A piece of drunken cherry cake on a plate garnished with fresh cherries

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What makes this a Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake? Well, the cherries are soaked in a golden rum and the layers are moist from cherry rum syrup. Did I win you over yet? This cake is scrumptious. It really is as good as it looks.

This Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake is amazingly good; moist, chocolatey, boozy, and cherry-liscious! I think it’s a winner!

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-1

Ingredients for the Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake:

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup warm milk (I used 1%)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour *measured correctly
3/4 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder (I used one that is a blend of natural and dutched cocoa)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp fine sea salt

Ingredients For the Filling:

4 cups (1 lb) fresh pitted cherries
1/2 cup golden rum (I used Bacardi Gold $8/bottle at a liquor store)
1/4 cup cold filtered water

Ingredients For the Cherry Cream Frosting:

2 sticks (1 cup or 16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
16 oz (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened to room temp and cut into 16 pieces
4 Tbsp of the reserved cherry/rum syrup

Ingredients To Decorate the Cake:

Semi-sweet chocolate chips to create shaved chocolate (see Ree’s tutorial, except I omitted Crisco)
A handful of fresh cherries for the top

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-2

Boozing up your cherries:

1. Weigh out 1 lb of fresh Northwest cherries. I love this new scale that OXO sent us. It even has a pull-out viewing screen so you can see it if you are weighing a larger item. Rinse, drain and pit your cherries. I used the new OXO 9-piece nesting bowl/colander set to rinse and store (they come with lids!). I let the OXO cherry pitter to do the dirty work.

OXO Cherry Recipe-1-3

2. Roughly chop your pitted cherries and place them in a medium bowl with 1/2 cup golden rum. Let sit at room temp for 1 hour then drain cherries in a sieve over a bowl. Keep both the cherries and the syrup.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-1

Making the Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake Layers:

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and flour two, 8-inch cake pans and set aside.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-3

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together 4 Tbsp soft butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat on high speed for 7 min until light and fluffy. Whisk in 1 cup warm milk until smooth.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-2

3. Sift together 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa, 1/8 tsp salt and 2 1/2 tsp baking powder. Fold the sifted mixture into the batter just until combined. Transfer to your prepared cake pans and bake at 350˚F for 30 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-3

4. Remove from the oven and once the cakes are cool enough to handle, transfer to wire racks for them to cool completely.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-20

Making the Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake Frosting:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the 2 sticks of butter with 3 cups powdered sugar and salt on low speed or until combined (1 min) Don’t start on high speed or you will be surrounded in a cloud of powdered sugar (lessons learned). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy (2 min).

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-4

2. Add cream cheese 1-piece at a time and mix until combined. (I waited maybe 3 seconds in between each piece; it’s one after another really. Once all of the cream cheese is incorporated. continue to beat 1 more minute.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-24

3. Add 4 Tbsp reserved cherry liquid, 1 Tbsp at a time and mix until combined (1 min). Reserve the remaining cherry syrup. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-5

Assembling the Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake:

1. Once you are ready to assemble the cake, slice each of your cake layers in half horizontally into two even layers (Tip: don’t slice your layers early or they may dry out). A serrated knife works best. Place one layer cut side up on a cake stand.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-29

2. Stir 1/4 cup cold filtered water into the the remaining cherry rum syrup. Generously brush the first cake layer with 1/3 of the cherry rum syrup. Cover the top with frosting and top with 1/3 of the chopped boozy cherries. Repeat with the next three layers but don’t put any syrup or frosting over the final layer. Refrigerate your unfrosted cake for 15-20 min to let it rest, then frost the top and sides. Decorate to your heart’s delight and serve to the people you love.

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-6

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-7-4
Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake-7-2

Note:

This cake is the moistest, and softest when it sits at room temp for at least 30 min before serving.
Credits: The chocolate cake layers were adapted from Tatyana’s Chocolate Cherry rum cake. The luscious cherry frosting was adapted from Hungry Rabbit’s Cherry Cream Frosting.

