naughty love – cherry-pop chocolate cake

naughty love – cherry-pop chocolate cake

Last week I talked about where love lies, but on Valentine’s Day and throughout the weekend, it’s time to have fun with your partner or with whomever you want to play. It’s an occasion to get naughty.

“I love your face, you love the taste . . .” Beyoncé’s song Blow maybe raunchy and nasty, but it’s also down right sexy and deliciously seductive—the perfect song for this occasion. I danced to it in my class a few weeks ago and I can personally attest to the fun, playful side it brought out of me. Just ask M.

I suggest you start your Valentine’s celebration by baking this dark chocolate cake. There are swirls of cherries woven through the cake for a fruity burst in each bite, with additional dried cherries soaked in amaretto providing an occasional unexpected surprise.  The cherry glaze on top is just . . . foreplay.


Cherry-Pop Chocolate Cake


Cherry Filling
  • 3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons low sugar pectin (Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes/pink box)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2-1/2 cups (10 ounces) frozen or fresh pitted sweet cherries
  • 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Chocolate Cake
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto or water
  • 1-3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) dutch-processed cocoa
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces/1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-3/4 (14 ounces) cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Cherry Glaze & Assembly
  • 1/4 cup frozen sweet cherries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons Amaretto or whole milk
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Red and pink sprinkling sugar for decoration (optional)


Cherry Filling

1. Whisk sugar, sure-jell, and salt together in small saucepan. Process cherries in blender until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer 1/4 cup pureé and zest to saucepan with sugar mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently to dissolve pectin and sugar. Transfer mixture to medium bowl, add remaining pureé, lemon juice and almond extract, whisk to combine. Let sit until slightly set, 8-10 minutes.

Chocolate Cake

1. Combine dried cherries and amaretto in a small bowl and soak for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.

2. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. Set aside. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl, set aside.

3. Combine chocolate, cocoa and espresso powder in small bowl; pour boiling water over and let stand to melt chocolate, about 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth; set aside to cool slightly.Whisk eggs and extracts together in a measuring cup and set aside.

4. In the bowl of standing mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-low speed until sugar is moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add egg mixture in two additions, beat until combined. Add cooled chocolate, beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

5.  Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream (in 2 additions), beginning and ending with dry ingredients, beat until barely combined. Stir in drained cherries by hand with rubber spatula, scraping bottom and sides of bowl, to ensure that cherries are evenly distributed.

6. Spoon one third of the batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Spoon one third of the cherry filling in the center of the batter. Using a knife, gently swirl filling into batter, using figure-8 motion, being careful not to drag filling to the bottom or the edge of pan. Repeat steps with remaining batter and filling.

7. Bake until wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack set over baking sheet for 10 minutes, then invert cake directly onto rack and cool completely, about 2 hours.

Cherry Glaze & Assembly

1. Puree cherries , lemon juice and amaretto in a blender. Strained purée through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, discard solids. Add 1/4 cup of cherry liquid, sugar, salt and in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. (Add more cherry liquid or lemon juice gradually as needed to achieve a pourable consistency)

2. Pour glaze evenly over top of cake and decorate cake with sprinkling sugar (if use).