Chocolate Cherry Cake


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The countdown to Christmas will officially begin tomorrow on 1st December.  Those of you who haven’t already (smugly) completed your Christmas shopping (you know who you are…) will be starting to think/panic about it; Christmas parties can officially start; and it’s time to deck those halls! 

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Getting a christmas tree and decorating it has to be one of the most exciting parts of Christmas preparations.  That said, if you’ve gone for the real deal, this will also mark the start of your battle to keep the tree alive until the big day itself…good luck to you all!

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Sadly I had a Scrooge moment a couple of years ago and we opted for a fake Christmas tree.  Let’s be honest though, fir trees are not meant to live in the tropics and I doubt that a tree will survive much past 24 hours in Singapore without a constant supply of air conditioning to cool its boughs.

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Added to which my fake version cost the same as a real one (and no, I didn’t get the cheapest one; real trees are just very expensive in Singapore!) and I’m allergic to real trees too.  Yep, Christmas Grinch I am indeed.

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So to make up for this Grinchy-ness, I come bearing an awesome cake recipe for you all – Chocolate Cherry Cake.

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I can’t imagine a better way to see in the start of December than with a deliciously decadent, triple layered chocolate cake, filled with cherries and smothered in rich chocolate icing; can you?

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I would love to tell you that this is a quick and easy recipe.  It’s not. It takes time and effort but my goodness, it’s worth it.

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Equally good for an indulgent treat at tea time as it is as a showstopper dessert.  It would make an amazing birthday cake and, for those of you who aren’t fans of traditional Christmas cake, this is the perfect alternative.

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Being a triple-decker affair, the cake is pretty huge and, with modest slices (you don’t need much as it’s super rich) will easily feed 16.  Luckily it also keeps well.  We had a slice lingering in the fridge for a week and it was still perfect.

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So Happy December everyone!  We’ll be back with some more Christmas-appropriate recipes soon.

PS if you’d like to make your cake more festive, add some cherry Kirsch to your cherries!

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Serves 16
For the cake:

190g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
165g butter, at room temperature
280g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
250ml buttermilk*
115g 70% cocoa chocolate, melted and cooled

For the chocolate frosting:

280g icing sugar
165g butter, at room temperature
170g cream cheese
200ml pot sour cream
250g 70% cocoa chocolate, melted and cooled

For the cherry filling:

500g frozen cherries
100g caster sugar

To make:
  1. Make the cherry filling first so it has time to cool before finishing your cake.  Put the cherries and sugar into a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat.  Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low.  Stirring regularly, continue to cook until the liquid has almost evaporated and it has a jam like consistency.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/160°c fan/350°f.  Grease and line 3 x 20cm cake tins.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.  Using either an electric whisk or freestanding mixer, beat the butter and sugar together in another bowl.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Reduce speed to low then beat in the the flour mix in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 batches.  Scrape down sides as needed then beat in the melted chocolate.
  4. Divide the batter equally between the cake tins then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile make the chocolate frosting by beating the butter and cream cheese together on a medium-high speed until smooth.  In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa powder and icing sugar together then add slowly into the butter/cream cheese mix. Beat well then add the sour cream and melted chocolate.  Beat on high speed for a minute until well mixed.
  6. Place your first cake on a plate/board.  Spread just under a quarter of the frosting over it to the edges.  Add half the cherry mix and spread evenly.  Put the second cake on top and repeat the frosting/cherry process.  Put the third cake on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.  Top with fresh cherries if desired.

* If you can’t find buttermilk, just swap in 250ml full fat milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice added to it. Leave to sit for 10 minutes before using.

In advance:

The frosting can be made 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature again before using.

You can make the cakes a couple of days ahead; wrap well in baking parchment and cling film or store in an airtight container.

The whole cake can be assembled a day ahead of consumption though it lasts for up to a week providing you’re using fresh frosting and cake initially.

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