Moist Chocolate-Cherry Ganache Layer Cake
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup boiling water
Cherry Ganache Filling Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brandy
10 oz. (300 grams) dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Grease the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans. Line with waxed or parchment paper and again butter and flour the pans.
2. In a bowl or 4-cup measuring cup combine milk and vinegar to make sour milk. Allow to rest for a few minutes as you measure out the dry ingredients.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder and soda into a medium mixing bowl. Add butter, eggs and extracts to the sour milk.
4. Pour the salt and wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a hand mixer for 2 minutes.
5. Add the cocoa powder to the boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Quickly add to the cake batter, mixing until just combined.
6. Distribute batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick tester come out clean.
7. Cool cakes in pans for 30 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting with your favorite cream cheese frosting, if desired.
Cherry Ganache Filling:
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer water and sugar until dissolved. Add brandy and turn off heat.
2. Pour sugar/brandy mixture over dried cherries and refrigerate overnight.
3. The next day: drain the cherries, reserving the soaking liquid.
4. Chop dark chocolate and melt in a microwave or double boiler.
5. Warm the cream and butter. Whisk 1/4 cup of soaking liquid, warm cream and butter into the melted chocolate until smooth.
6. Fold in the plumped cherries. Store ganache in refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until it is firm enough to spread.
1. Spread ganache filling thickly over one of the cooled cake layers.
2. Place the cake layers in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, or until the ganache is firm.
3. Place the second cake layer on top of the ganached layer.
4. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting all over the cake.
5. Return cake to the refrigerator for 30 minutes, until frosting is firm.
6. Frost the entire cake with a thick layer of frosting.
7. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and decorate with maraschino cherries.
Pairs Well With
Who doesn't love cherries? I created this cake recipe for National Cherry Day, which falls on July 16. Whether scattered over ice cream, wrapped in a pie crust or savored with a tall glass of milk, cherries are irresistible. What's special about this cake recipe? Brandied cherries folded into a ganache filling take this cake to the next level. Skip the cream cheese frosting for a less-sweet dessert and serve the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar. For special occasions, add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for extra elegance. Accompanied by brandy-spiked coffee or a stout beer such as Guinness, you'll have an outstanding finale to any meal.