Chocolate + Spice = No Dice?: Dunkler Kirschkuchen (Spiced Chocolate-Cherry Cake)

A couple of weeks ago I bought some sweet cherries at our farmer's market, but the farmer (he's actually at the market every week) told me that the tart cherries were still a few weeks behind. I love cherry desserts and have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of sour cherry season. But I noticed that Luisa Weiss has several recipes in Classic German Baking that call for canned or jarred pitted sour cherries. And I knew that Trader Joe's sells large jars of morello cherries in light syrup. So I decided to bide my time waiting for fresh sour cherries by trying out some recipes using the jarred variety.

The first cherry recipe I tried was "Dunkler Kirschkuchen (Spiced Chocolate-Cherry Cake)." It's pretty straightforward. To make the chocolate cake batter, you beat softened butter with sugar until fluffy; add egg yolks; add the dry ingredients (ground almonds, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and lemon zest); incorporate melted bittersweet chocolate; and fold in egg whites that have been beaten with salt to firm peaks. I scraped the batter into a buttered springform pan and topped it with a jar of drained morello cherries before baking. The baked cake released from the pan without a problem and I sprinkled the cake with powdered sugar before serving.
I used the entire jar of cherries even though the recipe called for about 85% of the jar. When I cut the cake quite a few cherries fell off toward the center of the cake because it was difficult to slice through them. 

I didn't particularly care for this cake. While I loved the cherries on top, I didn't like the combination of chocolate and spices in the cake itself; I think I would have liked it much better as a straight chocolate-cherry cake. I also couldn't taste the almonds in the cake at all. Weiss mentions that Germans would serve this cake with a dollop of lightly-sweetened whipped cream, and wish I had taken that advice. Still, my tasters liked the cake and it did have a nice crumb and texture. I think it was a good cake from a technical standpoint -- just not my personal taste.

Recipe: "Dunkler Kirschkuchen (Spiced Chocolate-Cherry Cake)" from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss.


Louise said…
Two days ago I bought 4 quarts of sour cherries. Two quarts became a Sour Cherry Crumble which was essentially a sour cherry tart minus the pastry crust. Two quarts were pitted, slightly sugared, and are now in the freezer. I think I've found the best way to make cherry pie filling.
So jealous! I unfortunately still haven't gotten my hands on any sour cherries yet... Here you can generally only get them at a farmer's market and I haven't had time to stop by one in the past few weeks.... Hopefully this weekend!