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« Coconut Scones | Main | Thoughts on Going Vegan: Week 4—The End? »

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Chocolate Cherry Cake

A month ago, I was unprepared to take on vegan baking. As a traditional baker (and purveyor of butter and cream), it was a sincere challenge for me to alter everything I thought I knew about baking. I complained about it loudly to anyone who would listen, as I scraped attempt after attempt into the trash. It wasn't that I didn't do enough research before creating recipes; I simply didn't have the experience with vegan baking to make the recipes my own.

I was unreasonable and, as a few of you pointed out, unfair to take my frustration with my own inadequacy at vegan baking out on a lifestyle choice. For this, I apologize.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

After two weeks of struggled baking, a switch finally clicked. The cakes and cookies that came out of the oven no longer went into the garbage can, but were proudly shared with family and friends. My goal to create vegan recipes that did not use hard-to-find or unusual ingredients was becoming a reality and I couldn't be happier. The recipes were not only dairy-free and egg-free, but absolutely delicious in their own right. It was an inspiration.

Even though my vegan challenge is over, I confess I haven't gone to the store to buy butter or eggs just yet (gasp!). When I find myself faced with a warm oven, I don't feel like I'm done creating and experimenting with vegan recipes. Over the next couple weeks, you might spot a few more popping up (and I think you'll fall in love with them as much as I did).

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Recently, I had several pounds of cherries resting in the refrigerator. They were an impulse buy at the market when I saw the price tag had considerably dropped. I ate my way through half the sweet fruit before I realized they were going to go bad before the rest would get eaten. One of the downsides to living alone is that when you buy pounds of several varieties of fruit at once, there is no conceivable way you'll be able to eat them all by yourself (note to self: lesson learned). With a chocolate craving in the back of my mind, and a love for cherries and chocolate, a cake seemed to be in order.

I honestly could have eaten half of this cake in a single sitting. It seems only fair to advise you, this cake should come with a warning label.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

This Chocolate Cherry Cake has a rich, chocolate base with sweet, bursting cherries. The cherries are folded into a basic chocolate cake batter before rising delicately in the oven and the final cake is topped with a dark, decadent chocolate glaze. Use high quality chocolate for the best flavor. I love to eat this cake chilled from the refrigerator, but it can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. This cake is simple to garnish and aims to impress.

One Year Ago: Blueberry Hand Pies
Two Years Ago: Margaritas

Chocolate Cherry Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Cookie + Kate

Yields 1 9-inch cake

Chocolate Cherry Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons vinegar (or lemon juice)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 cups dark cherries, pitted and halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil, and water. Using a spatula, mix the batter until smooth. Stir in the cherries.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Glaze
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons hot water
Chocolate shavings (for garnish)

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Stir in hot water and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. If the chocolate appears to seize up, keep stirring. After a few minutes, it will turn into a workable consistency.

Spread the icing lightly onto the cooled cake and garnish with chocolate shavings and cherries.

To store for longer than a day, place the cake into an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator. I preferred this cake best when cold, but you can certainly allow the cake to warm up to room temperature before serving.

Reader Comments (29)

That looks so delicious! Can't wait to try it :)

