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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chocolate cherry cake

I've made variations on this cake a number of times. The method for it is incredibly simple; it's all made in one saucepan! Do try it - it's difficult to go back to multiple bowls and implements after these sorts of cakes.
This a very simple chocolate cake I found in Nigella's "How to be a Domestic Goddess". It deviously appears twice; once as a full cake with orange flavouring, and once as cupcakes with cherry tastes. In both instances the flavouring is provided by adding a jar of jam to the mixture, which is not nearly as sickly sweet as you'd expect.

Almost exactly a year ago I made cupcake versions of this cake, using bottled cherries rather than the cherry jam she suggests, and on several occasions I've made the chocolate orange store-cupboard cake using jars of the very bitter grapefruit marmalade I attempted making last year (I don't mention what's in the marmalade cos I don't think "chocolate grapefruit cakes" sound terribly tempting, to be honest. I get around this labelling 'issue' by going for the generic "chocolate citrus cakes!". Seems to fool the punters sufficiently...) Seriously, this is a cake you can whip up and have in the oven in about 10 minutes, and you'll have nothing to wash up afterwards except 1 saucepan and a few spoons. Plus, it looks pretty damn fine, doesn't it? This is the first time I've managed to get my chocolate ganache absolutely perfect. That gorgeous texture that starts to run photogenically down the sides of the cake but sets just in time. Previously I've always beat the ganache too long so it turns out like cake icing or whipped cream. Still pretty, but nothing like this. I'm very happy with this attempt! :-) Let's hope it wasn't a horrible aberration.
Update 13 April: I've just changed the cooking time and ingredients for this, as I used the recipe from when I made it in cupcake form and realised I hadn't updated all sections. If you've printed it out already I suggest doing it again! So sorry!
Read on for the recipe:

Chocolate Cherry Cake
adapted from "How to be a Domestic Goddess"

125g soft butter
100g dark chocolate, broken
300g cherry jam (good stuff with not too much sugar added)

100g sugar (Nigella uses 150g. Up to you how sweet you want it)
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour

100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream

Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and combined. Add the jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when is all well acombined stir in the flour. it's ok to have chunks of the jam still visible; desirable in fact!

Pour into a buttered and floured 20-22 cm loose bottomed cake tin. Bake at 180˚C oven for 45-50 minutes, until the cake has set (test with a knife or wooden stick).
Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
When the cake is cool, break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, let cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes, and then whisk until thick and smooth.


  • oooohhh ... I am so going to bake this one day, even without a proper oven!

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 4/12/2006 06:59:00 pm  

  • That looks wonderful! And yes, also sounds incredibly easy...I love it when you put flowers on your cakes :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/12/2006 07:11:00 pm  

  • ooohhh aaah. yum! chocolate and cherry's go so very well this. i have a citrus marmalade i'd like to put to go use. perhaps this will be the perfect recipe for it. thank nikki, you are always so inspirational when it comes to baked goods!

    By Blogger deborah, at 4/12/2006 07:47:00 pm  

  • A friend made the orange-chocolate cake and it is an absolute cracker. I've tried it and ended up with chocolate lava all over the oven (I seem to recall the recipe specifying a jar of quality marmalade and I used an el cheap brand - maybe that was my mistake). I didn't notice the cherry version, I think I'll have to have another go; you cake just looks beautiful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/12/2006 11:02:00 pm  

  • Niki - I've made Nigella's store cupboard chocolate orange cake zillion times already - it's absolutely divine. And yes, one major attraction is the minuscule amount of dishes to wash up afterwards - a saucepan, a wooden spoon and baking dish. How cool is that!
    Will have to try the cherry version now!

    By Blogger Pille, at 4/13/2006 12:13:00 am  

  • Niki!

    Thank you for this wonderful and easy recipe. It looks so yummy. I'm definitely keeping this one on file!

    Check out my new food blog!

    By Blogger Dianka, at 4/13/2006 02:45:00 am  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Dianka, at 4/13/2006 02:46:00 am  

  • Man, that cake is just beautiful! I have to try that - and it sounds like a perfect way to use up jars of jam :)

    By Blogger Anne, at 4/13/2006 06:16:00 am  

  • Hi there, I found your blog a while back whilst looking for a sake steak & soba noodle recipe and I've been reading ever since. I have had the chocolate cherry cupcake recipe bookmarked in my How To Be A Domestic Goddess ever since I got it but I've never made it because I thought that it might be a little too sickly but after seeing your cake version, I'm definately determined that it'll be my next project (especially since I happen to have a jar of black cherry jam handy!) H xxx

    By Blogger H, at 4/13/2006 08:37:00 am  

  • Mm - Definitely worth doing. It's so damn easy!

