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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birthday yummies -- cherries and chocolate

My daughters birthday fell on the first day of finals week. So for their actual birthday, I just made cupcakes, knowing we'd have the full-fledged cake and ice cream on the following weekend.

The cake for the weekend celebration that I made, turned out so good, I'm still thinking about it. It was a chocolate cake with cherry filling, black cherry butter cream frosting and a fudge glaze. But what really made this cake great was the cherry juice that I drizzled over the cake layers, before putting the cake together.

I baked a scratch chocolate cake a couple of weeks in advance. I wrapped it well and kept the layers in the freezer.

Scratch cakes can be a bit dry and do well to have the cake layers glazed or moistened with a thinned-down jam or some fruit juice. I used the liquid from preserving black cherries last summer. I spooned a couple of tablespoons over each layer and allowed to stand for an hour before adding a filling.

I didn't want frosting as a filling, but instead made a cornstarch/black cherry liquid filling on the stove. When it had cooled, I spread it between the layers.

The frosting was a butter cream, flavoring it with more of the black cherry liquid, some lemon juice and a bit of almond extract. Once the frosting had set, I added a cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar and water glaze on the sides of the cake and drizzled a pattern on the top of the cake. The fudge glaze was very dark chocolate in flavor.

When the cake was sliced, we found the layers to be very moist, the cherry filling to be a nice fruity touch, without being too sweet, and the frosting and dark chocolate glaze added the right extra touch.

For ice cream, I used some of the whipping cream that I had frozen, along with half and half, for a cooked custard base. I also flavored the custard with the black cherry liquid, and added chopped preserved black cherries just before churning.

When using frozen whipping cream (unwhipped), the texture is rather globby, and fat separates in small chunks, upon thawing. I put the cream through the food processor before adding to the custard, to improve the texture. The ice cream was a real treat with the cake.

This was one birthday cake/ice cream combo that won't be forgotten any time soon.


  1. It sounds like all of the effort you put into this cake, really paid off. I'm sure daughters and everyone else appreciated it.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      One year, when I made a really great birthday cake, one of my kids asked why I didn't always make great cakes. My reply was, "you know, I like great food, too. I just don't always have the time to make things really special."
      I always chuckle when I think of that moment. My kids were all really young. But somehow, in their young minds, they had this thought that sometimes mom likes bad-tasting food. Until I set them straight on that point.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Ruthie,
      Thank you! I'm still wishing there was more of that cake!

  3. You had me at "cherries and chocolate". One of my favorite combinations.

    1. Hi Kris,
      a favorite combination of mine, as well. In fact, add chocolate to a lot of things, and everything just gets better! Mmm, now I'm thinking about a cup of a cherry-infused cocoa I had a couple of weeks ago.

    2. A local ice cream company makes flavors they name after locations in Michigan. I loooooooooove Traverse City Cherry Chocolate ice cream. Traverse City is known for its cherry growers. Now I'm getting hungry. :)

    3. Oooh, cherry-chocolate ice cream! Yum!

  4. What a beautiful cake for your beautiful girls. It sounds delicious!
    Jo Ann

  5. That cake looks so delicious! Cherry/chocolate is one of my favorites.


    1. HI Angie,
      Thanks! We really enjoyed it! Cherries and chocolate do seem to be a natural pair.


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