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Moist Chocolate Cake From Scratch With Cream Cheese Frosting & Cherry Ganache Filling Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Cherry Ganache Filling

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Cherry Ganache Filling

Chocolate Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe Plus Bonus Cherry Ganache

You would be hard-put to find someone who doesn’t love cherries. Scattered over ice cream, wrapped in a pie crust or savored with a tall glass of milk, cherries are irresistible. Drying intensifies their flavor and makes them available year-round, to tweak a culinary creation or as a healthy snack.

Brandied cherries folded into a ganache filling takes 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.

So are you ready for some cake? First, please enjoy my "Ode to Cherries".


An Ode to Cherries

I am a legend in my own right.

Immortalized over 2,000 years ago, I have been many things to many people: raised by medieval monks and summoned to pamper royalty, I was sought as a healer of lethal illness and as a talisman against evil spirits. Ancient Greeks were captivated by my blood-red hue; Odes commemorated my beauty. To the Japanese I was the very symbol of beauty, courtesy and modesty; to others I am the embodiment of passion and lust.

But life has not been a bowl of cherries.

Unable to have me, powerful men have pined away or taken their own lives. My hidden virtues have been exploited to obliterate enemies. Once accused of murder, I was later acquitted for lack of evidence.

Legend, myth and lore aside...

I am nothing more than a humble fruit, at my best when partnered with chocolate such as in this fudgy confection. But be forewarned: in such company I become even more decadent, seductive and unforgettable.

Men have killed for less.


~Vespa Woolf~

chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe

Do You Have a Sweet Tooth?

Tips

  • A tip from Cook's Illustrated: dissolving cocoa in boiling water enhances the cocoa's flavor and makes for an extra chocolatey cake.
  • Dutch-processed (alkalized) cocoa produces a black cake while natural (nonalkalized) cocoa gives the cake a redder hue.
  • Allow eggs to return to room temperature before use.
  • If you can melt chocolate, you can make ganache. Although ganache may sound fancy, it's just a blend of melted chocolate and heavy cream.
  • Soaking cherries overnight in liquor plumps them and boosts the cherry flavor.
  • Allow cake layers to cool thoroughly before removing them from pans.


Moist Chocolate Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour 30 min

30 min

2 hours

Serves 8-10

Cake recipe adapted from Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake

Give This Cake As A Gift

Give this cake as a gift, as mentioned by Suzie HQ in "How to Make A Creative Gift". You'll save money and your friend or family member will be so impressed and grateful!

Cake Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
Ganache Filling

Ganache Filling

Click here for SuzieHQ's fabulous DYI beauty treatment: Homemade Cherry Face Mask Recipe!

chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe

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

Instructions

  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.
  7. When the ganache is firm enough to hold its shape, as seen in the photo above, proceed with the instructions "How to Assemble the Cake".


chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon each almond and vanilla extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (625 grams or 20 ounces)

Instructions

  1. Place ingredients, except the powdered sugar, in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, a cupful at a time, and continue beating until smooth and stiff enough to spread.


How to Assemble the Cake

  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. Decorate with chocolate syrup and maraschino cherries.

Enjoy!

chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe
chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe

Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 31, 2013:

Suzie, I hope you lots of traffic from it. : ) I'm going to add a photo, too, now that I'm home from work. Thanks for everything--you're the best!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on May 31, 2013:

Hi vespa,

I know I commented months ago but it is MY FAVORITE recipe on HP! Just wanted to say a big thank you for the double link here, wow how lovely of you! Appreciate your thoughtfulness! :-)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 31, 2013:

las81071, I hope your daughter makes the cake soon! It really is worth the little extra effort it takes to make a cake from scratch. Thanks for coming by! Have a great weekend.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 31, 2013:

Kathryn Stratford, you're so right about ganache. It's really just a fancy word for a simple filling. This cake is one of my favorites and always gets rave reviews from our friends and family. I hope you have a chance to enjoy it sometime. Thanks so much for all your support!

las81071 on May 31, 2013:

I have to try this. This looks like it might be the tastiest cake ever. I am giong to send this to my daughter the baker right now and tell her get on it!!!!!

