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Chocolate Cherry Cake Recipe

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

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This chocolate cherry cake is one of the most flavorful cakes I’ve made. The recipe came about accidentally. I was updating our German chocolate cake and ended up with 2 perfect chocolate cake layers. Not wanting them to go to waste, I used what I had on hand to make a cake for the weekend.

While assembling the cake, there were a couple of times that I laughed at myself thinking that I had ruined it but instead something remarkable happened. This chocolate cake lights up your taste buds in several spots at once.

The kirsch and cherries amplify the chocolate in an intense and delicious way. Try a slice and you’ll know what I mean! I was surprised that the kids enjoyed it as well despite the adult flavors and they slept so well afterwards (I kid, I kid!) – the kirsch is not overbearing at all.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

Also, here’s a peek behind the scenes with my cute little assistant. We’re still working on the “assistant” part. I’m so grateful to work from home. I often think about my 12 hour night shifts working as an RN three days in a row and how torn I felt about it.

Thank YOU for reading my blog, trying my recipes and sharing them with the ones you love. It’s because of you that I get to do this full time. I’m truly thankful for you, my friends! This chocolate cherry cake is for you 🙂

Chocolate Cherry Cake Recipe-17

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake Layers:

9 large eggs, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour *measured correctly
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for Cherry Syrup:

4 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup kirsch (a cherry liqueur from the liquor store)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

Ingredients for Chocolate Frosting:

3 sticks (3/4 lb) unsalted butter, softened at room temp and cut into pieces
8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp and cut into pieces
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

How to Make Chocolate Cake Layers:

Prep: Preheat Oven to 350˚F. Line bottoms of two 9″ round pans with parchment paper (don’t grease sides). Chop cherries and combine with 1/3 cup kirsch – marinate at room temp while while making the cake.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

1. Beat 9 large eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment for 1 min on high speed. With mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating on high a full 8 min. It will be thick and fluffy.

Chocolate Cherry Cake Recipe-6

Chocolate Cherry Cake Recipe-2

2. Whisk together 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup cocoa powder and sift in thirds into egg batter, folding with a spatula between each addition. Fold just until no streaks of flour remain, scraping from the bottom to get any hidden pockets of flour; do not over-mix or you will deflate the batter.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

3. Gently fold in 1/2 tsp vanilla and 4 Tbsp room temp melted butter, folding as you add butter in a slow stream and scraping the bowl to make sure butter isn’t pooling at the bottom. Fold just until incorporated – don’t overmix! Divide batter equally between two prepared cake pans and bake right away at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes (my oven took 22 min), or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

4. Let cake cool 10 minutes then run a thin spatula around the edges to loosen, transfer to a wire rack, remove parchment backing and cool to room temperature.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

How to Make Chocolate Frosting:

1. Beat together 3 sticks softened butter and 8 oz softened cream cheese until smooth and fluffy on med/high speed (2 min).

Chocolate Cherry Cake Recipe-10

2. Whisk together 3 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa and 1/2 tsp salt then sift them into your frosting. Beat on medium/low speed until incorporated.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

3. Add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, increase speed to med/high and beat until fluffy and smooth and sugar is well incorporated (4 min).

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

How to Assemble Chocolate Cherry Cake:

1. Drain cherries and keeping both syrup and cherries. Into remaining syrup, add 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/4 cup water, stir until dissolved and set aside.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

2. Slice 1 cake layer in half and set aside.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

3. Into a large mixing bowl, tear the second un-cut cake layer into large crumbs. Add 1/3 of chocolate frosting and drained cherries. Stir just until combined and cherries are evenly distributed. This is the part where you’ll be like, “what in the world?!” Just stay with me, it will be amazing!

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

4. Place a sliced cake layer cut-side-up onto a cake platter and brush with 1/3 of your syrup then add a thin layer of chocolate frosting. Top with the crumbled cake mixture and even it out with clean hands into the shape of a cake layer. Brush the top lightly with 1/3 syrup.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

5. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the cut side of your second cake half. Place frosted-side-down onto your cake and brush with remaining syrup. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of chocolate cherry cake.

