Chocolate covered cherry cordials. You either love 'em, or you hate 'em. Me, I stand firmly in this camp:
Love 'em! I've loved them since I was a little girl, when my mother would share one or two from the box my dad would get her for Valentine's Day or Christmas.
I even had a certain approach to eating one of these little bombs of goodness. First, you turned the dome upside-down, and inspected the bottom for drips of syrup. These were licked off, then tiny nibbles were taken all around the bottom edge to break the seal.
Next, you used your front teeth to pry off the bottom cap of chocolate. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
Left with basically a chocolate cup filled with syrup and a cherry, I would do my best impression of a Russian vodka lover tossing back a jigger. Head back, swift shot down the throat. Lastly, I would stuff the remaining cup of chocolate into my mouth somewhat inelegantly and think about having another.
Over the years I've eaten many a box of cordials; experimented with making my own, and eaten some gourmet chocolate cherries along the way, too. When looking for a new direction for a chocolate Bundt cake, I couldn't help but think of a giant cherry cordial in Bundt form.
Fresh cherries weren't in season while I was developing this recipe, so I turned to dried cherries, plus maraschino cherries and their juice*. Chunks of chocolate in a deep-dark, fudgy, cherry-studded cake – here we are, in business!
Let's make Double Cherry Chocolate Cake.
Dried fruits can be made softer by a little steeping in liquid. While you're gathering and measuring your ingredients, place 1 cup chopped dried cherries in 2 cups milk. and let sit.
When you're ready to make the batter, drain the cherries and reserve them in a bowl. Save your cherry-flavored milk for the batter.
*Yes, you can use 1 cup of fresh cherries diced up. They aren’t super juicy like strawberries, so I’d reduce the milk by only 1/4 cup.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. Bundt cakes are notorious for sticking, so be sure to grease and flour well, skip the pan spray this time.
In the bowl of your mixer combine:
8 tablespoons soft butter
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup King Arthur All-Purpose Baking Cocoa
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup of the reserved milk
Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape the bowl well.
Add the remaining 1 cup of milk, plus 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice. Beat for another 2 minutes.
If you have discs or wafers, definitely try them in this recipe. The big melted pools of chocolate with the cherry pieces are just divine.
Bake the cake for 40 t0 50 minutes. One key way to know if the cake is fully baked is to check the cracks. Cracks are normal for this cake, and should look moist but not wet.
The toothpick/cake tester method is excellent as well, but chances are you'll hit a pocket of chocolate and that can always throw things off.
By the way, did you know that a strand of uncooked spaghetti makes a great cake tester for deep bundt cakes? You can get to the center much more easily than a toothpick.
See? Moist but not really wet at the bottom of the crack.
Set the pan on a rack and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out carefully and allow it to cool completely before slicing and serving.
If you'd like even more cherry flavor, you can brush on 1/4 cup Kirsch or cherry liqueur as the cake cools. A simple vanilla glaze over the top of the cake is all that's needed for decoration.
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So, how do you feel about cherries and chocolate? Raspberries more your thing? Leave us a comment about your favorite fruit and chocolate combo. Who knows, it may lead to another great recipe!