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Last week I made a cherry cake to celebrate our eldest’s daughter name day. For those of you unfamiliar with the Greek Orthodox name day tradition, here’s a great explanation from the Greek Reporter. Basically it’s a big party, not unlike a birthday party, where you wish the individual health and prosperity.

For her party this year our daughter requested a “cherry cake with cherry frosting.” We like cherries but I suspect her request was based more on a desire for pink frosting than anything else. After all, her younger sister had pink frosting on her birthday cake that I dyed naturally with cherry juice instead of food coloring. Glad to see the kids are paying attention when I work in the kitchen.

Her name day, her choice so cherry cake with cherry frosting it was.

Do you know how many cherries you have to pit to make a cherry cake with cherry frosting?

A metric you-know-what ton.

Halfway through struggling to remove all the cherry pits, first with a chef’s knife and then with chopsticks, there was so much cherry juice splattered everywhere a police officer walking in off the street would have arrested me right then and there.

Red stained hands, red stained cutting board, bunches of butchered red chunks everywhere.

It wasn’t pretty.

Or encouraging.

My hands were tired, motivation was low, and in a moment of weakness I bargained with my daughter for a vanilla cake with whole cherries sprinkled on top. Being her sweet self she acquiesced but oh goodness gracious, that sad look of disappointment on her face! I couldn’t stand it so back to the kitchen I went to deal with the rest of the d*** cherries.

Hands too stiff to continue gripping a skinny chopstick, I searched through several kitchen drawers in hopes of finding a more ergonomic tool.


Let me introduce the perfect cherry pitting tool – it’s not a chef’s knife, not a chopstick, not some single purpose cherry pitting gadget but… a stainless steel turkey baster!

I popped the suction bulb off the back and set to work.

So. Much. Easier.

The hollow tip made for a much smoother pit removal experience and the wider top was far more comfortable to grip. Who knew?

Just take a look at these freshly pitted cherries. Unlike my earlier work, these cherries still look like cherries instead of sad red globs. Very convenient if your recipe calls for uniform slices.

The stainless steel turkey baster had just enough edge on it to easily cut through the cherry skin – I’m not sure a plastic baster would work as well. Keep in mind too that cherry juice would likely stain a plastic surface. If you can, definitely opt for the stainless steel baster.

Thanks to my newly improvised cherry pitting tool I was able to finish baking the cake in time for presents and dessert.

It may not be much to look at (major props to all of you wonderfully talented cake decorators out there) but it was made with love and tasted great. And most importantly, the name day girl was happy as could be.

I love finding different uses for tools in the kitchen – like this pizza cutter hack to make fresh pasta. Without the luxury of a large kitchen it’s crucial that every tool serves a purpose. The more purposes per tool, the better.

And the less cluttered your kitchen will be.

What about you, any brilliant cooking tool hacks you’d be willing to share with me and other readers? We look forward to hearing your great ideas in the comments!

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