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake

4.91 from 60 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 -16

For the Cake Batter:

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup warm milk, I used 1%
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder, I used one that is a blend of natural and dutched cocoa
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt

For the Filling:

  • 4 cups 1 lb fresh pitted cherries
  • 1/2 cup golden rum, I used Bacardi Gold $8/bottle at a liquor store
  • 1/4 cup cold filtered water

For the Frosting:

  • 2 sticks, 1 cup or 16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 16 oz 2 blocks cream cheese, softened to room temp and cut into 16 pieces
  • 4 Tbsp of the reserved cherry/rum syrup

To Decorate:

  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips to create shaved chocolate
  • A handful of fresh cherries for the top

Instructions

Boozing up your cherries:

  • Rinse, drain and pit your 1 lb of cherries. Roughly chop your pitted cherries and place them in a medium bowl with 1/2 cup golden rum. Let sit at room temp for 1 hour then drain cherries in a sieve over a bowl. Keep both the cherries and the syrup.

Making the Chocolate Cake Layers:

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and flour two, 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together 4 Tbsp soft butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat on high speed for 7 min until light and fluffy. Whisk in 1 cup warm milk until smooth.
  • Sift together 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa, 1/8 tsp salt, and 2 1/2 tsp baking powder. Fold the sifted mixture into the batter just until combined. Transfer to your prepared cake pans and bake at 350˚F for 30 min or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and once the cakes are cool enough to handle, transfer to wire racks for them to cool completely.

Making the Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the 2 sticks of butter with 3 cups powdered sugar and salt on low speed or until combined (1 min) Don't start on high speed or you will be surrounded in a cloud of powdered sugar (lessons learned). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy (2 min).
  • Add cream cheese 1-piece at a time and mix until combined. (I waited maybe 3 seconds in between each piece; it's one after another really. Once all of the cream cheese is incorporated. continue to beat 1 more minute.
  • Add 4 Tbsp reserved cherry liquid, 1 Tbsp at a time and mix until combined (1 min). Reserve the remaining cherry syrup. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

Assembling the Cake:

  • Once you are ready to assemble the cake, slice each of your cake layers in half horizontally into two even layers (Tip: don't slice your layers early or they may dry out). A serrated knife works best. Place one layer cut side up on a cake stand.
  • Stir 1/4 cup cold filtered water into the the remaining cherry rum syrup. Generously brush the first cake layer with 1/3 of the cherry rum syrup. Cover the top with frosting and top with 1/3 of the chopped boozy cherries. Repeat with the next three layers but don't put any syrup or frosting over the final layer. Refrigerate your unfrosted cake for 15-20 min to let it rest, then frost the top and sides. Decorate to your heart's delight and serve to the people you love.

Notes

This cake is the moistest, and softest when it sits at room temp for at least 30 min before serving. Enjoy!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Drunken Cherry Chocolate Cake
Skill Level: Medium/ Difficult
Cost to Make: $$

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Natasha Kravchuk

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 and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Comments

  • Hailey
    March 20, 2024

    Hi, I’m wondering if this left you with any leftover frosting? I plan on adding a border and other things with frosting. Should I make a larger batch of frosting?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 20, 2024

      Hi Hailey! It’s been a while since I’ve made this. I don’t recall having much leftover frosting. At least not enough to decorate with.

      Reply

  • Michelle Sablan
    June 21, 2023

    I make this cake every year during cherry season and it’s always a big hit! Super yummy!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 21, 2023

      So glad to hear that, Michelle!

      Reply

  • Tina
    March 14, 2022

    Hi Natasha, can I use sweet wine instead of rum? I have
    Marsala and Chardonnay available.

    Reply

  • Benjamin
    September 20, 2021

    Hello Natasha,

    I’m having trouble finding Bacardi gold is it possible to just use normal white bacardi? Or any other spirit similar ?

    Thank you 😊

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 21, 2021

      Hi Benjamin, that is just the one I had on hand and use for baking. I think there is room to experiment.

      Reply

  • Ana
    May 31, 2021

    I made the cake a few weeks ago and it was superb!!
    I’m looking at making it again next week for my parents, but I highly doubt they’ll be able to eat it all. Has anyone tried freezing it? I’ve frozen cheesecakes before and they turn out great if you unfreeze them for 12-24 hours in the fridge, but I’m not sure about this one. Any tips?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 31, 2021

      Glad you loved it, Ana! I haven’t really tried freezing it for a long time to advise.

      Reply

    • Teresa
      January 28, 2022

      I have frozen it, and we just cut a slice straight out of the freezer. It tastes great!

      Reply

  • Luci
    May 27, 2021

    Hi Natasha,

    I baked the cake in four layer pans for 30 minutes and it is overbaked. It probably bakes faster when using four pans, 20 minutes would have been enough. It didn’t turn out moist. I don’t want to waste it, what can I do to save it? Once I add the frosting and rum cherry syrup, do you think it will be better?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 27, 2021

      Hi Luci, yes, if you baked it in four pans, it is likely overbaked if the time wasn’t adjusted since the cake layers are so much thinner. You can try adding syrup. I hope it still tastes great!

