Pretty in Pink Chocolate Cherry Layer Cake

If you love chocolate-covered cherries, this festive layer cake is just for you. With tart cherry juice in the batter and freeze-dried cherries in the whipped cream frosting, it's a bright and fruity twist on an otherwise classic chocolate cake. The flavor of the cake itself depends on rich, full-flavored cocoa powder, whether natural or Dutch-process. I recommend either Valrhona or Cacao Barry Extra Brute, both of which have twice the cocoa butter of the most popular supermarket brand.

Ingredients

For the cake
All purpose flour 6 Ounce
Cocoa powder 4 Ounce
Sugar 8 Ounce
Baking soda 1/2 Teaspoon
Cinnamon 1/2 Teaspoon
Kosher salt 1/4 Teaspoon ((((for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight))))
Pure vanilla extract 2 Teaspoon
Pure vanilla extract 2 Teaspoon
Almond extract 1/4 Teaspoon
Almond extract 1/4 Teaspoon
Eggs/Straight from the fridge 4 Large
Neutral oil 9 Ounce
Cherry juice 10 Ounce
For the cherry whipped cream:
Cherries 2 Ounce ((freeze
Sugar 3 1/2 Ounce
Heavy cream 24 Ounce

Directions

Making

For the Cakes:

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350F (177C).

2. Meanwhile, line two 8-inch anodized aluminum cake pans with parchment and grease lightly.

3. Sift flour and cocoa together to combine.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla extract, almond extract, and eggs. Whip on medium-high until foamy and light, about 5 minutes, then drizzle in oil.

5. Reduce speed to low and add tart cherry juice, followed by sifted flour/cocoa mixture.

6. When mixture is well combined, divide between prepared cake pans, adding about 22 ounces (620g) to each.

7. Bake until puffed and firm, about 25 minutes a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake will leave a few crumbs attached.

8. Cool cakes in their pans until no trace of warmth remains, about 45 minutes.

For the Cherry Whipped Cream:

1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind freeze-dried fruit and sugar until powdery and fine, about 90 seconds.

2. Add cream and stir with a fork to ensure no dry pockets of sugar/fruit are stuck in the corners, then pulse until thick and creamy like Greek yogurt, about 5 minutes. The time will vary with the horsepower of your machine, so watch it like a hawk to avoid making fruity butter by mistake.

3. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until needed.

Finalizing

To Assemble the Cake:

1. Using a serrated bread knife, trim the dome from each cake so that the layers stack neatly and can absorb moisture from the cream.

2. Place 1 cake (cut side up) on a serving plate, cake stand, or cast iron turntable. Top with 1 cup cherry whipped cream and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula.

3. Place second cake (cut side down) on top. Smooth cream around sides, then wipe spatula clean.

4. Spread another cup of cherry whipped cream in an even layer on top of cake, then use remaining whipped cream to generously cover sides and decorate by swirling cream with the back of a spoon.

Serving

1. If you like, sprinkle with freeze-dried cherries just before serving.

Notes: Under a cake dome or loosely wrapped in plastic, the cake will keep up to 24 hours at room temperature. Alternatively, the cake can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 3 days, then brought to room temperature to serve.

Recipe Summary