Indulge in the ultimate dessert experience with this Cherry Chocolate Cake. This rich and moist chocolate cake is topped with a homemade cherry filling and finished with a luscious fudgy homemade chocolate frosting. Perfect for any occasion, this cake is sure to impress and delight your taste buds with its decadent layers and burst of cherry flavor.

This cake combination is also known as black forest cake, but this recipe is done without cherry liqueur, so I did not title it black forest. If you are a fan of cherries, you also need to check out my The Best Cherry Cheesecake Bars Recipe, which uses this same cherry filling on top of creamy homemade cheesecake bars.

Freshly baked cherry chocolate cake

The Chemistry of Chocolate Cherry Cake

The magic of this cherry chocolate cake lies in the balance of rich, chocolatey flavors with the bright, tart cherry filling. The combination of cocoa powder, hot water, and vegetable oil creates a moist and dense cake. The buttermilk adds tenderness, while baking powder and baking soda ensure the cake rises perfectly. The cherry filling, thickened with cornstarch, adds a burst of flavor, while the fudgy chocolate frosting ties everything together with a creamy finish.

What is in Chocolate Cherry Cake?

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Cocoa Powder

Provides a rich, sweet chocolate flavor. Creates a dark brown color in your treat. Absorbs water in your batter or dough at the same rate as flour. That means, if you add too much, you could end up with a dried, crumbly finished product.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Baking Soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter or dough. It increases the spread in your treat and encourages browning, which gives the crispy outside and soft inside texture that everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will activate your baking soda are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk and sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, which is right when it’s mixed into your batter or dough. The soda creates little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Vegetable Oil

100% fat, contains no water and has a higher melting point. This means it will not melt down in your oven, resulting in thicker cookies or brownies. It doesn’t help leaven your treat like butter can, so it can make your treat flatter and greasier.

Hot Water

The hot water blooms the cocoa powder making the flavor richer.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Buttermilk

Adds moisture and helps to tenderize the gluten, creating a soft crumb and tangy flavor. It also helps rise the pH level of your batter, increasing the rise from the baking powder.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Cherries

Provide a burst of tart flavor in the filling.

Cornstarch

Helps create a crumbly tender texture to toppings. Softens cookies, brownies and cakes. And it can also thicken sauces and fillings.

Lemon Juice

Adds brightness and balances the sweetness in the filling.

Unsalted Butter

It is always important to use unsalted butter when baking. If you use salted butter, you have no way of knowing how much salt you are adding to your dough or batter and it will result in an overly salted treat.

Butter adds fats to your dough or batter which helps with moistness, flavor and texture. Butter melts at body temperature, which creates a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

When baking with butter the temperature is important. If the butter is too warm your treat will melt down too fast and overspread in the oven, leaving you with a greasy, flat mess. If your butter is too cold it will have the opposite problem and not melt down enough, leaving your treat too thick.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Chocolate Chips

Is a form of chocolate. Chocolate chips are not pure chocolate, they are typically made up of cocoa, sugar, emulsifier and vanilla.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Makes a softer, more spreadable frosting. When melted with chocolate it adds more fat and moisture to the mixture, resulting in a silkier blend.

Freshly baked cherry chocolate cake

How do you make cherry chocolate cake?

Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a standing mixer and mix on low speed. If you do not want to use a stand mixer, you can use a large mixing bowl, electric mixer, or wooden spoon.
  3. Now add the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and pour the hot water and vegetable oil in. Turn off the mixer after you have poured both in.
  4. Add the eggs and stir until just combined.
  5. Turn the mixer on low again and pour the buttermilk in. Add the vanilla extract in after.
  6. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the chocolate cake batter evenly into two 9-inch cake pans that have been greased and lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake is done baking when a few moist crumbs come out on a fork or toothpick inserted into the center of it.
  9. Remove the cake and allow to cool in the pan.

Cherry Filling

  1. Combine with pitted fresh cherries, cornstarch, and sugar in a medium or small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all the cherries are coated.
  2. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and stir until combined.
  3. Allow the mixture to reach a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the mixture has thickened, take it off the heat.

