Chocolate Cherry Cake

Chocolate Sour Cherry Cake

I don’t really consider myself a chocolate fanatic. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate as much as the next guy, but I almost always pass the chocolate offerings on a menu in favour of something else. I know I’m inviting scorn for saying this, but for me, chocolate desserts fit squarely in the category of “predictably good”. It’s really difficult to screw up a chocolate dessert, so they are almost always good, leaving very little for the imagination. Call me a risk taker, but I’ll toss the dice any day on a fruit dessert over a chocolate one.

Assembling the chocolate cherry cake

On rare occasion, I suddenly get an acute craving for for something intensely chocolaty. It appears out of nowhere, like a gust of wind whooshing up from a subway vent, and subsides just as quickly, but in the throws of chocolate lust, I want nothing more than to sink my teeth into a moist, luscious piece of ebony chocolate cake.

This chocolate sour cherry cake was conjured up during one of those episodes, striking a nice balance between fruity and chocolaty. I’ve never been much of a baker, but the cake is pretty forgiving and the cherry syrup ensures that the cake will stay moist while infusing it with the wonderfully tart flavour of the sour cherries.

I made these preserved cherries myself, but you should be able to find them in jars, lightly sweetened and packed in their own juices.

for cake
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 C light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 C good quality unsweetend cocoa (I love Scharffen Berger)

1 1/2 sticks melted unsalted butter at room temperature
2 oz melted chocolate (70% Scharffen Berger is good)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C Greek (strained) yogurt

for topping
1/2 C pitted sour cherries in juice
1/2 C sour cherry juice
1 Tbs Kirsch
1 pint cold heavy cream
1/4 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9″ cake pan (you can line the bottom with parchment paper, but I don’t).

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cocoa in the bowl of a mixer using a fork.

Whisk the butter, chocolate, eggs and vanilla together in separate bowl then whisk in the yogurt. Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix using the paddle attachment of the mixer until just combined.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and level off the top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs. When it’s done, allow the cake to cool on a rack.

Invert the cake onto a flat surface and slice the cake in half, to make 2 layers. If you find it hard to cut even layers with a knife, try using unflavoured dental floss. Just cut off a long strand and wrap it right around the waistline of the cake. Tie a single knot and pull the ends to cinch the knot closed, and suddenly the floss will disappear into the cake as it cuts an even layer right through to the middle.

Add the Kirsch to the sour cherry juice then spoon about 1/4 C of sour cherry juice onto each half of the cake, making sure to get all around the edges. Whip the cream until you see soft peaks then add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until it holds peaks, be careful not to over whip.

Sprinkle the bottom layer of the cake with sour cherries (saving a few for the top), then cover with half of the whipped cream. Put the second layer of cake on top and cover with the rest of the cream. Decorate with a few cherries in the middle of the cake.

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  • http://slwbicycle.blogspot.com/2009/04/traditional-italian-pasta-carbonara.html Gina – The Gluten-Free Gourman

    I love the inclusion of Greek yogurt in this. Greek yogurt is my favorite kind, and I imagine its sourness adds an extra dimension to the cake.

    Do you cream the butter before adding the other ingredients as you would for a traditional cake?

    • marc

      Nope, no need to cream the butter since you melt it first. It’s a super simple batter, but feel free to experiment with different mixing techniques.

      • http://slwbicycle.blogspot.com/2009/04/traditional-italian-pasta-carbonara.html Gina – The Gluten-Free Gourman

        Aha! I missed the part about melting the butter. It pays to read thoroughly. This does seem like a simpler batter, and I always love the inclusion of melted chocolate in a recipe. It adds so much more than just cocoa. I think it makes the texture as well as the flavor better to melt chocolate and butter together – especially if you use a really dark chocolate, like Lindt 72% cacao.

        Thanks for the cake cutting tip! I hadn’t heard that one.

      • http://slwbicycle.blogspot.com/2009/04/traditional-italian-pasta-carbonara.html Gina – The Gluten-Free Gourman

        Aha! I missed the part about melting the butter. It pays to read thoroughly. This does seem like a simpler batter, and I always love the inclusion of melted chocolate in a recipe. It adds so much more than just cocoa. I think it makes the texture as well as the flavor better to melt chocolate and butter together – especially if you use a really dark chocolate, like Lindt 72% cacao.

