Chocolate and glace cherry cake is my version of a deconstructed black forest gateau, the chocolate and black cherry torte. Glace cherries mixed simply into the batter, cream served on the side, it’s a mere suggestion of the black forest cake...
Cherries, chocolate and cream
I’ve never tried, let alone baked, Black Forest gâteau (2023 update: I have now, both, and how! check out below). It’s iconic and a throwback at the same time.
Crisp chocolate biscuit base, squidgy and fudgy chocolate layer and in between them billowing cream studded with glistening cherries; all enrobed in dripping, luscious dark chocolate ganache.
At least that’s my idea of a good Black Forest gâteau slice. Incredibly appealing.
I wonder why it is so tempting to my mind as ordinarily I’m not a huge fan of chocolate. Chocolate cake is what I usually bake when I want to curtail my cake intake, as it is the type I resist second helpings of with the least difficulty. Blondie always wins with me over brownie and I prefer vanilla to cocoa.
Rose by any other name?
Perhaps it is all in the name; I do get seduced by the sheer sound of some dishes names.
The French are particularly good at it: just compare iles flottantes with spotted dick. Profiteroles sound fascinatingly like something you might do in your economics module and I refuse to admit that a tuile is just a decorative wafer.
German desserts are not famed for their finesse: everything is a Kuchen or a Stollen. Matter of fact and to the point: Mohnkuchen, Baumkuchen, Käse Strudel or Obsttorte – all except Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, unexpectedly poetic and sumptuous.
NOT a black forest gâteau
Now of course you’ll have seen that this cake is not exactly black forest gâteau; in fact the main thing it has in common with the famous German relation are cherries – or rather the fake cherries that glace fruit undoubtedly are. I clearly also made away with layers and ganache, and whipped cream is to be served on the side, optionally.
Cherries are added straight to the batter and the batter is nothing special either, although I’m not going to diss it: it’s a great little low maintenance recipe from Samin Nosrat’s Salt Acid Fat Heat.
No electric mixer, no fancy ingredients, no beating butter until pale and fluffy. This is a soft and dewy (the word I propose to replace the hateful ‘moist’ with), fudgy cake which is at the same time good enough to be layered and frosted into a proper celebration gateau.
So there we have it: a stripped down, deconstructed black forest gâteau; it is in fact a signal, a hint, an intimation of a black forest gâteau; a pictogram or an acronym for it.
And if you ignore my verbal emoting over this production, it is simply a super easy and reliably delicious chocolate and cherry cake.
How to make my chocolate cherry cake?
It is stupidly easy to make and comes out perfect every time, bar a handsome crack in the centre. But I tell myself it’s the sign of a tasty cake. Plus it makes it easier to check whether it’s done, because you should always jab the testing skewer into the crack: it always turns dry and cooked last.
The cake batter is the classic wet-into-dry ingredients.
The flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarb in one bowl, the oil, vanilla and boiling water in a jug. No electric mixer is needed, just whisk briskly (whisk briskly: try saying it very fast three times) the liquid into the flour mix.
Then whisk in the eggs which shouldn’t go into the wet jug as the boiling water would scramble them, and stir in the glace cherries.
The batter will be very runny so make sure your cake tin is watertight. If in doubt, line it with parchment. I have several times found a cakecicle around a leaky tin where the batter baked mid-escape.
It’s such a graceful and versatile cake recipe! Serve it simply with a pile of whipped cream on the side like I suggest here, or with crème fraiche. Or you could frost it with cream for an immersive experience!
Whisk cream cheese with a little icing sugar for tearoom-style frosting.
You can also replace the cherries with chopped apricots or crystallised ginger.
Slice the cake horizontally and fill with cream and fresh cherries. In which case you probably want to skip the fake (glace) ones.
More easy chocolate cake recipes
The easiest chocolate yogurt cake with no butter and no need to melt chocolate: a skinny chocolate cake mixed in 5 minutes. With not much added sugar, this chocolate yogurt cake is almost healthy.
Silver Palate chocolate cake, a decadent and super moist cake with dark chocolate frosting. NY Times Cooking recipe adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook.
White chocolate kladdkaka recipe: ‘sticky cake’ in literal translation. Kladdkaka is a Swedish sticky chocolate cake, made with white, dark or milk chocolate.
More glace cherry recipes
Quick and simple glace cherries recipe: make your own candied fruit. They will last for a couple of weeks in a jar. Joking, of course – they’ll never last that long…
Cherry and marzipan cake recipe, a simple buttermilk cake batter with glace cherries and a layer of homemade marzipan. This cherry and marzipan loaf cake might be an easier alternative to a simnel cake for Easter.
Soft sweet buns with glace cherries, dried cherries and cherry jam. Like Chelsea buns they are rolled around the filling and baked close together so you can tear and share.