Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake. Chocolate cake with a cherry ganache filling, frosted with fresh cherry buttercream, topped with chocolate ganache and chocolate covered cherries.
I went to Optometry school in Boston and adored the city. After I finished school, I wanted to move back to the Carolinas, but I had liked Boston so much that I thought I would try out another city before heading back. So, I decided to do my residency in Baltimore. During my residency, I started dating Matt, my now husband. I thought he seemed like a pretty good guy, and wanted to get to know him for a bit longer. So, I decided to take a job in Baltimore and see what happened.
Matt lived a good bit north of Baltimore, so the driving back and forth started to become a pain. After we had been dating for a while he said, “I have these friends, Mark and Kelly, who live close to my area, and sometimes rent our rooms in their house. Maybe you’d be interested in living there?” I remember thinking it would be kinda weird to live with a married couple, but then met Mark and Kelly, thought they were awesome, and decided it made sense.
So, I moved in with them, and it was once of the best decisions of my life. Mark and Kelly ended up becoming two of Matt’s and my best friends. They were there to encourage us in our walks with the Lord through our dating phase and engagement, they were both in our wedding, helped us move into our first house, and we’ve been able to encourage each other through many huge life events, including learning how to navigate this whole parenthood thing.
All that to say, they hold a special place in my heart. When someone holds a special place in my heart AND loves desserts, I make them cake. Matt doesn’t care for desserts. Kelly is fine with them. Mark loves them. So, I dedicate some time to making Mark cake. Mark’s birthday is in June, and for the last four or five years, I have started to plan out his cake around April. He loves chocolate, as do I, so it’s always a no brainer that lots of chocolate will be included. This year I decided I wanted to make a cake that tasted like a giant chocolate covered cherry, but better. So, this chocolate covered cherry cake came to be.
Y’all, it’s good. It was everything I dreamed of and more. Each year Mark and Kelly throw a summer party, with crabs, for his birthday …. in case you don’t live in Maryland, it’s a thing where everyone sits around and beats crabs with mallets for about two hours, to end up with four bites of food. There were a ton of people there, so I somehow cut the cake into about 40 slices. It was gone within about 5 minutes because one, everyone was hungry from beating crabs, and two, it is that freaking good. So next time you go to make a cake, put this Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake on your short list.
1/28/19 update: A reader bought up problems with the stability of her cake, so I have added more specifics in the directions to help ensure success!
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup buttermilk
Cherry Ganache Filling:
- 1/2 cup fresh cherries
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh cherries
- 4 cups powdered sugar
Ganache and Topping:
- 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- ~8 fresh cherries to dip in chocolate
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line 3, 8" pans with parchment paper. Flour & butter sides of pans (I use baking Pam to do this).
- Whisk together first six ingredients in mixing bowl. Then add following 7 ingredients and beat on medium speed until all ingredients well combined, about 2 minutes. The batter is thin.
- Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans.
- Bake until toothpick comes out of center of cake with just a few crumbs, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pans for at least 5 minutes. Then, transfer to cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
Cherry Ganache Filling:
- Chop cherries very finely with a knife or pulse in a food processor a few times.
- In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, add chopped cherries, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp water. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat.
- Place the cooked cherry mixture along with the 6 ounces of chocolate in a heat safe bowl.
- Pour heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl and heat until boiling, about 60 seconds.
- Pour heated whipping cream over chocolate & cherry mixture and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove plastic wrap and whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before using to assemble cake.
Cherry Buttercream Frosting:
- Chop the cup of cherries very finely with a knife or pulse in a food processor a few times.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, use electric mixer to beat together butter and shortening until light in color. Add in salt and vanilla and beat until well combined.
- Alternate mixing in chopped cherries and powdered sugar, scraping down sides as needed, until well combined. Once combined, turn mixer on high for about 30-60 seconds. NOTE: Watch the consistency of the frosting as you are mixing in the cherries. I use firm, fresh cherries. If your cherries are very juicy, you might not want to use all of them as it could be too much liquid.
Assembly and Ganache Topping:
- Level cakes with a cake leveler or knife. Then, use cherry buttercream frosting to piper a border on the outside of two of cake rounds. Fill inside of each border with half of the cherry ganache. Let layers sit until ganache has firmed up a bit before stacking (~5 minutes).
- Stack the two filled cake layers, and finish with the unfrosted layer (I always put the top layer on upside down so that the top of the cake will be smooth).
- Set aside about 2/3 cup of frosting for decorating the top of the cake. Then, apply a thin layer of the cherry buttercream that will serve as the crumb layer. After this, transfer cake to refrigerator or freezer for about 10 minutes. Finally, finish frosting with remaining frosting.
- To make ganache topping, place chocolate chips and corn syrup in a heat safe bowl. Put heavy cream in a microwave safe dish and heat until boiling, about 60 seconds.
- Pour cream over chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove plastic and whisk until smooth.
- Immediately dip about 8 cherries into ganache and set on parchment paper.
- Pour remaining ganache into squeeze bottle and use to drop down sides of cake. Fill top of cake with remaining ganache and smooth with offset spatula. Let chocolate firm for about 5 minutes before performing next step.
- Use pasty bag to pipe cherry buttercream into 8 circles on top of cake. Top each buttercream circle with a chocolate covered cherry.
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