        Thanks for the cake cutting tip! I hadn’t heard that one.

  • http://slwbicycle.blogspot.com/2009/04/traditional-italian-pasta-carbonara.html Gina – The Gluten-Free Gourmand

    I love the inclusion of Greek yogurt in this. Greek yogurt is my favorite kind, and I imagine its sourness adds an extra dimension to the cake.

    Do you cream the butter before adding the other ingredients as you would for a traditional cake?

    • marc

      Nope, no need to cream the butter since you melt it first. It’s a super simple batter, but feel free to experiment with different mixing techniques.

      • http://slwbicycle.blogspot.com/2009/04/traditional-italian-pasta-carbonara.html Gina – The Gluten-Free Gourmand

        Aha! I missed the part about melting the butter. It pays to read thoroughly. This does seem like a simpler batter, and I always love the inclusion of melted chocolate in a recipe. It adds so much more than just cocoa. I think it makes the texture as well as the flavor better to melt chocolate and butter together – especially if you use a really dark chocolate, like Lindt 72% cacao.

        Thanks for the cake cutting tip! I hadn’t heard that one.

  • http://easydoesitrecipes.blogspot.com/Fab!!asimplifiedblackforest!!:) Christelle

    Fab, a simplified balck forest!
    I’m cooking it tonight! :)

  • http://easydoesitrecipes.blogspot.com/Fab!!asimplifiedblackforest!!:) Christelle

    Fab, a simplified balck forest!
    I’m cooking it tonight! :)

  • http://anediblesymphony.blogspot.com/ Muneeba

    I totally get it .. am not a chocolate crazed loony either, but once in a while I get those same acute cravings for something “intensely chocolatey”. This cake is so darn pretty, plus it’s got fruit in it, so it’s gotta be healthy .. right, RIGHT?!

  • http://anediblesymphony.blogspot.com Muneeba

    I totally get it .. am not a chocolate crazed loony either, but once in a while I get those same acute cravings for something “intensely chocolatey”. This cake is so darn pretty, plus it’s got fruit in it, so it’s gotta be healthy .. right, RIGHT?!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Chocolate & cherries are my favorite dessert combo, this cake sounds perfect! Bookmarking to make soon!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Chocolate & cherries are my favorite dessert combo, this cake sounds perfect! Bookmarking to make soon!

  • http://obsessedwithbaking.blogspot.com/ Steph

    I like the combination of chocolate and cherries. I love how you decorated your cake. I wish I could say the same about chocolate, but I seem to have intense cravings for it everyday!

  • http://obsessedwithbaking.blogspot.com Steph

    I like the combination of chocolate and cherries. I love how you decorated your cake. I wish I could say the same about chocolate, but I seem to have intense cravings for it everyday!

  • http://deltakitchen.blogspot.com/ Andreas

    Nice cake for making it through those gray, drizzly autumn days. ;)

  • http://deltakitchen.blogspot.com Andreas

    Nice cake for making it through those gray, drizzly autumn days. ;)

  • http://foodhappens.blogspot.com/ lo

    I’m a sucker for black forest torte, so the cherries in this are totally what’s calling my name. Plus, you can’t beat sour cherries for baking. Fantastic.

  • http://foodhappens.blogspot.com lo

    I’m a sucker for black forest torte, so the cherries in this are totally what’s calling my name. Plus, you can’t beat sour cherries for baking. Fantastic.

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com/ FRESH LOCAL AND BEST

    Chocolate is predictably good, which is why I often steer away to more exotic creations. The combination of sour cherries and chocolate has peaked my curiosity, there are elements of dark, sweet and tart in both ingredients. Bravo! This is a fascinating recipe!

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com FRESH LOCAL AND BEST

    Chocolate is predictably good, which is why I often steer away to more exotic creations. The combination of sour cherries and chocolate has peaked my curiosity, there are elements of dark, sweet and tart in both ingredients. Bravo! This is a fascinating recipe!

  • http://celiacteen.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    Fruit & chocolate, in cake form? Sounds perfect to me.

