish I could tell you for sure but I have never made this as a sheet cake before! My guess is a half sheet though. You could always do the half and use any extra for a few cupcakes!

    1. I haven't tried it since I don't usually keep cake flour on hand, but I'm sure it would work. Let me know if you give it a go!

  13. Delicious recipe!
    For anyone who's wondering, I substituted the flour with Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour. Kept everything else the same except added a little almond extract because it's my fave. It all tastes delicious, but just comes out a little dense and heavy. I don't see this as a bad thing but if you like fluffy cake and you need it to be gluten free, don't use 1-to-1 or maybe find a way to alter the recipe a bit to get more rise.

    1. Thanks for the info! I've used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free flour before in cookies and bars with great results but haven't tried it in a cake yet. This is really helpful feedback and I'm glad you liked the cake!

  14. How can I alter the recipe for 3 nine inch round pans? I still want the layers to be thick enough. Was thinking maybe double it and make the extras into cupcakes...

    But if that’s the case then about how far up the cake pans should I pour the batter?

    1. I would just make 1 1/2 and divide evenly between the three pans. But if you want to have enough for cupcakes, I would say to fill the pans about 1/3 full.

  15. I'm going to try making for the 50th birthday of someone who loves cherry but hates chunks. Do the chopped up cherries end up feeling chunky in the cake
    TIA

    1. I haven't tried it, but I'll bet it would work! I need to make more Bundt cakes - I don't have a single one on the blog yet!

  16. I'm planning to make this cake this week. I use Kroger's clicklist to shop so can't see items in person. They have three different sized jars of cherries: 6 oz, 10 oz, and 16 oz. Only the 10 oz jar has cherries with stems. Would that be a large enough jar to get enough cherry juice and cherries for this recipe?

    1. I think it's enough for the recipe itself, but I'm guessing you will be shy on having enough cherries to decorate the top. But the upside is if you get an extra jar to make sure you have enough for decorating, they last in the fridge for ages and are great for sundaes!

  17. Hi All, my e peri ended with chopped cherry is that they sink to bottom of the pan and aren’t really mixed through the cake. Is there any thing you can do to prevent this.

    1. If the cherries are sinking to the bottom of the pan, try chopping the cherries and draining them on paper towel, then tossing with a tablespoon of flour before adding to the batter.

  18. 1 star
    I am a cake baker and tried this recipe since I didn’t have buttermilk on hand for my usual recipe. I was extremely disappointed. It didn’t rise, it was dense and had no flavor at all. I made no substitutions. I had to toss the whole thing and head to my other recipe.

    1. I completely agree with you experience! Mine was the same. Cake sank in the middle. Super dense. And the icing tasted like shortening and nothing else. 

    2. My cake recipes always have to be adjusted for elevation or they sink in the middle. I'd compare the ratios to your recipes that work and see what the differences are.

  19. I made this cake yesterday for a friend and it turned out amazing!!! I followed the recipe to the letter. The only thing is that I didn’t have salted butter so I simply added salt to the flour mixture. Turned out beautifully!!!!

    Do you have any vanilla or chocolate cake recipes?

    I am keeping this as my go to!!!!

  20. I would like to make this recipe in 6 in pans, so I'm wondering haw many cups does this recipe make. This recipe looks delicious!!

    1. I have never measured the batter itself so I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing it's around 6-7 cups?

  21. This cake is phenomenal! My husband’s coworker requested a cherry chip cake (never heard of it before this recipe) so I made this recipe and followed it exactly. I didn’t have 8” pans so I mixed up a recipe and a half and that was the perfect amount for the 9” pans. The cake was enormous, however that wasn’t a problem since it was very moist and flavorful and the entire cakes was eaten in the same day. Thank you for the recipe! 

  22. Hi! This is such a pretty cake! It sounds similar to my dad's favorite (black walnut cherry cake). Do you think I could add walnuts to your recipe?

    1. I have never tried adding walnuts to it and the only cake recipe I can think of with nuts in it that comes immediately to mind is carrot cake, but I think it would work.

  23. I made this cake last year for my nephew's 6th birthday. He said I had to make it again this year exactly like the last one. Everyone really enjoyed it and it was a beautiful cake. Thanks for the recipe.

  24. I'm going to try your recipe today with the addition of cherry liquor. I bake with a lot of different liquor s and they add another level of flavor to your cakes and it also help retain moisture and a lightness that is amazing. I will try to remember to update you with my results.

  25. I reduced this in half to make 16 cupcakes and was shocked how much everyone loved them! I make cupcakes all the time and these got some of the best responses I’ve ever had! I subbed coconut milk for regular milk. 

  26. What changes would need to be made to turn this into cookies (which is what a relative used to make with the box cake mix)?

    1. Hmm, that's a great question! I've never made cookies from a cake mix before, but I'll have to experiment and see. My guess is to decrease the liquid to get a cookie dough consistency is the starting place.