      Reply

  • Lucia
    May 26, 2021

    Hi Natasha,
    For the frosting, would granulated sugar work?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 26, 2021

      Hi Lucia, it really works best with powdered sugar.

      Reply

  • Luci
    May 24, 2021

    Hi Natasha,

    In your recipe, it says warm milk. Do I boil it?
    Would it be okay to add cold milk or for this recipe warm milk is better? Also, if I choose to add less sugar would that affect the recipe?
    Would you know how long rum is good for after it is opened?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 24, 2021

      Hi Luci, warm milk is best. You can either microwave it or bring it to a steaming state in a small pot. I wouldn’t boil it – that would be too hot.

      Reply

      • Luci
        May 25, 2021

        Hi Natasha,
        What can I replace the rum with?(no alcohol)

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          May 25, 2021

          Hi Luci, if you want to make it an alcohol-free cake, you can just use juice (cherry juice would work well, but you can also use a sugar water for the syrup)

          Reply

  • Katarzyna Mackiewicz
    February 12, 2021

    Hi. What creme cheese should I use? Something like maccarpone? Thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 12, 2021

      Hi there, I use Philadelphia cream cheese and not mascarpone.

      Reply

  • Jessica
    November 8, 2020

    Can I substitute fresh cherries for canned? I know it would be better with fresh, but I’m having a hard time finding fresh cherries in my local grocery store this time of year.

    Reply

  • Dorothy Redpath
    July 19, 2020

    Can I freeze this cake. I’m so keen to make it while the cherry are in season. But I don’t have any one to make it for.
    LOVE your recipes.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 19, 2020

      I haven’t really tried freezing it for a long time to advise.

      Reply

      • Cheryl
        April 25, 2024

        Do you think thawed frozen cherries could be substituted for fresh cherries?

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          April 25, 2024

          I haven’t tested that to advise.

          Reply

    • sika6061
      July 23, 2020

      Why not donate it somewhere like your local fire department or doctor’s office, or your local nursing home? Just call around and ask. There’s a lot of places that would happily take baked goods you’ve created, and it’s a great way to meet new people. 🙂

      Reply

      • Linn
        March 31, 2022

        Hey Natasha☺️
        I can read the name of the cake, but would you be able to drive after a serve? Thought I would bake this to my birthday, since I LOVE cherry. But abit unsure about the alcohol, cause my guests are driving 🙈

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          March 31, 2022

          Yes haha. It won’t have the same depth of flavor but you could use cherry juice or a simple syrup of sugar water and lemon juice instead.

          Reply

        • Jeani
          February 5, 2023

          LOL! Linn, the cake calls for 1/2
          cup of rum which is 8 tablespoons. The cake serves 16, so that means 1/2 tablespoon(=1 1/2 teaspoons) per serving, hardly enough to give anyone a buzz! You could sub a teaspoon of rum extract with 1/2 cup cherry juice or water.

          Reply

  • Alice Aivazian
    July 11, 2020

    Do you think it would be okay if I use gluten free flour instead?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 11, 2020

      Hi Alice, I have not tested this with gluten-free flour to advise. If you experiment I would love to know how you like that.

      Reply

  • Daniele
    May 25, 2020

    It’s very similar to the German Black Forest Cake!

    Reply

  • irene
    May 25, 2020

    I used your cake and put a can of semi-drained cherry pie filling in the cake mix. I then used your chocolate ganache for the filling . This was for the real chocolate lovers…

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 25, 2020

      Yum! Thank you so much for sharing that with us!

      Reply

  • Luci
    May 21, 2020

    Hi Natasha,

    Do you have a video of this cake on your youtube channel?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 21, 2020

      Hi Luci, we do not at this time. Thank you for that suggestion.

      Reply

  • jackie
    February 5, 2020

    QUESTION: what kind of baking pan do you use to get it so nice and round and thin?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 6, 2020

      Hi Jackie. I use two 9-inch cake pans for this recipe. You may check out some of the pans that I use for baking.

      Reply

  • Sandy
    February 5, 2020

    Thank you Natasa for sharing your recipes everything looks amazing and delicious

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 5, 2020

      You’re welcome, Sandy. Thanks for the positive review!

      Reply

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