  • http://celiacteen.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    Fruit & chocolate, in cake form? Sounds perfect to me.

  • http://foodmayhem.com/ Jessica@FoodMayhem

    Chocolate is predictably good, but just good. I’m often disappointed by how just a little above mediocre it is. To me, most chocolate desserts at most restaurants are forgettable.

    Would you say your cake is similar to Black Forest Cake or not at all?

    • marc

      To be honest, I’ve never had black forrest cake before, so I’m not too sure. This is on the lighter side though as there’s no buttercream and the cherries aren’t in a thick sauce.

      • http://foodmayhem.com/ Jessica@FoodMayhem

        OOh, you need to try Black Forest. I know you’re not a chocoholic, but it’s more than the chocolate. Sadly, I can’t even think of a good place to buy it. New York is short on really good classic bakeries. =(

  • http://foodmayhem.com Jessica@FoodMayhem

    Chocolate is predictably good, but just good. I’m often disappointed by how just a little above mediocre it is. To me, most chocolate desserts at most restaurants are forgettable.

    Would you say your cake is similar to Black Forest Cake or not at all?

    • marc

      To be honest, I’ve never had black forrest cake before, so I’m not too sure. This is on the lighter side though as there’s no buttercream and the cherries aren’t in a thick sauce.

      • http://foodmayhem.com Jessica@FoodMayhem

        OOh, you need to try Black Forest. I know you’re not a chocoholic, but it’s more than the chocolate. Sadly, I can’t even think of a good place to buy it. New York is short on really good classic bakeries. =(

  • http://www.windattack.com/ The Wind Attack

    I’m a total chocoholic, but I absolutely agree: 80% of the time, I order the non-chocolate dessert off the dessert menu. In the end, I’d much rather prefer an exceptional dark chocolate bar than some “lava cake” garbage, so I figure that the fruit desserts are indeed the better bet… especially when they’re made with fresh local in-season fruit!

  • http://www.windattack.com/ The Wind Attack

    I’m a total chocoholic, but I absolutely agree: 80% of the time, I order the non-chocolate dessert off the dessert menu. In the end, I’d much rather prefer an exceptional dark chocolate bar than some “lava cake” garbage, so I figure that the fruit desserts are indeed the better bet… especially when they’re made with fresh local in-season fruit!

  • http://www.phamfatale.com/ Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    I love black forest cake. My favorite part is the cherry topping. I could eat it as nice or with some vanilla ice cream. Ohh…. to hell with calories. I NEED to make this cake, my mouth is watering…

  • http://www.phamfatale.com/ Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    I love black forest cake. My favorite part is the cherry topping. I could eat it as nice or with some vanilla ice cream. Ohh…. to hell with calories. I NEED to make this cake, my mouth is watering…

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Chocolate as “predictably good” – hilarious! Gotta say this isn’t the usual sort of thing I see on your blog but it’s definitely a welcome addition. Looks like a gorgeous cake, chocolate and cherry together is YUM and good on you for making your own preserves!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Chocolate as “predictably good” – hilarious! Gotta say this isn’t the usual sort of thing I see on your blog but it’s definitely a welcome addition. Looks like a gorgeous cake, chocolate and cherry together is YUM and good on you for making your own preserves!

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com/ Bren

    i want to sleep in that, thank you very much! :)

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com Bren

    i want to sleep in that, thank you very much! :)

  • http://www.veggiebelly.com/ Veggie Belly

    chocolate and cherry sound so good! great pictures!

  • http://www.veggiebelly.com Veggie Belly

    chocolate and cherry sound so good! great pictures!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    It is remarkably similar to a black forest cake (kind of shocked you’ve never had one! must remedy- though you’re not a super-fan of chocolate…)- one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure cakes. I’m glad you were able to satisfy your craving (far beyond eating the 2oz chocolate plain! :)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    It is remarkably similar to a black forest cake (kind of shocked you’ve never had one! must remedy- though you’re not a super-fan of chocolate…)- one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure cakes. I’m glad you were able to satisfy your craving (far beyond eating the 2oz chocolate plain! :)

  • http://www.lafujimama.com/ Fuji Mama

    This sounds wonderful!!! I love chocolate and cherries together. I’ll definitelt be trying this soon.