07.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie
I went all bug-eyed when I saw this recipe! It looks so delicious and rich. Oh man. And it's good that you've finally got your groove with vegan baking. I can't wait to see what's in store next :)
The photo with the pitted cherries is gorgeous. They look like they are bleeding :).
This looks delicious! I need to buy cherries, but everything else I have. Really like how you're continuing to explore vegan baking! I'd love to hear a round up of tips or things you've learned about vegan baking!!
This cake is lovely, and I'm happy to hear you haven't gone running back to animal products!
oh yes !!!
07.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterOla
Gorgeous photos! This looks divine.
If you had truly done your research on vegan baking you would have understood from the very beginning that it's simple. The idea that vegan cooking/baking requires special ingredients is purely a myth. It sounds like you were over complicating things in your head due to your assumptions on vegan cooking. Well I am glad you learned something.
07.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal
Oh my....This looks heavenly!
07.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlfie
Looks absolutely divine. I love a good chocolate cake and not only does this look beautiful you just know it will taste great too.
07.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpencer
when i saw this post i already knew the cake from cookie and kate! i must conffess i'm a little worried about it, i mean .. isn't a signal that too much time watching food blogs or what? hahha just kiddng i 've learned a lot from here and there. have you tried the banana honey cake that she has? you should!! my sister just loved and keep asking me that i do it again!! and she is not into the healthy-vegan eating, actually me either and enjoyed the recipe as well. well keep going !experiments are the key to succes :).
07.8.2012 | Unregistered Commentermaia
Wow this cake looks amazing! Well done!
07.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristine
Your struggle sound similar to the one I had upon moving to Colorado! I could cook just fine, but I could not manage to get those altitude adjustments to work for my baking. After multiple failed attempts at bread and brownies, I think I must have giving up baking for almost a year (!!!). And then, at some point, I couldn't take it anymore, and pushed through again, and like you said - something clicked. I got it! Kudos for you for pushing through and not taking a year to get it figured out like I did.
07.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica
07.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill
Wow, gorgeous!
I don't know you particularly well - more so pretend know you from a blog and that one awkward class where I think I indirectly insulted you, but I really did empathize (or at least think I did) with your frustrations with vegan baking and enjoyed reading those in particular. It really is a radical mindshift as you're stacking requirements on a basic human function that we often take for granted in our least it was for me, and I only went vegetarian as opposed to full-out vegan.

Kudos to you for exploring veganism and working out your frustrations.
07.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Beautiful photos, glad you enjoyed my cake recipe!
07.11.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCookie and Kate
This cake looks so rich and delicious - I love the color and texture! I'm featuring this post in Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and it's always a pleasure following you…
07.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJavelin Warrior
This is in the oven right now! It smells so good and if the taste of the batter is any indication, this is going to be scrumptious!

I think that any time we try something unfamiliar or even just non-mainstream, it can be very difficult. Sometimes in the kitchen it seems even more so! I'm not vegan (although I like to bake vegan when the ingredients are things I have on hand--no eggs=guilt free spoon licking!), but I do have some severe allergies and even though I've been dealing with and cooking around them for years, there are times when I'm trying to figure out what to make for dinner this week and EVERYTHING in the cookbook/internet that looks good has those things that will send me to the hospital.
07.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachael
That chocolate cake looks deliciously moist. Chocolate and cherries are such a classic combo too. Love your work Kristin.
07.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
I have been inspired by your posts on vegan living, and as a lactose intolerant and not a big meat eater, it seems to obvious thing to do. It is my daughter's 17th birthday tomorrow....this is going to be her birthday cake! Thank you!!!
07.24.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjoanne
This dark chocolate brown is wonderful, such a nice combo with the red cherries!!!
08.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmil
I made this cake today for my non-vegan family, and it was a hit! Thanks so much for this recipe. It's absolutely delicious.
12.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
Superb cake!

If you added some coconut you could call it a Cherry Ripe cake. I may just try that nextime.
12.27.2012 | Unregistered CommenterClaire
I know this is an old post, but I made this cake a couple times this summer, and my husband can't stop talking about it and wants it as his birthday cake this weekend! Unfortunately, fresh cherries are nowhere to be found this week. Do you think I could use frozen cherries? Maybe defrost them?

PS, I love your recipes. I've tried several and loved them! I should comment more. :)
02.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachael
Rachael-- Frozen cherries will work great. I wouldn't even defrost them before adding them to the cake, just add a minute or two to the final bake time. You could also use canned dark cherries (found in the canned fruit aisle).
02.6.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
This was a hit last summer! Since there aren't fresh cherries this season yet, I used a can of sweet, dark cherries and used the juice that came with it in place of water and the color was FABULOUS. The cake was equally as good!
03.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDean
I made this cake and I jazzed it up with a spider web on top of it for Halloween. I haven't tried it yet but I'm sure it will taste amazing. The only thing I would critique was the oven temperature. I had it set to 350 degrees but it took an hour to bake fully instead of 35 min. My oven might just be weird though. I'm so excited to taste it.
10.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha
I made this for boxing day for my family. My sister is allergic to eggs (perfect cake for her!) and my mum loves cherries (winner for her!). My sister's brother scoffed at the cake saying he wouldn't like it because of the cherries. Well, after some cajoling to try it (he heated it up so the glaze was oozy) he came back licking his bowl and taking another slice! Winner all around! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.
12.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJustine

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