If you want to drop a bomb on your dinner party. This cake it totally nuclear. The Engineers (our poor friends who we inflict our culinary experiments on) didn’t stop their thumbs up mutterings for days after this went out at afternoon tea. The lovely Genevieve (one of our superstar product evaluators) and I have been plotting and planning this cake for quite some time. Genevieve was absolutely dedicated to perfecting the recipe for the cake layers and we both agreed that the final, perfect rendition of the frosting is our new go to – a match made in heaven for almost any cake and devastatingly easy to eat by the spoonful. As we are now coming the end of the cherry season (waaaaaaaaa) I’d like to suggest that in place of the cherries you could easily soak frozen berries or slices of sweet red fleshed plums in the rum and it would be off the hook. Preparing the cake layers in advance and freezing them as well as leaving the cherries in the rum for a few days are totally acceptable for you super organised folks, making the final assembly very straight forward.
Chocolate Cherry Rum Cake
4 cups fresh pitted cherries
½ cup rum
¼ cup cold water
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1½ cups white granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup warm milk
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup Dutch cocoa powder
2½ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp fine sea salt
250g unsalted butter, softened to room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
¼ tsp fine sea salt
2 blocks Philadelphia cream cheese, softened and chopped up
4 Tbsp of the reserved cherry/rum syrup
Piped chocolate trees (use choc melts and pipe out tree shapes onto baking paper to set)
A handful of fresh cherries for the top
Dusting of icing sugar
1. Roughly chop your pitted cherries and place them in a medium bowl with the rum.
2. Let sit at room temp for at least 1 hour (overnight is ideal) then drain cherries in a sieve over a bowl. Keep both the cherries and the syrup.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 20cm cake pans and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat on high speed for 5 min until light and fluffy.
3. Whisk in 1 cup warm milk until smooth.
4. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Fold the sifted mixture into the batter just until combined.
5. Transfer to your prepared cake pans and bake for 30 min or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Remove from the oven and once the cakes are cool enough to handle, transfer to wire racks for them to cool completely.
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter with icing sugar and salt on low speed or until combined.
2. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
3. Add cream cheese 1-piece at a time and mix until well combined.
4. Add cherry liquid, and mix until combined (1 min).
5. Reserve the remaining cherry syrup. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.
Assembling the Cake
1. Once you are ready to assemble the cake, using a serrated knife slice each of your cake layers in half horizontally into two even layers.
2. Place one layer cut side up on a cake stand.
Generously brush the first cake layer with cherry rum syrup.
3. Cover the top with frosting and top with ⅓ of the cherries.
4. Repeat with the next three layers but don’t put any syrup or frosting over the final layer. Refrigerate your un-frosted cake for 15-20 min to let it rest, then frost the top and sides.
5. Decorate with chocolate trees, cherries and dust with icing sugar.
6. Run away and hide behind a curtain then eat the whole thing by your self.
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