  • http://www.lafujimama.com/ Fuji Mama

    This sounds wonderful!!! I love chocolate and cherries together. I’ll definitelt be trying this soon.

  • http://www.lafujimama.com Fuji Mama

    This sounds wonderful!!! I love chocolate and cherries together. I’ll definitelt be trying this soon.

  • http://melanger.wordpress.com/ Julia @ Mélanger

    I just made a black forest cake on the weekend for my husband’s birthday. It was all gone in a flash. And even people who are not big dessert lovers, consumed it within seconds. Maybe the cherry?

  • http://melanger.wordpress.com Julia @ Mélanger

    I just made a black forest cake on the weekend for my husband’s birthday. It was all gone in a flash. And even people who are not big dessert lovers, consumed it within seconds. Maybe the cherry?

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    oh lord this looks great. you know i’m not much of a baker (amy)! jonny’s much better than me. those preserved cherries are calling my name – i am going to have to try them.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    oh lord this looks great. you know i’m not much of a baker (amy)! jonny’s much better than me. those preserved cherries are calling my name – i am going to have to try them.

  • Tiffany

    Okay I have to be the bad guy. Chocolate creations aren’t predictably good. It can make things better, but bad chocolate is still bad chocolate and no amount of it will make a treat good.
    That said! I have a special place on the back of my left thigh for this cake!!

  • http:kitchenocd.wordpress.com Tiffany

    Okay I have to be the bad guy. Chocolate creations aren’t predictably good. It can make things better, but bad chocolate is still bad chocolate and no amount of it will make a treat good.
    That said! I have a special place on the back of my left thigh for this cake!!

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com/ stacey snacks

    Marc,
    I made this cake tonight and it came out FANTASTIC!!!
    I will be posting it soon.
    You are a baker, and candlestick maker!
    Stacey

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com stacey snacks

    Marc,
    I made this cake tonight and it came out FANTASTIC!!!
    I will be posting it soon.
    You are a baker, and candlestick maker!
    Stacey

  • http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/blog/ marla (Family Fresh Cooking)

    Are you kidding with this???? Looks sooooo awesome. Perhaps i’ll prepare it for an upcoming christmas party I am attending. I know the hostess love the Chocolate/Cherry combination :)

  • http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/blog/ marla (Family Fresh Cooking)

    Are you kidding with this???? Looks sooooo awesome. Perhaps i’ll prepare it for an upcoming christmas party I am attending. I know the hostess love the Chocolate/Cherry combination :)

  • http://comfycook.wordpress.com/ Comfy Cook

    Chocolate and cherry are a winning combination. I must make this one, sooner than later.

  • http://comfycook.wordpress.com/ Comfy Cook

    Chocolate and cherry are a winning combination. I must make this one, sooner than later.

  • Mirna

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know how somebody doesn’t like chocolate. But I have to understand all people. My favorite flavor, consistency, texture is from Chocolate, by itself without anyelse. If you would be a chocolate lover, only you would enjoy the smell. But I have to respect everyone, and I know chocolate is my passion. (Sorry for my English, I’m from Venezuela). And thankyou for the recipe, I’m going to try it.

  • Mirna

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know how somebody doesn’t like chocolate. But I have to understand all people. My favorite flavor, consistency, texture is from Chocolate, by itself without anyelse. If you would be a chocolate lover, only you would enjoy the smell. But I have to respect everyone, and I know chocolate is my passion. (Sorry for my English, I’m from Venezuela). And thankyou for the recipe, I’m going to try it.

  • Mirna

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know how somebody doesn’t like chocolate. But I have to understand all people. My favorite flavor, consistency, texture is from Chocolate, by itself without anyelse. If you would be a chocolate lover, only you would enjoy the smell. But I have to respect everyone, and I know chocolate is my passion. (Sorry for my English, I’m from Venezuela). And thankyou for the recipe, I’m going to try it.

  • Mirna

    Ahh I like your blog so much!!!

  • Mirna

    Ahh I like your blog so much!!!

  • Mirna

    Ahh I like your blog so much!!!

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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