Is it a food blogging faux pas to post two chocolate cake recipes back to back? The last one had oat bran and wasn’t a loaf cake, so does it not count? This one is something that feels Christmassy to me, for some reason, although I was really going to something for Valentine’s Day. It’s also a little tricky in that it seems to take forever to bake in the middle, but if you leave it in the oven just a few minutes longer after the middle is done, the edges get a little bit overdone. To remedy that, bake it at 325 degrees F. and vigilantly start watching for doneness at about an hour into baking.
This is based on Smitten Kitchen’s everyday chocolate cake, modified slightly to include cherries and cherry syrup. I suspect baking it in a 9-inch loaf pan helps make it bake more evenly, but I’ve always been a fan of more narrow and tall loaf cakes. If you want it to be more decadent, it goes really well with vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream lightly flavored with some almond extract…Yum!
chocolate cherry loaf cake
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk, warm, not boiling
2 Tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/4 cup syrup from the cherries
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup sour cherries packed in syrup, drained, dusted with cocoa
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and line an 8.5-inch by 4.5-inch loaf pan with a parchment paper that overhangs on two opposite sides. Set aside.
Sif the first five ingredients–flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt–into a bowl and stir with a whisk several times. Set aside.
Cream the butter with the sugar and molasses until smooth and fluffy. Beat for about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending and scraping the sides and bottom of bowl. Set aside.
Place the milk into a bowl and stir in the coffee granules (if using) until dissolved, then add the syrup from the cherries in the jar, and the vinegar. Stir and set aside until mixture curdles somewhat, about 5 minutes.
Blot out excess liquid from the cherries that were packed in syrup with a paper towel and toss cherries in a bowl with about a tablespoon of cocoa powder until lightly coated with cocoa powder.
Add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture while beating on low. Next, add half of the milk/cherry syrup mixture and continue to beat on low, Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
Repeat this process, adding another third of the flour mixture, continuing to beat on low, then the rest of the milk/cherry liquid, again scraping down the sides and bottom, and finally adding the last of the flour mixture. Always beat on low and try not to overmix. Finally, fold in the cherries that have been dusted with cocoa.
Scoop batter into prepared loaf pan and level with the back of a spoon.
Bake in oven for about 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs, but not wet batter. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and remove cake by lifting using the two opposite overhanging sides of the parchment paper and place it on wire rack to cool. Cool completely.
Dust the top with confectioners sugar. Serve with whipped cream and additional cherries.