As I'm sure you're all aware today is National Cherry Day. No? Me either!
I love Cherries so in honour of these delicious fruits I am sharing with you my Chocolate and Cherry cream cake recipe. This has four layers of Chocolate sponge, soaked with Cherry Brandy and filled with chocolate ganache and Cherries, covered in cream and topped with more cherries and chocolate!
Perfect for pudding after a summer BBQ, or a dinner party or with a lovely cup of tea (while the kids are at school or in bed so you don't have to share it!)
We need to take a step back for a second to remember that this post is about National Cherry Day which was created to raise awareness for the Great British Cherry in order to maintain our traditional Cherry Orchards.
Here are a few Cherry facts:
1. Cherries were introduced to Britain from Persia by the Romans. They say you can see the paths they used as they spat the stones out along the way lining the paths with trees. I quite like that story.
2. Britain lost 90% of it's Cherry Orchards during the wars at the beginning of the 1900's to make room to grow more vital crops. Due to the lack of Orchards now Britain imports 95% of the cherries we consume.
3. Cherry trees give us mistletoe, and its fruits feeds many wild birds and insects.
4. Just 10 cherries make up one of your 5 a day. Cherries are a great source of Fibre, Vitamin C and Potassium.
5. Cherry season is very short running from Mid June to Mid September
6. Cherry stones contain amygdalin, which becomes cyanide when metabolised by the body. Best to spit them out then!
7. Before hot water bottles were invented heated Cherry stones were placed in pans to warm up your bed.
There are so many ways to enjoy Cherries, my personal favourites include Bakewell Tarts and Cherry Gin!
For something a little different though give this Chocolate and Cherry cream cake a go, you won't be disappointed.
Chocolate and Cherry Cream Cake
185g Self raising flour
40g Cocoa powder
175g Light brown sugar
50g White granulated sugar
4 Large eggs
4 Tablespoons Cherry Brandy
225g Pitted cherries
40g Granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons Lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cornflour
100ml Double cream
100g Dark chocolate
300ml Double cream
Preheat the oven to 180/160 fan/Gas Mark 4
Line 2 x 8" cake tins with parchment paper
Cream both the sugars and the margarine until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Combine the flour and cocoa powder and add to the wet mix. Gently stir the mixture until all of the ingredients are combined. Don't overmix, just until you can't see any of the flour and cocoa powder.
Pour the mixture equally into the lined cake tins.
Place in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes. The cakes are done when they are springy to touch and the sides are starting to come away from the tin.
Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then turn them out onto cooling racks.
Put the cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornflour in a pan and bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat and continue to cook for 10 minutes stirring frequently.
Set aside and leave to cool.
Warm the cream in the microwave or in a pan. Make sure not to burn it.
Stir the chocolate into the cream and it will start to melt. Keep stirring until you have a smooth mixture. You may need to heat it a little more. Do this slowly making sure not to burn the mixture.
Set aside and leave to cool. It will begin to set as it cools. It needs a to be thick enough to spread.
Building the Cake
Firstly you need to cut your cakes in half so you have 4 layers of sponge.
Pour the Cherry Brandy over 2 of the layers. These will be your middle layers.
For the ease of explaining how to build your cake I will name the two plain sponges 1 and 4 and the two Brandy soaked sponges 2 and 3.
On your base layer (sponge 1) spread half of your chocolate filling, then place a Brandy soaked layer (sponge 2) on top.
Spread sponge 2 with the cherry filling and place your second Brandy soaked layer (sponge 3) on top.
Spread your remaining chocolate filling on to sponge 3 and place the second plain sponge (sponge 4) on top.
Whip the double cream until you have firm peaks, be careful not to overmix.
Decorate the cake how you like. I chose cream swirls topped with cherries and grated chocolate.
#1 Make sure your sponges are completely cooled before you cut them or try to build your cake.
#2 Put your whisk and bowl in the fridge for 15minutes before whipping the cream.
#3 Make your fillings first as they take the longest time to cool.