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

Print friendly for the Chocolate Cherry Cake ↓↓↓

Chocolate Cherry Cake Recipe

5 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com
This chocolate cherry cake is decadent and so flavorful. The kirsch and cherries amplify the chocolate in an intense and delicious way.
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $15-$18
Servings: 10 to 12 slices

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake Layers:

  • 9 large eggs room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled to room temp
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cherry Syrup:

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cherries pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup kirsch a cherry liqueur from the liquor store
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 3 sticks 3/4 lb unsalted butter, softened at room temp and cut into pieces
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened at room temp and cut into pieces
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350˚F. Line bottoms of two 9″ round pans with parchment paper (don’t grease sides). Chop cherries and combine with 1/3 cup kirsch - marinate at room temp while while making the cake.

How to Make Chocolate Cake Layers:

  1. Beat 9 large eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment for 1 min on high speed. With mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating on high a full 8 min. It will be thick and fluffy.
  2. Whisk together 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup cocoa powder and sift in thirds into egg batter, folding with a spatula between each addition. Fold just until no streaks of flour remain, scraping from the bottom to get any hidden pockets of flour; do not over-mix or you will deflate the batter.
  3. Gently fold in 1/2 tsp vanilla and 4 Tbsp room temp melted butter, folding as you add butter in a slow stream and scraping the bowl to make sure butter isn't pooling at the bottom. Fold just until incorporated - don't overmix! Divide batter equally between two prepared cake pans and bake right away at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes (my oven took 22 min), or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Let cake cool 10 minutes then run a thin spatula around the edges to loosen, transfer to a wire rack, remove parchment backing and cool to room temperature.

How to Make Chocolate Frosting:

  1. Beat together 3 sticks softened butter and 8 oz softened cream cheese until smooth and fluffy on med/high speed (2 min).
  2. Whisk together 3 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa and 1/2 tsp salt then sift them into your frosting. Beat on medium/low speed until incorporated.
  3. Add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, increase speed to med/high and beat until fluffy and smooth and sugar is well incorporated (4 min).

How to Assemble the Drunken Cherry Cake:

  1. Drain cherries and keeping both syrup and cherries. Into remaining syrup, add 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/4 cup water, stir until dissolved and set aside.
  2. Slice 1 cake layer in half and set aside.
  3. Into a large mixing bowl, tear the second un-cut cake layer into large crumbs. Add 1/3 of chocolate frosting and drained cherries. Stir just until combined and cherries are evenly distributed.
  4. This is the part where you'll be like, "what in the world?!" Just stay with me, it will be amazing!
  5. Place a sliced cake layer cut-side-up onto a cake platter and brush with 1/3 of your syrup then add a thin layer of chocolate frosting. Top with the crumbled cake mixture and even it out with clean hands into the shape of a cake layer. Brush the top lightly with 1/3 syrup.
  6. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the cut side of your second cake half. Place frosted-side-down onto your cake and brush with remaining syrup. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

I’m kind of at a loss for words with this cake. It’s that good. The best way to describe it is to experience it. Make this for your next celebration and you will impress your peeps 🙂

Decadent but simple chocolate cherry cake. Kirsch and cherries amplify chocolate in an intense and delicious way. The moist filling in this chocolate cake will surprise you! | natashaskitchen.com

natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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  • Rachel Narang
    September 27, 2017

    Hi Natasha! Do you think this cake would hold up making a day in advance? I can’t use my stand mixer while my husband is working from home tomorrow. It’s super loud. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 27, 2017

      Hi Rachel, absolutely! This one can be made a day in advance and then stored in the refrigerator overnight. Let it sit at room temperature for a little while to soften before serving. I hope you love it! Reply

  • Rachel Narang
    September 17, 2017

    Has anybody tried this with gluten free flour? I have all purpose 1 to 1 gluten free flour. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 17, 2017

      Hi Rachel, I have not tried this one with gluten free flour but a couple of readers reported great results using gluten free flour for our traditional sponge cake which is very similar to this one. I think it’s worth experimenting 🙂 Reply

      • Rachel Narang
        September 17, 2017

        Thank you! I’ll definitely experiment before making it for someone’s birthday. I figure with so little flour required, it should be great! Better safe than sorry though. Reply