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on May 31, 2013:

This is beautiful! I think if I try this, it might become one of my favorite cakes. I love cherries, cream cheese frosting is my favorite, and the filling is a little surprise bonus!

I never actually knew what ganache was made of, so it's interesting to find out. It's much simpler than I realized.

Voted up, sharing, and bookmarking for later. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 23, 2012:

Sgbrown, enjoy the recipe! It makes me happy that you're going to make this cake for your husband. After all, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. : ) Enjoy and thanks so much for the vote, pin and share.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on December 23, 2012:

Your "Ode to Cherries" is awesome! Your cake recipe should be x-rated! Chocolate and cherries, you're killing me. I am bookmarking this and going to try this for hubby's birthday on Jan. 3rd. I think he will love it! Voting this up, awesome, pinning and sharing! :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 02, 2012:

Peggy W, thanks for taking the time to read. Cherries really do deserve an ode in their honor! : ) I appreciate the votes and comment.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 02, 2012:

From your interesting Ode to Cherries and then this delicious sounding cake recipe with completed cake photos that are drool worthy...this is a winner hub. Up and beautiful votes!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 19, 2012:

Thank you for coming by, frogyfish. I'm glad you enjoyed the Ode to cherries! BTW, I like your username. : )

frogyfish from Central United States of America on November 19, 2012:

Enjoyed your Ode to Cherries. And then the addition of chocolate with your recipe...you got me with that combination. Someday I shall have to make your fabulous cake! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 15, 2012:

Beingwell, baking does require some patience but the end result is well worth it. Thank you for taking the time to come by, comment and vote!

beingwell from Bangkok on November 14, 2012:

Yumyumyum! That ganache filling sure looks yummy!!! I can't bake... I'd have to buy a piece of cake from the store. This got me craving... :) Voted up and shared to my friendzz!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 05, 2012:

Moonlake, it really is delicious! Thank you for the vote, comment and pin. : )

moonlake from America on November 05, 2012:

Looks so good. Will have to pin this so I can keep track of it. Voted Up.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 03, 2012:

SuzieHQ, thank you for coming back. Congratulations on your pinterest account and I can't wait to see all the beautiful ideas you come up with. Looking forward to it!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on October 02, 2012:

Hi vespa,

Had to come back to this as I just got my pinterest account and . . . .yep this is my first pin and board created !!! Will be going back to pin A lot of your great stuff!!!!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

I'm glad you liked the Ode to Cherries. For me, that's branching out! Thanks so much for paying me another visit. Now I have a lot of catching up to do. You always know the right thing to say, Billybuc. : )

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 15, 2012:

This is because I haven't been by lately. :) Also, because this looks heavenly! I love everything about this recipe including the Ode to Cherries......great job my friend. Say hi to your husband for me.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

KDuBarry, thank you for coming by! It is such a delicious cake and very special as well. I really appreciate the share, tweet, comment and pin! : )

KDuBarry03 on September 15, 2012:

What a fun and delicious recipe, Vespawoolf! I just had a filling dinner and now I'm really in the mood for ome chocolate cake :) Thanks for the share! Shared, tweeted, and pinned!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

Ishwaryaa22, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub! You can easily make the ganache without brandy. Just add more heavy cream to replace the amount of liquor and soak the cherries overnight in hot water. Thanks so much for the votes, share and pin!

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on September 15, 2012:

Wow! I already told you that I have weakness for chocolates and anything with chocolate in them! Your ode is entertaining! Your tips, instructions and photos all are direct and handy - I leave out brandy as I am a teetotaller(a person who never touched alcohol). The first and last photos are drool-worthy! Rated your tasty recipe 5 stars! Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up, socially shared & pinned

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 14, 2012:

Marie-Renee, it is such a delicious cake. Thank you so much for the comment, vote and pin. Have a great day!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 14, 2012:

Thelma Alberts, enjoy the cake and please congratulate your father for me! Thank you for the kind words, comment, share and pin! I really appreciate it.