  27. Cherry chip is my mom's favorite but she's never had homemade before!! Her grandma and her mother were very much boxed cake eaters so im actually the first in my family to search out homemade cake and desserts! I actually went to culinary school for it 😊 My mother is an excellent cook but prefers not to bake. That being said I look forward to trying this recipe tomorrow!! I've read some reviews and will add almond extract to the cake (my mom loooves almond anything, and she loves any desserts I make with almond extract) and I will actually be making it into cupcakes because she prefers them over cake!! I will probably be using my favorite homemade buttercream flavored with the Maraschino cherry juice and decorated with the cherries 😊 thank you for posting your recipe!!

  28. Hi, I arrived at this site while searching for a free image of the cake. 

    I wonder if I can use the cherry cake image for graphics work.

  29. Are you supposed to beat the egg whites first? Didn't see that the recipe said that anywhere, but isn't that the way cakes are usually made?
    My cakes out spongy and flat.

    1. No, the egg whites are not beaten first. Some bakers may take that approach with some cake recipes like angel food cake, but not for this cake recipe. That's too bad that yours came out flat. Is it possible you were using 9-inch pans instead of 8-inch?

    1. No, I don't bother with that. There is already cherry juice in the batter for flavoring. The bigger issue is whether the cherry pieces will sink to the bottom of each cake layer. But I can't recall ever having had that be the case and I have never patted the chopped cherries dry between paper towels.

  30. Such a pretty cake. I think that your cake decoration is beautiful especially topped with the maraschino cherries. I prefer to cook from scratch, although the occasional boxed mix can be really helpful. Lovely blog. Pinned !

  31. I intended to made this cake for a retirement get together for an older gentleman. Thankfully I baked a test run and sad to say,  It was not good. I’ve baked all types of desserts for more than 4 decades and I followed your recipe exactly. The result was dense and gummy and just inedible. Afterwards I looked at the recipe more critically and I have to say there is way too much “fat” content. The butter and sour cream add up to 1.5 cups, the sugar also adds up to 1.5 cups. The milk is also added fat content.  Not a good ratio. I think the fat content should be 1 cup. Also, As a rule of thumb,  it’s 1 tsp baking powder per cup of flour. This recipe has too much leavening. Which means the cake rises too high and then sinks. I’m honestly surprised that others have had success following this recipe as written.

    1. I'm sorry this didn't work out for you! But I wonder if your ingredients were cold. Because I've made this recipe many times and haven't had problems with it sinking and find it to be a wonderfully light cake!

    2. Leavener actually needs to be adjusted for elevation. What works for you and what you're suggesting doesn't work for everyone. I have to adjust every single cake recipe for elevation by reducing leaveners by about 40%. The higher you are, the less you need but you also have to increase flour, reduce sugar etc... there's a science to it. Plus, one to one ratios for cakes is super common and allows you to write your own cake recipes. I've done this numerous times.

      A cake can sink for a variety of reasons, not simply because of too much leavening. Mine sink if I put too much in, they can sink if they are mixed improperly etc... I also agree with her comment about the temperature of ingredients. Gummy cakes can often happen if your ingredients are not room temperature or overmixed.

      It's just a fact that cakes are one of the more challenging things to make from scratch because there are so many variables to account for. You sort of have to know some of the basics like elevation too and this is virtually NEVER mentioned by bloggers or recipe writers because I honestly think they just don't know or they don't think about it.

    1. Yes, actually everything gets added to the sugar and butter, which are creamed first before adding the vanilla, sour cream, and eggs. Then in step 4 is when the dry ingredients and cherry juice are added. So the bowl for the butter and sugar should be your biggest bowl because everything ends up getting added in there.

    1. I'm not a gluten-free baker, so take this with a grain of salt, but I've used Bob's Red Mill's 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour with really great results in the past!

  32. Made this cake today and I have to say it was a huge fail and I was very disappointed 😞 I followed the directions to the T but I think there is a flaw in the directions because you mix up the wet ingredients then it tells you to mix the dry in a separate bowl then it tells you to mix the cherry juice and milk in a separate bowl then add the cherry juice mixture to the dry 1/3 then 1/2 wet then 1/3 dry then wet then dry but does not mention the other wet ingredients hmmmmm anyway my cake came out dense heavy and not great sorry but an Epic fail 😞

  33. Just finished making this cake. It looks beautiful! I must admit I felt the recipe made a ton of frosting. I am also leery about using the shortening-but I tasted the frosting and it tastes like the type used at the local grocers on their cakes. Will probably make it again.

  34. I made this today. We generally never have dessert after lunch. But I couldn't wait to try it. It is delicious!

  35. Want to make this for Valentines day...thinking of adding chocolate chips (chocolate covered cherries) into the cake batter....has anyone tried it?

    1. I was out of the country and didn't see this until after the holiday but I hope you tried it! I've heard from others who added white chocolate chips and loved it! I'm sure chocolate chips would work just as well!

  36. Love this! I added white chocolate chips and used butter flavor shortening in the icing and it was lovely! I did also add vanilla to the frosting.