Cake making is always a serious affair for me. I approach it with fear, anxiety and nervousness. I have slightly more confidence than I had a few years back but I am still a nervous wreck when I have a cake to be made. I recently made this Dark chocolate cherry cake with whipped cream and chocolate toppings for Hasini’s birthday party. I must say, I outdid myself. The recipe itself is unbelievably simple and fuss-free, it’s very hard to go wrong. That this simple and unassuming a recipe yields such a wondrously moist, deep chocolatey cake makes me wonder why I’ve separated eggs, beaten them separately & folded them gently in the past. I doubled the chocolate cake recipe from Bakingamoment site. It is a keeper. Lesson: A more complicated recipe is not necessarily a finer one. Sometimes a simple one is just as good or even better. Keep it simple.
Don’t be put off by the number of components to this cake. They’re each quite simple on their own. Together they make a beautiful Dark chocolate cherry cake that’s perfect for a birthday, a celebration or a special occasion.
Here are some images from the birthday celebrations. We had a cooking theme birthday party. Hasini and her friends made their own pizzas and decorated sugar cookies with royal icing. My Mamiyaar stitched custom aprons for all the kids. These aprons were the birthday favours. The kids wore these aprons while working on their pizza and cookies. Yuvan, the lone boy wore the blue apron.
The party menu was short and simple – pizza that the kids made, Dark cherry chocolate cake, French fries and ice cream. I used my mandolin slicer to make short work of about 3 kilos of potatoes, fried them and froze them a day before the party and then fried them just before serving time.
The kids relished the pizza more than usual because they had made them with their own hands. I hadn’t thought of that but was glad it worked out that way.
You know how our women always head to the kitchen in the host’s house to help, to offer a lending hand, to ease the pressure. I always loved that solidarity. As a mommy who has successfully conducted another kid’s birthday party I have a thank you note to read. I need to thank all the women who helped with this.
I thank all the mommies who responded to the invitation and actually turned up with their kids. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you cared about not disappointing my daughter. I thank my maamiyaar for forgetting her shoulder pain and enthusiastically jumping in to stitch a dozen aprons. I thank my sister for tying up all the balloons and for grating up a mountain of mozzarella. I thank my mother for doing the step 2 frying of the French fries. I thank my cousin Jothi for taking charge and for herding the kids. I thank my dear friend Menaka for stepping in as she always does when I need an extra pair of hands. I want to thank my maid too but don’t want to jinx my relationship with her. She is top priority.
One more birthday celebration completed. I need to add this achievement to my resume. In the meantime, if you make this cake, do let me know. Enjoy!
Dark chocolate cherry cake
- All purpose flour/Maida – 1-1/2 cups
- Granulated white sugar – 1-1/2 cups
- Cocoa powder – 1 cup
- Baking powder – 1.5 tsp
- Baking soda – 1.5 tsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Butter – 1 cup soft
- Eggs – 4 room temperature
- Yogurt – 1 cup
- Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
- Almond extract – 2 tsp
- Cherry pie filling - 1 cup
- Granulated white sugar – 5 tbsp
- Whipping cream – 1-1/2 cups
- Granulated white sugar – 3 tbsp
- Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
- Dark Chocolate – 250 gm
- Heavy cream – 1 cup
- Nutties – 2 boxes
- Ferrero rocher chocolates – 3
- Five Star bars – 2
- Kit-Kat bar – 1
- Twister wafer sticks - 2
Method – Chocolate cake
- 1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Grease and line 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper or butter paper.
- 2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well.
- 3. Add butter to the bowl and mix at low speed with a hand mixer until the butter is fully incorporated into the dry mixture and you have a wet-sand kind of texture.
- 4. Break eggs into the bowl and mix at medium speed until the eggs are fully mixed in.
- 5. Add yogurt and flavour extracts and mix again until you everything is nicely mixed up and you have a lovely chocolatey batter.
- 6. Divide the batter into the three pans and level the batter.
- 7. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 40-45 minutes. Test at 35 minutes with a toothpick inserted into cake. The toothpick should come out clean with a few moist crumbs. If the toothpick comes out with batter, bake for more time. Check periodically.
- 8. Once done, remove the cake pans from the oven and leave on the counter for 20 minutes or fully cooled down. Invert onto a plate, remove the parchment paper and allow to cool for another 15 minutes.
- 9. Wrap with cling film and chill in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before decorating the cakes. You can leave them overnight in the fridge and decorate the next day too.
Method – Cherry filling
- 1. Measure one cup of cherry pie filling into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and stir well.
- 2. Place the saucepan on the stove, turn heat to low and keep stirring. The cherry mixture will turn a little runny when the sugar dissolves and then turn thicker and thicker. Keep stirring. Switch off when the filling is a nice jammy consistency.
- 3. Allow to cool completely. Transfer to a clean container and refrigerate until cake decorating time.
Method – Whipped cream
- 1. To a large bowl, add the whipping cream and sugar. Stir well. Place the beaters and the bowl with the whipping cream in the fridge for 2 hours.
- 2. Take the bowl from the fridge and beat on high speed for about 45 second. You should have soft peaks now. When you lift the beaters out of the cream, the peaks will droop down.
- 3. Add vanilla extract and any food colour at this point and beat again for 20-30 seconds. You should have stiff peaks now. When you lift the beaters out, the peaks will stay upright. Stop at this stage. Spoon the whipped cream into piping bags to decorate the cake. If you’re going to decorate later, transfer the whipped cream to a clean container and refrigerate.
- Method – Chocolate Ganache
- 1. Break chocolate up into small pieces and place in a medium bowl.
- 2. Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Switch off. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces.
- 3. Stir well until all the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth, shiny ganache. Allow to cool
Method - Cake Assembly
- 1. Using a long, sharp serrated knife, trim the chilled cakes to have flat tops.
- 2. Place a small dollop of whipped cream at the centre of the cake board and place the first cake on it.
- 3. Spread cherry filling on the cake. Pipe a layer of whipped cream over the cherry filling and smooth out gently.
- 4. Place another layer of the cake on the whipped cream.
- 5. You can either stop with two layers or add the third cake as well. I used just two of the three cakes I made as I didn’t want a very tall cake. The third one is still sitting in my freezer. If you are going to use all three cakes, then repeat by spreading a layer of cherry filling and then a layer of whipped cream.
- 6. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream frosting. Use an open star tip to make stars at the bottom edge of the cake.
- 7. Check your ganache for its consistency. If the ganache has cooled down completely, it will be too thick to flow and make those pretty little drips. That’s what happened with mine. My ganache was too cold by the time I poured on the cake. It was more a spreading consistency than a pouring consistency. If you’re chocolate ganache has indeed thickened a lot, heat ever so lightly till the ganache is a pouring/dripping consistency.
- 8. Pour along the edges of the cake and allow to drip over the edge of the cake. Then pour on the top of the cake and spread to cover the top.
- 9. Refrigerate the cake until serving time.
- 10. Before serving, place the chocolates (Five star, kitkat, nutties, Ferrero rocher balls, twister stickes) on the cake. Enjoy!