Renee on September 13, 2012:

I am not the baker that my sister is but am certainly the eater especially when it looks as yummy as this one. Voted up, shared, pinned and tweeted. And bookmarking as well. Thanks for the recipe.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on September 13, 2012:

Wow! I love this cake. But no, not just this cake. All your cakes make my mouth water. I´ll make this next month for my fathers 78th birthday. Bookmarked for later use. YUMMY!!!! Thanks for SHARING. Shared in fb and pinned as well. Have a great day!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 13, 2012:

MargaritaEden, it's such a delicious combination of flavors. I hope you can try it someday! Thanks so much for the comment and share. : )

MargaritaEden from Oregon on September 12, 2012:

Oh wow, my mouth is literary watering while I am reading this hub, vespawoolf, you are such a good cook! This recipe should win an award! Sharing it.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 11, 2012:

cleverowlsoftware, enjoy the cake! It's the perfect dessert for a special occasion and so rich and satisfying. Thank you for coming by!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 10, 2012:

Stayingalivemoma, please let me know what you think. It's moist and chocolatey, and the ganache pushes it over the top. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Thank you for the votes and comment!

Valerie Washington from Tempe, Arizona on September 10, 2012:

Yep.....bookmarked, commented, voted up, awesome, beautiful.....I am so making this!!! I love chocolate and have always been disappointed with the dryness of chocolate cakes; maybe this one will be different!

Thanks for this recipe!!!!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 10, 2012:

Moonlake, thanks for the vote, comment and pin! It's always nice to hear from you.

moonlake from America on September 10, 2012:

I spotted this cake and I had to stop by. Looks great adding it to my sweet stuff on my pinterest. Vote uP!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 10, 2012:

Molometer, I'm sorry this recipe put you in the throes of a chocolate craving! Thank you for noticing the ode was meant to be fun and educational. (that must be the teacher in you) I hope you're able to try the recipe soon. It's very rich! I appreciate the share, tweet, comment, etc!

Micheal from United Kingdom on September 10, 2012:

Love the photo of the chocolate cake. It had me rushing to the fridge for a quick chocolate fix. I can now carry on.

This looks scrummy and the Ode was fun and educational. Kudos.

Thanks for the recipe. We will be making this very soon indeed. Bookmarked and every button pressed. Sharing, pining tweeting. Everyone loves chocolate and this is a great way to indulge.

Michael

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 10, 2012:

I'm glad you enjoyed it, one2get2no. Thanks for coming by!

Philip Cooper from Olney on September 10, 2012:

Wow...this really looks quite yummy. Thank you.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

PegCole17, thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub so much...too bad I can't send a piece over to you right now! I appreciate the time you took to read and comment.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 09, 2012:

This makes me hungry. And you've written it so well. If you could (and you did) combine three things that I love it would be these main things: Chocolate, Cherries and Cream Cheese. Wow. Decadent.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

GlimmerTwinFan, what a nice thing to say! I would love to have a cookbook, but for now HP will have to do. : ) Thank you so much for the vote and comment.

Claudia Mitchell on September 09, 2012:

Vespa - You really need to do a cookbook. This looks amazing. Voted up and useful and beautiful too.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

Om Paramapoonya, enjoy the cake! Thank you for the vote and comment. : )

Om Paramapoonya on September 09, 2012:

Wow, you had me at cherry ganache! This is absolutely a must-try. Rated up and awesome. :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

Randomcreative, it is a very impressive and delicious dessert. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

Alocsin, I have also been guilty of indulging in cake for breakfast on rare occasions! I'm glad the recipe inspired you. : ) Thank you for the comment and vote.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 09, 2012:

So many of your recipes are mouth watering! This would wow guests at any occasion.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on September 09, 2012:

I hadn't even eaten breakfast yet when I stumbled onto your delicious recipe. Time to get some cake. Voting this Up and Useful.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

Carol7777, I'm glad you like the looks of the cake! It is quite delicious as a special treat. Thank you for commenting!

carol stanley from Arizona on September 09, 2012:

My mouth is watering. I am not a big sweet eater but the cream cheese frosting, cherries and cake have wakened the sweet tooth. What a recipe...It is too good to be true.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

Oh, that's sweet Letitia. Thank you!

