Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup warm milk (1% preferred)
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder (can be a blend of natural and dutched cocoa)
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 4 cups (1 lb.) fresh pitted cherries
- 1/2 cup golden rum (Bacardi Gold used)
- 1/4 cup cold filtered water
- Cherry Cream Frosting:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temp
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 16 oz (2 blocks) cream cheese, soften to room temp and cut into 16 pieces
- 4 Tbsp of the reserved cherry/rum syrup
Adapted from natashaskitchen.com
Boozing your Cherries:
1. Weigh out 1 lb. of fresh Northwest cherries. Rinse, drain and pit your cherries.
2. Roughly chop your pitted cherries and place them in a medium bowl with 1/2 cup golden rum. Let sit at room temp for 1 hour then drain cherries in a sieve over a bowl. Keep both the cherries and the syrup.
Making the Cake Layers:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour two, 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat together 4 Tbsp soft butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat on high speed for 7 min. until light and fluffy. Whisk in 1 cup warm milk until smooth.
3. Sift together 1 1/3 cups flour, 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa, 1/8 tsp salt and 2 1/2 tsp baking powder. Fold the sifted mixture into the batter just until combined. Transfer to your prepared cake pans and bake at 350F for 30 min or until toothpick comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and once the cakes are cool enough to handle, transfer to wire racks for them to cool completely.
Making the Frosting:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix the 2 sticks of butter with 3 cups powdered sugar and salt on low speed or until combined (1 min.). Don't start on high speed or you will be surrounded in a cloud of powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
2. Add cream cheese 1-piece at a time and mix until combined. Once all of the cream cheese incorporated, continue to beat 1 more minute.
3. Add 4 Tbsp reserved cherry liquid, 1 Tbsp at a time and mix until combined. Reserve the remaining cherry syrup. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.
Assembling the Cake:
1. Once you are ready to assemble the cake, slice each of your cake layers in half horizontally into two even layers. A serrated knife works best. Place one layer cut side up on a cake stand.
2. Stir 1/4 cup cold filtered water into the remaining cherry rum syrup. Generously brush the first cake layer with 1/3 of the cherry rum syrup. Cover the top with frosting and top with 1/3 of the chopped boozy cherries. Repeat the next three layers but don't put any syrup or frosting over the final layer. Refrigerate your unfrosted cake for 15-20 minutes to let it rest, then frost tops and sides.
Notes: this cake is the moistest, and softest when it sits at room temp for at least 30 min before serving.