Tag: cherry

Cherry Chocolate Cake

My man craved chocolate and I wanted cherries. Sometimes it’s so easy to come up with a new recipe. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe from my 365 book – recipe no. 189 crowned by a marbled raspberry whipped cream – and topped it off with Turkish sweet cherries and German sour cherries. The cake is made with melted bittersweet chocolate, which I much prefer over cakes made with cocoa powder and water. I find the taste more complex when using proper chocolate. The egg whites are beaten stiff, which gives the cake enough oomph to rise. However, I wasn’t sure if the cherries would be too heavy and drag it down so I added a little baking powder. I decreased the amount of sugar to balance the fruit’s natural sweetness and was more than pleased with the result. It’s a very comforting cake, hassle-free and easy to love.

As I watched the humming mixer slowly swirl the melted chocolate into the batter, I noticed a pattern. Every time July rolls around, I develop a new cherry-chocolate recipe. It’s not really a surprise, the fruit’s sweet juices and the depth of bittersweet chocolate is a genius combination. Yet seeing it become – unintentionally – a blog tradition struck me. There’s a Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie in the archives, recipes for Black Forest Pancakes, Cherry Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake and a Cherry Chocolate Tart. All posted in July and August. And every year I ask myself “is this combination summery enough? Is this what you really want to nibble on on a hot afternoon?.” The answer is a resounding yes! and the reason is just as simple: our mind tells us exactly what we need. When we crave a certain ingredient or combination and when we notice this craving, it’s usually the best thing you can possibly put into your mouth. A chocolate and cherry cake answers the pleading cravings of every chocolate and summer fruit lover and is just as perfect for breakfast and brunch as for afternoon tea or dessert after dinner.

Cherry Chocolate Cake

  • 140g / 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 150g / 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 large eggs, separated 
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 150g / 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 130g / 1 cup all-purpose flour (or white spelt flour type 630)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 140g / 5 ounces pitted sweet cherries (weight without pits!)
  • 60g / 2 ounces pitted sour cherries (weight without pits!)

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting). Butter an 20 cm / 8-inch springform pan.

For the cake, melt the chocolate, butter, cinnamon, and cardamom in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking until smooth; let cool for a few minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and salt for a few minutes or until stiff, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.

In the same bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks and sugar for 2 minutes or until thick and creamy. Add the chocolate mixture and mix for 1 minute or until well combined. Combine the flour and baking powder, add to the butter-chocolate mixture, and mix until well combined then fold the egg whites into the batter (it will be a bit sticky and takes some time, be patient). Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and arrange the cherries on top, pushing them just a little into the batter (see picture below). Bake for about 45 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden brown and spongy. If you insert a skewer in the center of the cake, it should come out almost clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes then take it out of the pan.

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

Think of Black Forest Torte and meringue pie, take out the heaviness of the whipped cream, and you have a rough idea of the taste of this opulent beauty. My Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie has all the nice features of the famous southern German coffee table classic, including dark chocolate, Kirsch Schnaps, and sweet summer cherries – it’s just lighter.

My Maltese Mama Jenny was the first baker who introduced me to meringue pie, her formidable lemon meringue pie blew my mind. Although we have similar cakes in Germany, like a sponge cake layered with gooseberries and meringue, it doesn’t have the same qualities as a pie. It’s richer, a proper German torte. A pie, however, focuses on the fruit filling, there’s only a thin buttery short crust base holding all that lusciousness together. The wonderfully fluffy, airy meringue topping adds a very fine sweetness, wrapped in fragile crispiness. It works perfectly with sour rhubarb, a pink spring pie that became a popular recipe on the blog. I could have used the same formula for my plump black cherries, but I wanted a chocolate base. I couldn’t get it out of my mind and I’m glad that I didn’t, it’s the perfect Schwarzwälder Kirsch Pie (the German name for black forest).

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

You’ll need a 23cm / 9″ shallow pie dish for this recipe.

Makes 1 pie

For the cherries

fresh sweet cherries, pitted,  about 550g / 1 1/4 pounds (about 4 cups pitted cherries)
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
Kirsch schnaps 3 tablespoons
cornstarch 30g / 1/4 cup

For the pastry

plain flour 160g / 1 1/4 cups
Dutch-process or natural unsweetened cocoa powder 50g / 2 ounces
granulated sugar 3 tablespoons
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
unsalted butter 120g / 1/2 cup
cold water 3 tablespoons

For the meringue

fresh organic egg whites 3
a pinch of fine sea salt
granulated sugar 80g / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon

For the cherry filling, in a medium saucepan, heat the cherries, sugar, and cinnamon over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar dissolved, stir in 2 tablespoons of the schnaps, close with a lid, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the cherries soften. Turn the heat down to low. Add 2 tablespoons of the liquid of the cherries to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch until smooth, pour back into the saucepan, stirring constantly until well combined. If you’d like the schnaps to be more prominent, add 1 tablespoon of the spirit. Pour the cherries and all the liquid into a wide pan and let them cool completely.

For the pastry, in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until crumbly. Add the water and, using the hooks of the stand mixer, mix until combined. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 210°C / 410°F (conventional setting).

On a table or countertop, place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll it into a circle, large enough to line a 23cm / 9″ shallow pie dish. Push the pastry into the dish, trim any excess dough off the rim with a knife, then prick the pastry all over with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Let the pastry cool completely before you assemble the pie.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg white and salt for 1 minute. Adding the sugar gradually, continue mixing for about 1-2 minutes or until stiff.

Preheat the oven to  210°C / 410°F (conventional setting).

Pour the cool cherries and all the liquid on top of the pastry. Scrape the stiff egg white on top, shape it to a dome and form little peaks with a knife to create an uneven surface. Bake for 7 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving, the cherries need to set.

The pie tastes best on the 1st and 2nd day, however, you need to keep it in the fridge, which softens the pastry.

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie