Hi! Welcome to my blog. I am a major foodie, with a haphazard cooking philosophy, currently making that transition from cooking and baking for friends and family to 'wonder if I could make this my career'. Follow me for recipes, the outcomes of a few experiments, and general lovely foodiness. Opinions, reviews and recommendations are all my own.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Valentine's Day Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake

I am so excited to share this recipe and cake creation with you all, as I have had it mentally drawn up in the back of my mind for Valentine's Day for the last few weeks! It was actually baked for Valentine's Day, however I have had to wait until today to post it, as there is a hidden surprise inside and of course, it needed to be photographed! 

This is my Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake, with Cherry Brandy Ganache, Buttercream Roses and Dark Chocolate Hearts - an absolute feast for the eyes and the taste buds for Valentine's Day...

'Black Forest' Chocolate Cherry Cake ...
... and it hides it's own little secret - a bright pink Cherry heart!!

... with a hidden pink heart!
The flavours in this cake are inspired by the great classic Black Forest Gateaux, but with a few changes and twists in order to meet the design I had in mind. This cake is best made the day before needed as the ganache needs time to set before the remainder of the decorations are added. To recreate this gorgeous cake, you will need the following ingredients;

For the Pink Cherry Heart
  • 100g butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon either cherry brandy or cherry extract
  • 100g self raising flour
  • Pink or red food colouring (I used Sugarflair gel in Ruby)

For the Chocolate Sponge
  • 150g butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 20g good quality cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks here)

For the Cherry Brandy Ganache
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 200g double cream
  • 1 teaspoon cherry brandy
For the Buttercream
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 50g butter, softened
To Decorate
  • GlacĂ© cherries
  • 30g melted chocolate


Start by making the pink cherry heart centre. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees. Line an 8 inch square cake tin with baking parchment leaving an overhang to make removing the sponge easier. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs, and add to the mixture along with the cherry brandy. Beat together until combined. Sift in the self raising flour, and fold into the mixture. Finally add two to three drops of the food colouring, and mix well until you achieve a bright pink colour throughout the mixture.

Transfer the mixture to the lined tin, and take time to spread evenly into the corners of the tin. You want to avoid any uneven rise in the sponge. The mixture will spread thinly across the pan, we are aiming for a large flat surface of cake to cut shapes from. Place in the oven. The low temperature should allow the mixture to cook without colouring it too much on the crust. Bake for around 10 - 15 minutes until firm to touch, then remove from the oven. 

Whilst the sponge is still warm, use the baking parchment to lift it from the tin. Turn the sponge upside down on a chopping board, and peel away the baking parchment, revealing the soft underside of the cake. Use heart shaped cookie cutter to cut away 8 - 10 hearts from the sponge. Set aside on a cooling rack. (Make sure that the shape and size of the cookie cutter fits comfortably inside the loaf tin for the overall cake.)

Next step is to make the chocolate outside of the cake. Line a loaf tine with baking parchment and grease well. Turn the oven temperature up to 180 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add in the beaten eggs. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and combine well. 

Spoon a few spoonfuls of the mixture into the bottom of the lined loaf tin. Then take the pink hearts, and line then up upside down in the tin. Work from the middle outwards and gently press them together to prevent the chocolate mixture spreading between them when baking. 

Fill the tin with the remainder of the chocolate mixture, being careful not to knock the hearts out of position. Make sure that you cover the tops of the hearts completely. Flatten the mixture over the tin evenly, as the top of the tin will become the bottom of the cake when served. 

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove the tin from the oven, and place on a cooking rack. 

Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache. Heat the double cream in a saucepan just until it starts to bubble. Turn down the heat, and add the chocolate pieces a little at a time, stirring throughout. The mixture should turn smooth and glossy. Add the cherry brandy and stir well. Set the mixture aside in a bowl until cool, and then place in the fridge to allow the mixture to firm up. It needs to be smooth enough to spread easily, but firm enough to hold shape and not run down the cake. 

Turn the cake out of the loaf tin, using the baking parchment to lift it out. Turn the cake upside down. You may need to use a knife to level off the top of the cake for it to sit flat, if so, be careful not to cut too deep as you don't want to cut any chunks out of the inner heart shape. 

Once the cake is cooled completely, and the ganache is the correct consistency, place the cake on a serving plate, and cover the cake completely with the ganache. Don't worry too much about getting a perfectly smooth finish, I deliberately wanted a more homely 'rough around the edges' look, just make sure that all of the surface of the cake is covered. Return the covered cake to the fridge to allow the ganache to set. 

Finally, it is time to decorate the cake. 

Start by melting the dark chocolate, either in the microwave carefully, or by tempering it over a bowl of hot water. Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a number 2 nozzle. On a sheet of greaseproof paper draw a range of hearts to decorate the top of the cake. Again, I made these quite messy and rough. Set aside to cool and set. 

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients to make the buttercream. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag with a star nozzle fitted. Roughly pipe a row of roses along the top of the cake by placing the nozzle onto the cake and then spiraling outwards. Allow the roses to overlap each other. 

Finally, arrange the set chocolate hearts along the top of the cake, pressing them into the buttercream to stand upright. Alternate the hearts with glacĂ© cherries. 

Now all that is left is to serve your cake, and enjoy the look of surprise on the face of your beloved when the inner pink heart is revealed! 

I am entering this cake into Calender Cakes, run by Laura at Laura Loves Cakes and Rachel at Dolly Bakes, where the theme is 'My Achey Cakey Heart', and Classic French hosted by Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes, where the theme this month is Ganache. 


  1. I am speechless at how amazing this is!!!

    1. That's the loveliest comment ever! Thank you so much :-) x

    2. It made me wish I was your Valentine! Haha :)

  2. This is beautiful! I bet your valentine really enjoyed it, thanks for entering into Classic French

    1. Thanks Jen! It certainly all got eaten! Looking forward to this month's Brioche challenge :-)

  3. wow (o_O) simply amazing!


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