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on September 09, 2012:

Not even the 30 day hub challenge could keep me from your recipes!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

Unknown spy, how nice to receive a visitor from Neverland. I'm glad this hub inspired you to buy a cake. Thank you for coming by!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

LetitiaFT, you're right about the devil's food! No, it doesn't traditionally call for lemon, although many recipes use buttermilk. We don't have buttermilk so I use sour milk instead. I also love the cream cheese frosting! I'm glad you enjoyed the ode as well. Thank you for coming by and I appreciate the pin, share and comment! P.S. How are you finding time to read other hubs with the 30 day challenge before you!? Impressive!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 09, 2012:

Mhatter99, thank you for taking the time to come by!

Life Under Construction from Neverland on September 09, 2012:

wow and wow and wow!! im caving for chocolate these past few hours and this hub makes me go outside and buy a cake.

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on September 09, 2012:

This must be what they serve in heaven, how could it be called devil's food cake. Joking aside, I've never made one, so I really appreciate the tips. Do all devil's food cakes use lemon? I was intrigued by that...

As for the other ingredients. You got me with cherry. I love your ode and indeed, I've never had an ill cherries wouldn't fix! You mentioned one could leave out the cream cheese frosting. Isn't that an incitation to crime?

Pinned and shared (just got a laptop so at last I've got the share button!)

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on September 08, 2012:

Wow! Decadence at its finest or should I say tastiest. Thanks

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 08, 2012:

europewalker, I'm glad you like the looks of the cake. It is delicious! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

europewalker on September 08, 2012:

Mouth watering, I need to try this recipe! Looks so good. Thanks for sharing:)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 08, 2012:

MamaKim8, it is a delicious cake! Thanks so much for the vote, pin and share.

Sasha Kim on September 08, 2012:

Beautiful beautiful photos! The cake sounds just divine ^_^ voted, pinned and shared!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 08, 2012:

Ruchira, thanks a lot for the vote and comment!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 08, 2012:

Ignugent17, I wish I could send you a slice! Thanks so much for the comment and vote. I really appreciate it.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 08, 2012:

Tammyswallow, thank you for the kind words!

Ruchira from United States on September 08, 2012:

yummm :) Wish I had the baker's trait's in me :)

voted up as awesome !

ignugent17 on September 08, 2012:

Can I have one slice? It looks so good. Your ganache filling is really tempting.

Voted up and more ! yum yum

Tammy from North Carolina on September 08, 2012:

Chocolate and cherries! It doesn't get any better. Gorgeous hub with exceptional photos!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 08, 2012:

ptrg777, I wish I could send over a slice right now. : ) Thanks so much for the comment and vote!

Peter from New York on September 08, 2012:

Never was much of a baker but this looks simple and delicious. Voted up and useful!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 08, 2012:

Thanks so much for your enthusiastic comment, Suzie HQ! It always bring a smile to my face when I see you've paid me a visit. I really appreciate the vote and share. I wish I could send over a slice for you! : )

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 08, 2012:

GoodLady, please let me know when you publish your new hub. I'll look forward to reading it. Thank you for the link, comment, pin and vote. Have a great weekend!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on September 08, 2012:

This is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!! The minute I saw the picture I said "I bet that's vespawoolf" and what do you know!!!!! This is so well presented. Your quotes, cherry dividers (gorgeous!) and then there is the recipe - Looks and sounds delicious and I want a slice now!

Voted up ++++ and sharing this gem of gems!!!!! Yummy . . . . .

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on September 08, 2012:

Love this. Looks so fabulous. I'll be linking something I'm writing this week to this! Pinning it and voting. Wonderful and appreciate your tips too.

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