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.

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: $$
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Maryna
    December 19, 2019

    Hi Natasha! Do you think frozen tart cherries will work in this recipe?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 19, 2019

      Hi Maryna, yes that should work great.

      Reply

      • Halie Alexander
        December 19, 2019

        I’ve always used frozen cherries, too. Works great!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          December 19, 2019

          Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

          Reply

  • DeeGee
    May 23, 2019

    Just wondering if I can use this recipe of chocolate cake for blackforest cake instead. I checked your recipe of Black Forest cake, and 9 eggs seemed to be alittle overwhelming to me !! Thanks

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 23, 2019

      Hi DeeGee, I haven’t tested it that way but I imagine it may be possible. If you experiment please let me know how you like that!

      Reply

  • Inna
    April 18, 2019

    Hi Natasha,
    Just want to make sure there is a correct amount of flour in cake butter 1 1/3 of cup. Just tried to make this cake. Cake butter turned out to be too liquid. I added some more flour but it still was not able to be baked due to having not enough flour. 1 cup of milk makes it too liquid. I just cannot figure out what is going on. I checked the recipe 7 times already and it seems like I did everything correct. How does the cake butter supposed to look like, please? Thanks for your answer.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 18, 2019

      Hi Inna, I haven’t expereinced that. I recommend checking our post on measuring to troubleshoot. Did you alter any of the other dry ingrediants?

      Reply

      • Inna
        April 26, 2019

        No, I didn’t change anything…

        Reply

  • Angela
    January 24, 2019

    Hi Natasha! Is it ok to use regular sour cream frosting with a cake like this?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 24, 2019

      Hi Angela, I haven’t tested that but I think it could work. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe!

      Reply

  • Gina R
    December 13, 2018

    Hey Natasha. İs there anything i can substitute rum with? ( Non alcoholic) thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 13, 2018

      Hi Gina, 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

  • Elon Hawkins
    November 28, 2018

    Hi, yesterday I made this chocolate cake for my daughter’s birthday..she loves cherry and chocolate too. It came out so soft and moist..thanks for the really nice recipe 😊

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 29, 2018

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Dee
    July 26, 2018

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday and it was a big hit. Based on the comments here I only used 2 cups of sugar in the icing and it was great, not too sweet. This was my first time attempting a layer cake and I had one layer fall apart completely. The cake was rather lumpish and uneven, I didn’t bother to ice the sides, but while not pretty it tasted amazing.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      July 26, 2018

      Hi Dee, it definitely helps to use a sharp serrated knife when slicing the cake. Score it all around about 1/2″ deep and then cut again all around cutting a little deeper into the cake until you slice all the way through the center. I find that scoring the cake helps to get a more even slice for the layers. I hope that helps!

      Reply

    • Lucia
      May 26, 2021

      Hi Natasha,
      It’s a really good cake. However, two 8oz. cream cheese wasn’t enough to frost the whole cake. If I decide to do 3 cream cheese bricks for the frosting, do I need to adjust the recipe? Add more of an ingredient?

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        May 26, 2021

        Hi Lucia, yes, if you add a third brick I would adjust the rest of the ingredients to balance the texture and flavor.

        Reply

  • Inna
    June 12, 2018

    I’ve been wanting to make this cake for a few years now and finally made it yesterday! 🙂 It turned out really good except it seemed a bit too sweet. I’ll be making it again, but with less sugar. Thanks for your awesome website Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 12, 2018

      That’s just awesome!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Inna 🙂

      Reply

  • Shanna
    April 20, 2018

    I made this cake for my father in laws birthday today and it’s was a huge hit! I used canned sweet cherries since I couldn’t find fresh. This cake was delicious. The only issue (if you can even call it that) is that it fell apart when I cut it. I think I soaked the cake layers too much. It made it super delicious, but hard to cut and keep pretty. This is a 5 star cake for sure 🙂

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 21, 2018

      I’m glad to how much everyone enjoys the recipe! Thanks for sharing your excellent review with other readers!

      Reply

  • courtney webb
    February 3, 2018

    Wanting to make this cake for my boyfriend’s 40th birthday, we recently moved to a high altitude from sea level and I’ve notice changes I’ve had to make while baking. if there anything to note with this recipe?? Thanks! 😊

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 3, 2018

      Hi Courtney, I honestly don’t have any experience with high altitude baking. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful with that.
      Maybe someone else has tried this successfully at high altitudes?? If so, please share your experience and tips with us!. Thanks in advance!

