Come Easter, when the bunny is all tuckered out* from his chocolate deliveries, I’m sure we’ll all have the odd bar or egg that could be put to good use in a rather glorious cake, no? I mean, surely it’s better to get them out the way before I’m tempted to devour them in one sitting? This way you can share them around – surely that’s the heathy option despite the additional cream, and butter and jam.
And of course the creator of this delight – David Lebovitz – knows good cake. Yes, I’m pretty sure this cake is the right thing to do. Just think about that light, fluffy chocolate cake filled with boozy cherry jam and smothered in a soft, smooth chocolate ganache.
Now I should probably confess that this cake is designed to make a feature of several types of vanilla – Tahitian and Mexican are called for in the original. Me being me only had Madagascan to hand (and to be honest that’s all I’ll ever have). I’m quite sure that if you have a good enough pantry to stock different origin vanillas this cake would be quite extraordinary but rest assured, as long as you use good quality extract (not essence) you’ll end up with a pretty-darned-good cake.
I also reduced the amount of sugar (sorry David, I know if I fiddle with recipes they won’t come out as you describe) but quite frankly, I often find American recipes too sweet and I’m trying to be a good diabetic. With all that jam I really didn’t miss the extra sugar and neither did any of my family who happily devoured the lot.
Chocolate, vanilla and cherry cake
This is the recipe I followed with less sugar and one type of vanilla. The original is from David Lebovitz’ wonderful Great Book of Chocolate
For the cake:
- 280g plain flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½tsp salt
- 375ml sour cream
- 250g sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 30g unsalted butter, melted
- 4tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 230g good quality cherry jam
- 2tbsp kirsch or framboise
- 2tsp vanilla extract
For the truffle frosting:
- 120g sugar
- 250ml double cream
- 115g plain chocolate
- 115g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1tbsp vanilla extract
First make your cakes:
Preheat your oven to 175°C and grease and line two 23cm round cake tins.
Over a big bowl, sift together the dry ingredients except the sugar. In a large jug whisk the wet ingredients with the sugar. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
Divide the batter into the two tins and bake for 20-25mins. Try not to overbake as the cakes will dry out. Remove from tins and leave to cool.
While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:
In a medium pan bring the cream and sugar to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 8 mins, stirring from time to time.
Remove the cream and sugar from the heat and stir in the butter, chocolate and vanilla. Leave to cool then chill for several hours so it becomes thick enough to spread.
When you are ready to assemble the cake stir together the jam, kirsch and vanilla. Place one of the cakes upside down on a serving dish (secure with a little frosting). Spread the jam over the top leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Put the second cake the right way up on top of the jam. Smooth the forsting over the cake.
The frosting recipe is very generous and you will probably have some left over. The original recipe suggests piping some rosettes for decoration but I saved mine in a small bowl in the fridge to sandwich between cookies. It would also be good as a macaron filling or warmed and poured over ice cream. Or you could just eat it with a spoon…
* Make that bunnies. Apparently even a cardboard tube makes a good pillow…