This is a very tossed-together Black Forest Cake, or, as I like to say, when I am too lazy to bring out the piping bag and tips, it’s RUSTIC. All of the components of the classic German torte without the fuss. This cherry chocolate cake has layers of dark chocolate cake, fresh whipped cream and sweet cherries spiked with Kirschwasser (“cherry water,” or clear sour cherry brandy). These flavors are among the most celebrated combinations in the history of pastry making and yet this cake is often cloyingly sweet, overly fussy and conjures images from my 1970s childhood. Honestly, the version I remember was probably made with Cool Whip, Maraschino cherries and a cake from a box. Don’t get me wrong, that was just fine with me when I was 13. But, now my taste buds always cringe a bit at the thought of those Day-Glo-red cherries, a frozen whipped topping, that tastes like anything but cream, and the cake from a box just can’t compete with my Devil’s food recipe. The swoon worthy homemade version is super fast and easy to put together.
Cherry Chocolate Cake
Devil’s Food Cake:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (It doesn’t seem to make a difference if you use natural or Dutch-processed), sift if lumpy.
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 egg white
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot coffee
1/4 cup rum or brandy (if you opt out of the booze then use more coffee)
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and butter.
Combine the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl and whisk until combined, set aside.
Whisk together, eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the hot coffee and rum to the batter and whisk until totally blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. The batter will be quite runny.
Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes or until set when tested with a toothpick. Cool completely.
Cherry Filling and Topping:
3 cups fresh or frozen sweet dark cherries, pitted (If you are using fresh cherries you will need to add 1/4 cup water)
2 tablespoons kirschwasser or brandy
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the cherries and kirsch in a sauce pot.
Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and then add to the cherries.
Add the sugar mixture to the cherries and cook over low heat until the cherries come to a boil and the liquid thickens and is transparent, about 10 minutes. If you are using fresh cherries, you will want to cook them until the fruit is slightly tender.
transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
To assemble the cake:
Whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks.
Place one layer of the cake on a serving platter.
Spread half of the whipped cream over the top.
Distribute half the cherries over the cream.
Repeat with the next layers of cake, cream and cherries.
Serve cherry chocolate cake immediately or place it in the refrigerator.