  • Irina
    June 26, 2017

    Natasha, this cake is delicious and kind of easy to make. Next time I am thinking to add a layer of meringues( trying to recreate my husband’s favorite cake from the local bakery in Brooklyn,NY). When would you recommend to add meringue layer before or after “the cherry mix”? I thinking to add some on top too. Thanks. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 26, 2017

      Hi Irina, I think it would work best after the cherry mixture but be sure there is a layer of cream between the cherry layer and the meringue layer so the meringue doesn’t soften too quickly from the cherry juices. I’m so curious to know how your cake turns out!! 🙂 Reply

  • elena
    April 16, 2017

    That cake was so good. I’ve made it twice already. Thanks for the recipe Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 16, 2017

      Elena, you are on the roll with baking 😬. Thanks again and you are welcome! Reply

  • Rachel Narang
    January 5, 2017

    I love your cake recipes. I’ve baked two already in the past two weeks. For those who don’t want to buy Kirsch or can’t find it, I used brandy that I had on hand. It was delicious and very complimenting to all the flavors. I also use frozen berries when I can’t find frozen/jarred/canned cherries or fresh are out of season. Those work well too. I also used vanilla rum in pineapple filling that I put between layers of your non chocolate European sponge cake. I used the drained pineapple juice to make a syrup. That worked very well too. Thanks for all your hard work. My brother said this cake was the best he’s ever had! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 5, 2017

      Mmmmm, that sound so good! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review Rachel!! Reply

  • Ulyana
    September 22, 2016

    Second cake I ever made. Tastes amazing! I substituted cherry liquor with cherry syrup. It was still very moist and delish! Thanks Natasha for always saving the day! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 22, 2016

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your great review and you are welcome 😀. Reply

  • Olga
    July 24, 2016

    Hi Natasha,
    Does this cake taste best on the day it is made? Or would it taste even better if made the day before and left in fridge to marinate overnight? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 24, 2016

      Olga, it can be eaten the same day but best when made a day before. Let me know how it turns out 😀. Reply

  • Sarika
    July 16, 2016

    Hi Natasha!

    I tried this recipe yesterday and I am so glad I did. I am in love with it! I did tweak it a bit to suite the Indian taste pallet, but the results were amazing! There are many recipes on your blog that I want to try. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 16, 2016

      I’m so happy you loved the recipe! thanks for sharing that with us 🙂 Reply

      • Sarika
        July 18, 2016

        I used red wine instead of kirsch, and it worked for me. Reply

  • Rita
    July 11, 2016

    Hi Natasha, was wondering where did you get thous small glass prep bowls and what the size are they? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 12, 2016

      Rita, I used the bowls from this set. Hope this helps 😀. Reply

      • Rita
        July 13, 2016

        That’s not it, I meant the small ones where you have your vanilla extract and sea salt. Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          July 13, 2016

          Oh ok, got it! Those we purchased at Cost Plus World Market and they are similar to theseReply

  • Desi
    July 5, 2016

    Hi Sweet Natasha,

    No Baking powder or baking soda in the chokolade cake base?

    Thanks for your time to answer this 🙂

    Desi Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 5, 2016

      Hi Desi, yes that is correct. This is a classic European sponge cake base – watch this video to see how and why it works. It rises from the volume of the eggs. You can add 1/2 tsp baking powder but I haven’t found it to be necessary in this recipe. I usually don’t add it when I make it. Just BE SURE to beat the eggs and sugar for the time that the recipe specifies. Reply

  • tory
    June 12, 2016

    What can I substitute instead of cherry liqueur, a non alcoholic subsitute if possible? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 13, 2016

      Hi Tory, it won’t have the same depth of flavor but you could use a cherry juice or a simple syrup of sugar, water and lemon juice. Reply

      • tory
        June 15, 2016

        Thank you:). Reply

  • olga
    June 9, 2016

    haha We are going to Boise next month, Maybe I should stop at a local liquior store and get it there lol Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 9, 2016

      That’s crazy that yours doesn’t have it! Anyways, enjoy your trip to Boise! 🙂 Reply

  • olga
    June 9, 2016

    Cant find the cherry liquer in the local liquior stores.. boo =( I searched for this liquior months ago too when your black forest cake came out too.

