A light, fluffy chocolate cake, sandwiched together with dark chocolate ganache and juicy cherries. Smothered in vanilla and cherry buttercream and a silky chocolate drip. This cake is bound to impress! 

MOIST CHOCOLATE & CHERRY LAYER CAKE

INGREDIENTS

CHOCOLATE CAKE
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup good quality cocoa, I used Valrhona
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
1 shot of espresso, or 2 teaspoons of instant
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup boiling water
4 tablespoons tinned cherries

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
100 grams dark chocolate, cubed
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup tinned cherries

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM
165 grams butter, softened
1/3 cup milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 3/4 cups icing sugar
A small amount of pink food colouring or 1 tablespoon of pureed tinned cherries

CHOCOLATE DRIP
75 gram dark chocolate
45 grams butter

TO DECORATE
Fresh cherries

2 x 18cm cake tins
Bench scraper or cake spatula
Piping bag and number 10 piping nozzle
 

METHOD

CHOCOLATE CAKE
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In an electric mixer, mix together all ingredients, apart from the cherries, until well combined. The mixture will seem incredibly wet but that's what makes it such a moist cake. Fold in tinned cherries.  

Grease cake tins and line with baking paper. Divide cake batter between 2 tins and bake for 40-45 minutes until skewer comes out clean. If you use a larger cake tin cook the cake for less time. 

Cool cakes in tins and remove gently once completely cool. Using a serrated knife, level the cakes off so they are flat on the tops.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Bring a pot of water to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Place a heat proof bowl on top of the pot making sure the water isn't touching the base of the bowl. Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir until fully melted. Add the cream and stir until combined. Place in the fridge to thicken, this should take around 20 minutes.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM
Using an electric mixer, beat all of the ingredients until light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes, then set aside.

CHOCOLATE DRIP
In a small saucepan melt all ingredients. Let cool until it's reached 30°C or room temperature. 

TO ASSEMBLE
Place one of the cakes on a cake stand or flat surface that you can turn easily with one hand. Using a pastry brush, evenly brush over 1 tablespoons of juice from the tinned cherries. Fill your piping bag with 1/4 of the buttercream icing. Pipe the outside edge of the top of the cake, making sure not to leave any gaps. Do not use all the icing in the piping bag at this stage. This is to stop the chocolate ganache from pushing out to the sides of your cake. Spoon the chocolate ganache into the centre of the cake and layer with tinned cherries. 

Place the second cake on top making sure the cakes align perfectly, then gently push down to hold the cakes in place. Brush with 1 tablespoon of tinned cherry juice. 

Using a large spoon, take 1/3 of the buttercream left in the bowl and smear it on top of the cake, pushing right to the edge with your spatula. Don't place the spatula back into the bowl of icing, you'll end up with crumbs through the icing!

With one hand, align a clean spatula vertically with the edge of the cake, gently press against the cake and rotate the cake stand with the other hand. As you go around, the overhanging icing should smooth out around the cake. I tend to go around the cake touching up any holes and then do a final turn to smooth it all out. 

Refrigerate cake for 20 minutes. Using remaining buttercream, evenly smear over the top and sides of the cake. Using the same technique as above step to smooth out the icing. 

Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the top of the cake. Smooth with a spatula and gently push the sauce over the edges to achieve the drip effect. 

Take the remaining buttercream icing in the piping bag, evenly pipe large dollops on top of the cake. Place a cherry on every second dollop.