    Joey - So easy. Thanks for the compliment. Flowers are the easiest thing to grab when you want to decorate a cake. These were growing in our backyard.

    Saffron - I have your chocolate cherry brownies marked to make this weekend. They look so gorgeous! And thank you for the inspirational comment!

    Din - The first time I made the chocolate-marmalade cake it was a disaster. I used lime marmalade and it tasted absolutely revolting. So bitter and awful. I nearly gave up after that, until I discovered the cherry cupcakes and realised what a good recipe it really is.

    Pille - It's a great recipe, and I have to thank you for having it on your site bc here at work I realised that my cooking times were wrong and I'd left out half the ingredients! Without the book here I had to search on the internet for the recipe, and found it on yours!

    Dianka - I bet your file is getting bigger and bigger!

    By Blogger Niki, at 4/13/2006 10:46:00 am  

  • Niki - I made a cake with strawberry jam recently. At first was put off by the idea - but I'm sure it just replaces some of the sugar and you get a little fruit in the bargain! Yours is beautiful and it sounds yummy! Easy is just my speed!

    By Blogger Cathy, at 4/13/2006 12:36:00 pm  

  • Oooh what a gorgeous cake!
    I may just try this out for my daughter's birthday at the end of the month... thank you!

    By Blogger Bron, at 4/14/2006 01:22:00 pm  

  • very nice, thanks for sharing.
    I'll make this for my best friend birthday.

    By Blogger Mai, at 4/14/2006 04:03:00 pm  

  • Hi,

    First time on your blog.

    Thats a gorgeuos cake !


    By Blogger lost in thoughts, at 4/15/2006 01:05:00 am  

  • I made this yesterday for a lunch today - it was lovely! I'm not sure what happened to the ganache icing - it beat up quite thick, so didn't run or drip anywhere! VERY tasty though - thank you!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/15/2006 06:11:00 pm  

  • funny about your change. i came back this morning to write down the ingredients as i am planning on making a version of this into little cupcakes. i suppose ill just go with with rule of 15 - 20 minutes for baking.

    By Blogger deborah, at 4/16/2006 09:39:00 am  

  • This recipe sounds too good to be true. One saucepan?? Unbelievable! I have to try this ... maybe with ginger marmelade ... mmm!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/18/2006 08:39:00 am  

  • Hi Niki - I finally gave the cherry cupcake version a try yesterday - absolutely delicious! Thanks for the inspiration. Nigella rules:)

    By Blogger Pille, at 4/18/2006 09:59:00 pm  

  • Cathy - definitely your sort of cake then!! I say try the strawberry jam (and let me know)

    Bron & Mai - do let me know how it turns out!

    Spicehut - thanks!

    Selwyn - very interesting! Was it really cold in your kitchen? I have to refridgerate mine before it'll start to thicken up in any way!

    Saffron - Yes, I'd say 15-20 minutes would be fine.

    Tania - ginger marmalade sounds amazing!! I've got to try that idea!

    By Blogger Niki, at 4/22/2006 04:32:00 pm  

  • I just love quick and easy cakes where it all just gets mixed together and produces such a great result. Anyone can make a cake when it's so simple!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/05/2006 06:46:00 am  

  • best

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/02/2006 07:35:00 pm  

  • best

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/02/2006 07:36:00 pm  

  • brilliant thanks - I absolutely adore choclate & cherries in combination and been meaning to make this for aages but somehow never did (and never bought nigella's book)... so finally made it yesterday!
    and only when i put it together did i realise that this is really just an ordinary brownie recipe with cherry jam in it (and/or bottled cherries, yum), and baked into the shape of cupcakes/a "proper" cake...
    Somehow it makes Nigella seem like less of a genius suddenly, but the cake of course is absolutely to die for!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/07/2007 06:45:00 pm  

  • Thank you Nikki for sharing on this site. I tried the chocolate cherry cake, with cherries I had soaking in vodka, and I entered it in a cherry bake off, and I am delighted to say, I took 1st place. I have never made it in the pan like that before. Very nice. You are awesome.

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