Frosting

  1. In a microwave safe bowl add the heavy cream and chocolate chips. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir thoroughly. Repeat once and then stir until all the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  2. In a standing mixer add the butter and mix until softened.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined, it will be dry and clumpy.
  4. Add the chocolate ganache mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Turn the mixer on high and whip for 2 minute until lighter in color and texture.

Assemble

  1. Once the cake is out and slightly cooled, but still a warm cake, poke holes on top of the cake.
  2. Pour the warm cherry mixture on top of the cake. Spread so that the mixture seeps into the holes.
  3. Cover the cherry chocolate cake with freshly whipped frosting. Spread until fully covered.
  4. Slice and serve!
Freshly baked cherry chocolate cake

Storage Tips

Store your cherry chocolate cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days to keep it fresh. For longer storage, refrigerate it for up to a week. You can also freeze the cake for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

This cake is best enjoyed within the first few days of baking when it maintains its moist texture and fresh flavor. At room temperature, it will stay fresh for about 3 days. Refrigeration can extend its shelf life to about a week, and freezing can preserve it for up to 3 months.

Freezing Options

To freeze the cake, let it cool completely and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped cake in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving to enjoy the best texture and flavor.

Making Ahead

This cake is perfect for making ahead of time. You can bake the cake layers and prepare the cherry filling up to 2 days in advance. Store the cake layers wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature, and the cherry filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Prepare the frosting and assemble the cake on the day you plan to serve it for the freshest taste.

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Freshly baked cherry chocolate cake

Why make cherry chocolate cake?

This cherry chocolate cake is a delightful treat that combines the rich flavors of chocolate and the tartness of cherries in every bite. Perfect for any occasion, this cake is sure to impress and satisfy any sweet tooth.

Combining the richness of chocolate with the tartness of cherries, this cake is a match made in heaven. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply craving a delicious treat, this cake is sure to satisfy. I hope you enjoy making and devouring this delightful dessert as much as I do!

FAQs

Yes, you can use frozen cherries. Thaw them completely and drain any excess liquid before using them in the recipe to prevent the filling from becoming too watery.

Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate it for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Yes, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free blend suitable for baking. Ensure the blend contains xanthan gum or another binder to maintain the cake’s structure.

Absolutely! You can use other fruit fillings, such as raspberry, strawberry, or blueberry. Adjust the sugar and lemon juice amounts based on the fruit’s sweetness and tartness.

Recipes You May Love

The Best Chocolate Cherry Cake

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Assemble: 15 minutes
Servings: 20
Rich, dense, and moist double chocolate cake, topped with cherry filling and fudgy chocolate frosting.

Ingredients 

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cherry Filling

  • 2 cups cherries
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Frosting

  • 1 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  • In a standing mixer combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Turn the mixer on low and pour the hot water and vegetable oil in. Turn off the mixer after you have poured both in.
  • Add the eggs and stir until just combined.
  • Turn the mixer on low again and pour the buttermilk in. Add the vanilla extract in after.
  • Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour the batter evenly into two 9-inch cake pans that have been greased and lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Remove the cake and allow to cool in the pan.

Cherry Filling

  • Combine with pitted cherries, cornstarch, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all the cherries are coated.
  • Add the lemon juice and vanilla, stir until combined.
  • Allow the mixture to reach a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the mixture has thickened, take it off the heat.

Frosting

  • In a microwave safe bowl add the heavy cream and chocolate chips. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir thoroughly. Repeat once and then stir until all the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • In a standing mixer add the butter and mix until softened.
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined, it will be dry and clumpy.
  • Add the chocolate ganache mixture and stir until combined.
  • Turn the mixer on high and whip for 2 minute until lighter in color and texture.

Assemble

  • Once the cake is out and slightly cooled, poke holes on top of the cake.
  • Pour the warm cherry mixture on top of the cake. Spread so that the mixture seeps into the holes.
  • Cover the cherry chocolate cake with freshly whipped frosting. Spread until fully covered.
  • Slice and serve!

Nutrition

Calories: 409kcal Carbohydrates: 53g Protein: 3g Fat: 22g Saturated Fat: 10g Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0.4g Cholesterol: 46mg Sodium: 154mg Potassium: 148mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 41g Vitamin A: 379IU Vitamin C: 1mg Calcium: 41mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Freshly baked cherry chocolate cake