On the 21st November, it was my Mum’s 55th birthday.
My mother is the most amazing woman in the world. If I turn out to be half as patient, funny and just plain nice as she is, I will be happy. I love her to pieces.
Therefore I wanted to make her a bloody amazing cake for her birthday. My mum loves cherries and so I searched for a cherry cake. Good old BBC Good Food gave me the most amazing chocolate dipped cherry cake that I just KNEW she’d adore…
For the cake
- 150g good quality milk chocolate (I used Green & Black’s)
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 140g golden caster sugar
- 140g soft butter
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons of milk
For the filling and the topping
- 200g white chocolate (I again used Green & Black’s — it’s lush, tastes like Italian vanilla ice-cream)
- 400g fresh cherries (preferably still with their stalks)
- 150ml crème fraîche
- 2 tablespoons of kirsch
Start by getting everything ready — pre-heat the oven to 160-180C and butter the base of two 20cm sandwich tins. Then take your milk chocolate and coarsely grate 100g on it. Take the remaining 50g, chop that into chunks and mix the two together. This will be added to the cake mix later.
Sieve the flour into a bowl and mix with the sugar and the baking powder. Make a well in the centre and add the butter, the eggs and the milk. The recipe explicitly states that in order for this to work the butter needs to be very, very soft. If you have a hand-held electric whisk, beeat together for about 2 minutes. If not, beat with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes.
It’s surprisingly hard to beat something continuously for three minutes — I ended up getting my Dad in to help. When finished it should be lovely and creamy and fluffy.
Stir in the grated/chopped chocolate until well mixed. The recipe calls at this point for you to add mashed banana to the mix. I don’t like banana so I didn’t do this, but if you like it then obviously feel free.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Use the back of a metal spoon or a spatula to level the surface — dip it in water to avoid the mix sticking to the spoon. Then bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes. The cake should be springy and just beginning to shrink away from the edges.
The recipes calls for them to be baked side by side. I can’t fit both my cake tins on a baking tray without squishing them, so I ended up swopping them over halfway through and having to bake one for a bit longer than the other. But they were both springy and it worked fine, so don’t worry if you also have to do this.
When the cakes are removed from the oven, leave them in the tin for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack. Then they need to be left for an hour to cool completely before you add the filling and the topping.
Whilst they’re cooling, prepare the cherries as it takes a while. Pit 200g of the cherries and cut them in half. I found the best way to do this was to make one cut all the way round the stone in the middle of the cherry so that it would be cut in half if it wasn’t for the stone…
…then open it up and pop the stone out and cut the halves in half again, before adding them to the rest. You get quite a nice pile of cherries. I popped them in the fridge to keep cool whilst the cakes finished cooling.
When the cakes have been cooling for about 50-55 minutes, start the filling and the topping. Break up the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl and put that on top of a pan of hot water. Stir well, until it’s JUST melted. Don’t overcook it because overcooked chocolate goes nasty…
When just melted, set the chocolate aside for 5-6 minutes to cool and thicken slightly. Then, take a baking tray and cover it with foil. Take your remaining 200g cherries and dip them into the chocolate to half coat them. This takes a while but is oddly satisfying. If the cherries have their stalks still it’s also quite easy.
When they’re dipped put them on the foil to set. I was quite proud of them. They look so pretty.
Then stir your crème fraîche into the chocolate mix. Keep stirring until it’s nice and smooth and shiny. Once fully mixed, leave it for another five minutes to let it cool and thicken (lots of waiting around in this recipe). When it’s fully cooled take half the mix and put it into another bowl. Take your chopped cherries and add them to one of the bowls. If you have kirsch, add it; if not, fear not. Stir it ’til it’s nice and mixed.
Now comes the fun bit. Take one sponge, put it on a serving plate and smear the chocolate-crème fraîche-cherry-kirsch mix over the top.
Put the second sponge on top and smear over the chocolate-crème fraîche mixture. Finish by artistically placing the cherries on top. I took the stalks off as it didn’t look right, and didn’t actually need to use all 200g of cherries. When it was finished it looked like this:
Preeeettty. And it tasted EVEN better. Mum cut it as soon as she saw it because she couldn’t wait to eat it.
And it tasted SO good. It didn’t last 24 hours. We ate it first at about 11pm; we finished it off about 4pm the next day. It was so lush.
This was a 10/10, definitely. I’m already searching for the next occasion I can make this cake; it’s perfect. It’s perfect and wonderful and lush. And nommy.
If you make it, let me know if you loved it as much as I did. If you want to see more photos of me making it (and I took quite a few…) there’s a Flickr photoset of it here.