Welcome to Recipe #60!! We’re celebrating with this rich, decadent Dark Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake layered with fresh cherries and a smooth, cherry-laced chocolate buttercream. Bathing-suit season is almost over anyway. 🙂
Crowd-pleasing, gameday menus are on the brain as football season quickly approaches. We often forget about dessert when focused on chili and wings. Chocoholics, look no further! This showstopping death-by-chocolate cake goes a long way, and can be made ahead.
The recipe was adapted from a decades-old, family-favorite cookbook written by The Junior League of Galveston. You start by melting a wonderfully sinful amount of dark chocolate with Kahlua, or brewed coffee, in a bowl sitting over a pot with barely simmering water. The silky melted mixture is blended into the other usual cake batter suspects along with a heavy dose of chocolate syrup. Chocolate, upon chocolate, upon chocolate. Why not, life is short.
Blend in the mixer just long enough to have a unified batter. Over-mixing can lead to a tough cake. I used a large bundt pan with a 10-15 cup capacity. This happens to be William Sonoma’s anniversary edition, and a large tube pan will work just as well.
This is a dense cake that will take a good hour to hour and fifteen minutes to bake in a 350°F oven. The rich, chocolate color deepens and wrinkles develop with a few browned crevices. Let the cake cool in the pan about ten minutes before turning it onto a cooling rack.
The key to assembling this beauty is to let the cake cool completely, a good two hours, before trying to slice it. If you ever tried cutting warm brownies just to have it all cling to the knife, the exact same thing will happen here. Stick the cake in the fridge for a bit if you need to hustle putting it together.
As for the buttercream, the recipe was slightly modified from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I added cocoa powder to her classic version, and felt it was fitting to highlight one of her recipes considering it was her birthday earlier this week. Afterall, she coined the phrase, “a party without cake is really just a meeting.” There’s definitely some truth to that!
Now that you’re armed with a cooled cake, whipped buttercream, and a bowl of fresh cherries, you’re ready to roll. Carefully cut the cake horizontally into thirds with a sharp, serrated knife. Simply spread half of the buttercream over the bottom layer. Top buttercream with half the cherries. Place on second layer of cake, and repeat with remaining buttercream and cherries. Have extra cherries on hand. Must’ve eaten at least a dozen or so along the way. But who’s counting?
Once the top cake layer is in place, fill the center with whole cherries and let it snow powdered sugar. Garnish with fresh flowers and mint for that complementary pop of color. Your gang will ‘ooh and ahh’ even before they take a bite. Enjoy!
When we do dessert around here we go all in. If your sweet tooth still isn’t satisfied, check out our Piled High Ice Cream Sundae Pie, Nutty Irishman Cheesecake Swirled Brownies, and Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes. Cheers!!
A crazy amount of semisweet chocolate meets all things cake + cherries + cherry-laced chocolate buttercream in between the rich, fudgy layers. Bikini season be damned. Life is short. 🙂
- 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur (Kahlua), or strong brewed coffee
- 2 ½ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups chocolate syrup
- 2 egg yolks
- ⅔ cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons kirsch, cherry-flavored liqueur
- 6 ounces 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 cups fresh cherries, halved and pitted
- Additional cherries left whole for garnish
- Powdered sugar
- Fresh flowers and mint, if desired
- 10-15 cup capacity Bundt pan or tube pan
- 3 cardboard cake circles
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour Bundt pan or tube pan.
Stir chocolate and Kahlua in a medium bowl over a medium saucepan with almost simmering water until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment on moderate speed, beat eggs, sugar, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla until thick and pale yellow. With mixer on low setting, add melted chocolate mixture and chocolate syrup. Mix until incorporated. In 3 additions, mix in dry ingredients on slow speed.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in middle of preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. An inserted toothpick should have a few moist crumbs. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn cake out onto cooling rack. Let cool completely before assembling with buttercream and cherries.
Place first four ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with a hand mixer at moderate speed for about 4 minutes until a smooth cream forms. Add cocoa powder and beat 1 minute more. Chill until the buttercream firms up a bit, but still malleable, about 20 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead of assembly. Let sit on counter until spreadable.)
Transfer cooled cake from rack to a cardboard cake circle so you can move it easily once assembled. Slice cooled cake* horizontally into thirds. Carefully place the top two layers on separate round cake boards. Spread ½ of the buttercream on the bottom layer. Gently press ½ of the halved cherries into the buttercream. Place the middle cake layer on top of cherries. Spread remaining buttercream on middle layer and top with remaining cherries. Place top cake layer over cherries. Fill center hole of assembled cake with stemmed cherries. Sift powdered sugar over top of cake. Garnish with fresh flowers and mint. (Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover carefully and refrigerate. Let cake come to room temperature before serving.)
- Slice cake only when completely cooled, or stick in the fridge if short on time. Slicing a warm cake will get crumbly and ugly. The cooler the cake, the cleaner the cut!
- Prep time includes initial prep and cake assembly.