Thursday, September 6, 2012

Worth It: Chocolate & Sour Cherry Cake

90 days.  90 days since there's been anything chocolaty on the blog.  Sure there was that Raspberry and White Chocolate Tiramisu, but we all know white chocolate doesn't really count in the chocolate world.  No, there hasn't been anything deep dark and delicious since the time that crazy good Pecan Caramel Fudge Pie made an appearance way back in June.  June!  Do you remember June?  Summer was just beginning to breathe; full of promise and sunshine and the excitement of holiday playtime.  I hope you played well and hard, friends.  

Sour cherries.  You know I love 'em to bits.  Sadly, I never got the opportunity to drive out and visit my cousins this summer and go cherry picking in the nearby orchard, like I did last year on that super fun road trip.  Nope, my car wheels never hit gravel roads this summer, which is a quiet travesty, but here's hoping they do in the fall.  So because I couldn't go to the sour cherries, the sour cherries came to me, via my sweet cousin Leanne.  Carrying the two pails to my car, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.  And yes, the pitting is a pain, with the aftermath in my kitchen looking like a small massacre had taken place.  But this is what we do for cherries.  Having two large Ziplocs full of these beauties, just hanging out in the freezer makes me happy happy happy.

Sour cherries are by far my favourite summer fruit loot.  I love the attitude and personality they bring to the party.  Chocolate is the perfect partner - I mean, who doesn't love cherries and chocolate?  Baked in a simple, yet sophisticated cake, it's a slice of something awesome.  All that's missing is the whipped cream and we could have a little Black Forest action on our hands.

So let's do this!  Butter up your cake pan, or cast iron skillets.  Big and little, cuz I baked one for me and shared the other with my mama.  Best daughter, right over here.   

Spread the chocolate batter, top with cherries, and scatter with a brown sugar/butter/flour crumble.  Wasn't sure about the crumble bit, but it was quite fabulous.

So here's the thing about baking in cast iron - it gets really hot and STAYS really hot once removed from oven.  If I would have had my brain paying attention I would have taken the cake out 10 minutes earlier, but as it was I baked according to recipe directions, and the cake was delicious, but the sides got a little crispy.  Not the end of the world, but now I know for next time to set the timer a little sooner.  Just thought I'd pass that bit of info along to all you cast iron bakers like me.  If you are going the 9x13 route - nothing to worry about.

But even with the crispy sides, it was deliciously moist in the middle and I love how the brown sugar crumble kind of made little caramel pockets of goodness throughout.  The sour cherries loved the chocolate and all in all it was one hell of a cake.  Drizzled with a bit of melted chocolate and slices dished out to lovely friends and family, it was well worth the 90 day wait.

Chocolate & Sour Cherry Cake

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups pitted sour cherries (if using frozen, you'll need about 6 cups, drained and thawed)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 oz (57g) semi sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp butter

Prepare topping:  combine sugar and flour and cut in butter until crumbly.  Set aside.
In mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients in another bowl and add to the creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions.  Spread into greased and floured 9x13 pan, or into large and small cast iron skillets.  Smooth top, sprinkle with cherries and scatter the topping.  Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 40-45 minutes or until tester comes out clean (if using cast iron - remove from oven when crumbs are still clinging).  Let cool on rack.  To make glaze:  melt chocolate and butter in small pan over low heat, stirring continuously.  Once smooth, drizzle over cake.  Makes about 16 servings.  Adapted from Canadian Living.


  1. Looks great as always. I wish sour cherries grew near me...could I substitute sweet cherries? Love the chocolate/cherry combo too!

  2. Uh....YUM! looks fantastic and as the Sour Cherries are ready all over the place here, I beleive i will try this one out this weekend! On a personal note Renee, still working out when i can come visit and will let you know but its likely not until AFTER Christmas now....Love you!

  3. I love sour cherries and I'm so jealous that you've got some! The chocolate cake looks so good.

  4. These look absolutely stunning and I love the little pans you used I have individual castiron pans and am making this FOR SURE!
    Brilliant presentation!

  5. Wow, I'm blown away by the idea of baking a cake in a cast iron skillet...guess I've been sheltered. What a cool idea and the cake sounds (and looks) wonderful. I'm going to need to wait for an event to make this for or I'll end up eating the whole thing on my own. Bad idea.

  6. Thanks everyone! Candus come visit anytime :)
    Jess, I'm so happy to have this cherry loot!
    Val and dinnerversions, I love baking in cast iron - just remember to shorten baking times :)

  7. Renee, Holy oozy choco-cherry deliciousness! I've always been a fan of the Black Forest Cake and here you are with a modern twist on those flavors. Love it!

  8. Lovely, lovely! I personally like a little crispiness on my crusts so I'm sure it would have been perfect for me. And how on earth did you go 90 days without real chocolate????

  9. Chocolate and cherries indeed! And I love baking in cast iron skillets. The best.

  10. Can you tell me the reason for the different measurements of sour cherries? Ie. 3 c if fresh or 6 c if frozen? If I froze 3 c of cherries, it won't be enough? Thanks for your help!

    1. Frozen, thawed sour cherries really condense down so that's why I said 6 cups. Fresh sour cherries are larger, less juicy so that's why I said 3 cups. If using the frozen cherries, just be sure they are thawed and drained well. You might have enough with 3 cups - either way it should turn out :) Thanks for your question!

  11. Fabulous recipe. I made it a few days ago in a regular round cake pan and it was very moist. 3 cups of well drained frozen sour cherries are quite sufficient. Baked for 40 min. Thanks for sharing.

  12. What size skillets did you use?

    1. I used a six inch and 10-inch skillet. Just watch the baking time on the smaller skillet - the cake will be finished baking before the larger one.


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