Topped with a pompadour of airy whipped cream frosting — which tastes comfortingly of hot cocoa — this cake is reminiscent of Black Forest gâteau but with more chocolaty depth. The cake’s dark chocolate flavor is enhanced by Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which produces a much deeper, Oreo-like chocolaty taste than natural unsweetened cocoa powder. A glossy, cherry-red layer of preserves keeps the crumb moist and tender, and a splash of almond extract evokes the aromatic bittersweetness of kirsch or maraschino cherries (cherries are, after all, in the same family as almonds). Don’t forget the actual cherries on top; they’ll make you happy.
- Serves: 8 persons
- ½cup/118 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
- 1 ¼cups/250 grams granulated sugar
- 1cup/128 grams all-purpose flour
- ½cup/56 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- 2large eggs
- ¾cup/180 milliliters whole milk
- 1teaspoon pure almond extract
- ½teaspoon coarse kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1cup/305 grams cherry preserves (see Tip)
- ¼cup/50 grams granulated sugar
- ¼cup/28 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ¼cup boiling hot water
- 2cups/473 milliliters cold heavy whipping cream
- Fresh red cherries, for garnish (optional)
Step 1Prepare the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with olive oil.
Step 2In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder until evenly distributed and no lumps remain. To a separate large bowl, add the 1/2 cup oil, eggs, milk, almond extract and salt and whisk until smooth, at least 30 seconds. Gently whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the last streak of flour disappears.
Step 3Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and tap gently against the counter to pop excess air bubbles. Bake until a skewer or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan.
Step 4Microwave the cherry preserves in a small bowl in 30-second intervals or in a small saucepan over medium heat until looser and slightly liquidy. Spread the preserves evenly over the cooled cake.
Step 5Make the frosting: In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder and salt and pour over the hot water. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, whisk until smooth. Add the heavy cream and continue whisking until billowy soft peaks form. When you turn the whisk upside-down, a peak of cream should flop over slightly like a Santa hat. Spread the frosting over the cake and, if using, garnish with the cherries. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.