    I have Rum but its probably over a year old. I think it might have lost its taste. I really just wanted to try the cherry liquer one. d’oh! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 9, 2016

      I think the rum should still be fine after a year and rum is probably the next best thing 🙂 Reply

  • June 5, 2016

    I saw this cake on your instagram and just had to make it over to the blog to look at the recipe. Looks amazing! I love love love the boozy soaked cherries idea – perfect! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 6, 2016

      Thank you so much Kate! 🙂 Reply

  • Tzivia
    June 5, 2016

    Omg wow chocolate and cherries what could be better lmao however I don’t have kirsch cherry liquor would vodka be a good substitute or maybe a lemon soda like sprite or 7 up yo I’m like totally salivating ur lil munchkin makes a gr8 assistant she’d be gr8 on camera just like her momma Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 6, 2016

      Hi Tzivia, I haven’t tried with vodka so I’m not sure if it would be as good. Do you have rum? I think a golden rum would work well. For a non-alcohol version, I think a cherry juice would work better. Reply

      • Tzivia
        June 6, 2016

        Oh okay so no vodka then rum I might have cherry juice is another option cool do love cherry juice I might wanna make this for my gr8 aunt Shirley for the upcoming Jewish holiday shavout (feast of weeks) and not sure if she can have alcohol because she’s been taking some meds will keep these tips in mind thanx lots Natasha darlin ur such a total gem Reply

  • diana
    June 4, 2016

    Hi Natasha, im planning to make this cake, are you making a youtube video ? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 5, 2016

      With the baby at home, it is difficult to make cake videos. Filming them can be quite a process and takes a long time. We have to try to work within the two hour nap window that we have and cakes generally don’t fit that window. Reply

  • Kathleen
    June 4, 2016

    I’ve got a weird substitution question. I was wondering if I could substitute cherry pie filling instead of the syrup. I cannot put the liqueur in it; my partner’s unit is going to be consuming this on duty so I can’t use a drop of alcohol. The pie filling I have is basically cherries, sugar, and water. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 4, 2016

      Hi Kathleen, I think it would still work with cherry pie filling. Check out this cake where I did something similar with cherry pie filling. I hope that helps! 🙂 Reply

  • Carrie C
    June 4, 2016

    Chocolate and cherry is one of my top 5 fav chocolate combos, and this looks too fantastic for words! Do you think this would work with sour cherries too? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 4, 2016

      I think it would work well with sour cherries. The tartness of the cherries would be a nice contrast to the sweetness of the cake. Reply

  • Alla
    June 4, 2016

    Hi Natasha which store I can find the kirch liquor ? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 4, 2016

      Hi Alla, I have only been able to find it at the liquor store. Reply

    • Alla
      June 4, 2016

      I been looking in all liquor stores in my area can’t find it can I replace with something else? Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        June 4, 2016

        A golden rum would work well. I like the bacardi brand for baking. Reply

  • Sophie
    June 3, 2016

    Definitely making it! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 3, 2016

      I would love to hear how it turns out 😀. Reply

  • Sophie
    June 3, 2016

    Hi!Can i substitute the cherry liquor with something else? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 3, 2016

      Sophie, golden rum would work well. If you’re looking for the alcohol free substitute, cherry juice would work but it will not have the same depth of flavor as with alcohol. Reply

  • Looks delish Natasha! The center looks similar to my drunken cherry cake. Yum! Chocolate is my weakness! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 3, 2016

      That makes two of us Valya 😋! Reply

  • Nata
    June 3, 2016

    Looks amazing! This reminds me of the way my mom used to make p’yana vishnya (or drunken cherry cake). She would make one big cake layer, carefully cut off the very top, scoop out the middle and mix the crumbs with vodka/rum soaked cherries and condensed milk. Then she would put it back in, close it up and pour chocolate ganache over it.. (where’s the “drool” emoticon when you need one) Ok I guess it’s not really the same but the filling reminded me of it and now I want some! Good job on your creativity! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 3, 2016

      I love the idea of using condensed milk in the center, that sounds wonderful! I know right! I wish there was such a thing as a drool 😋 when you need one. Reply

  • IrinA
    June 3, 2016

    This cake looks soo yummy. I am making this tomorrow. My mouth is already watering just by looking at the pictures 😘 snapchatfam here Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 3, 2016

      Awesome!! I don’t know what it is about snapchat that gets me so excited. I hope you fall in love with this cake like we did 🙂 Reply

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