brownie but better // dark chocolate cherry cake

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Oddly, I felt like typing up a rather lengthy side story a few hours ago but now I would rather just talk about this cake, which would take just a moment really because there are not many words needed.

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It started with cherries. Specifically the need to arrange them in perfect concentric circles because I couldn’t quite manage to do so last cherry season, and I had to get it off my to-bring-to-life list.

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The next step was to decide between a tart or cake as the base for the cherry arrangement. I put it to a poll on my Instagram and the majority of the people picked tart. Being the rebel I am I hence picked cake. I kid – sorry guys I was in the mood for chocolate cake after all.

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I used this chocolate cake recipe because it was easy to put together with just a handful of ingredients and also majorly delivered on flavour. I rarely repeat recipes twice so I promise you that this one’s a keeper. It’s dense, fudgy, extremely chocolaty – everything an unforgettable brownie should be, except that it’s cake. To hold the cherries in place, I topped the cake with cream cheese lightened with whipped cream and mixed in a drizzle of honey and a touch of vanilla because there’s really nothing else it needs.

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Cake

makes a 6 inch cake

For the cake:

100 grams unsalted butter, cut into chunks

100 grams bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

75 grams sugar

42 grams all-purpose flour

For the cream cheese topping:

70 grams cream cheese, softened

60 ml cream, whipped to soft peaks

about 1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate:

cherries, stems plucked, pitted and halved

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Line a 6-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

Put the butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Scatter the chopped chocolate over the butter and let the ingredients melt slowly, stirring from time to time, then remove the bowl from the saucepan. (Otherwise, you could melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave, which is what I did, but be careful not to burn the chocolate.)

Beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture lightens in colour. Mix in the flour until incorporated, mix in the chocolate-butter mixture. Scrape batter into the cake pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway during the baking time. When the cake is done, the top will be dry and crinkly and a thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the centre will come out slightly moist or with just a few crumbs. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let rest for 3 minutes, then run a table knife around the edges and unmold it unto the rack. Allow to cool to room temperature before decorating.

Make the cream cheese topping: Beat the cream cheese till light and fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream. Stir in honey and vanilla extract. Use immediately.

To decorate: Frost the top of the cooled cake with the cream cheese topping. You don’t have to be too precise about it since you’ll be covering the entire surface with the cherries. Arrange the cherry halves in concentric circles starting from the outside in.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Cake recipe from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan.

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