This year I have developed a real love for bakes which include chocolate and cherry. I have made a cookie recipe and a brownie recipe, so for my birthday (which was 2 months ago now!) I decided it was time to make a cherry chocolate cake.
I adapted the recipe from my birthday cake last year which was a chocolate orange cake. You can find the recipe here.
This is a fairly simple recipe but I think it is impressive enough for a birthday. Chocolate sponge studded with dry cherries, chocolate ganache and cherry jam… what is not to love!
If my birthday had been a few weeks later I would definitely have decorated the cake with fresh cherries from our garden.
Cherry chocolate cake
340g brown sugar
300g plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
45g cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
130g dried cherries
400g dark chocolate
400ml double cream
3 tbsp cherry jam
Meringue kisses (optional)
Chocolate chips and shavings (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170c (fan assisted).
Start by making the cake. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one by one beating well in between.
Sieve in the dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined.
Finally, stir in the milk and dried cherries. Once everything is combined, divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared cake tins and bake in the preheated for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While you are waiting from the cakes to bake and cool you can make the chocolate ganache.
Break the chocolate into small even pieces and place at the bottom of a heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream over a medium-high heat until it reaches a boil. Allow to simmer for 1 minute. Then take off the heat and allow to cool for a further minute.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces and whisk together until you have a smooth glossy mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge to set to a spreading consistency.
When you have cool cakes and ganache which is a spreading consistency, level the cakes if necessary. Place one sponge onto your cake board and apply a generous layer of chocolate ganache. Smooth right to the edges. Top with 2-3 tbsp of cherry jam and again smooth to the edges.
Top with the other sponge and gently press down. Place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes.
Next cover your cake with chocolate ganache. Smoothing over the top and side with either a cake scraper or palette knife. Reserve a little if you want to create drips down the side of your cake.
Allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To make the drip, heat the leftover ganache in a microwave in 10 second bursts until it is a runny consistency. Pour over the top of the cake and encourage it to drip down the sides with a teaspoon. Give the cake and cake board a few quick taps on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles and give a really smooth finish.
Decorate with meringue kisses, chocolate shavings and chocolate chips if desired.