      Reply

      • Halie Alexander
        May 11, 2019

        Hi there, I live in Colorado, so all my baking is high altitude. The only thing I’ve found that is important is adding extra flour to everything you bake. I typically use heaping measurements of flour rather than leveling them like we are all taught to, and it works every time. If I do level the flour, I just add in a good nearly 1/4 cup extra of flour. Many recipes at high altitude you have to bake a little longer, too. I’ve made this cake about 6 times, and it comes out perfectly with the extra flour!

        Reply

        • Maryna
          December 19, 2019

          Hi Halie! I live in CO as well. This Christmas I am planning to make this cake. The amount of the flour makes me a little nervous. I think I ma going to follow your advice. Just would like to make sure I understood you correctly: it will be 1 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup of flour. Right?

          Reply

          • Halie Alexander
            December 19, 2019

            Hi Maryna, yes, I would guess that I add around 1/4 cup additional flour than what is called for. I’ve had great luck with this recipe with just that alteration for our altitude. I would just not level your measurements and whatever comes up in your measuring cup, dump it on in. Making it dry is definitely not a concern with all the yummy cherry/rum juice, so don’t worry-Good luck, let us know how it turns out!

      • ARICA DAVIS
        May 8, 2020

        What about using Bourbon?

        Reply

  • Tallya
    December 19, 2017

    Hi Natasha. If using cherries from a jar, how would I go about measuring them out? The weight obviously would be different. Can you help?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 20, 2017

      You would probably be ok using between 3-4 cups of cherries 🙂

      Reply

  • Natalie
    November 29, 2017

    Hi Natasha. So I have a dilemma. I want to make this frosting but add it your Prague layered cake instead of the actual Prague cream. Do you think those two would go together? Plus the cherries. I feel like because this cream has cream cheese it will hold better together. I want to try decorating it with fondant so that’s why I want to go with Prague layers. I think they are easier to cut and work with. Sorry if this is confusing 🙈

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 29, 2017

      Hi Natalie, I do think this frosting would work well on the prague cake instead of the prague frosting. Let me know how you like it! 🙂

      Reply

  • Samantha Moretti
    July 23, 2017

    Just wanted you to know, my sweetheart and I work in hospitality and with food, and for the past 4 years, my sweetheart had insisted that I make this cake for his birthday each year. He doesn’t want fancy restaurants, no gifts, just the cake. Excellent recipe, really well executed. Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 24, 2017

      My pleasure Samantha! I’m happy to hear you both love the recipe! Thanks for sharing your excellent review!

      Reply

  • Michelle james e
    June 8, 2017

    I cant get past its only $8 for s bottle of Bacardi Rum !! In Canada its $20 or more 😐

    Ps: cake looks amazing

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 8, 2017

      It really is so delicious! Darnit, I’m sorry to hear that Michelle! Next time you visit the states, buy a bottle! 🙂

      Reply

  • Kristina Petit
    May 16, 2017

    Hello! I want to make this cake for my grandmother’s 101st birthday – she loves chocolate and cherries! Do you have a recommendation for how to make the frosting be chocolate flavored? I love this as is but I know she would prefer a chocolate frosting (she’s an addict!!). Any ideas are appreciated!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 16, 2017

      Hi Kristina, if she loves chocolate and cherries, I think she would LOVE this cake. You could use the frosting form that one and use it on this cake if you wanted to.

      Reply

      • Kristina Petit
        May 17, 2017

        That looks amazing! I’ll definitely do that. Thank you so much for your quick and helpful reply. Landed here from pinterest –
        I’m going to check out the rest of your site!

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          May 17, 2017

          My pleasure Kristina! 🙂

          Reply

  • Halie Alexander
    May 2, 2017

    My husband has asked for this cake the past two years for his birthday, and it is amazing!! I am going to try and make it gluten free for his family next. Thank you for the recipe-It’s become a family tradition we all look forward to! (And that frosting is the best I’ve ever had!)

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 2, 2017

      WOW! Your review put a big smile on my face! Thanks for sharing your wonderful review Halie! 😀

      Reply

  • Eva Thornton
    January 9, 2017

    I made this cake thinking it was close to the German Black Forrest cake. I found this cake very dry and the flavor of the filling did not go well with the cherries. It should have been made from heavy cream instead of butter and cream cheese. I was very disappointed to say the least. I will not be making this cake again.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 9, 2017

      I’m sorry to hear that! I’m surprised to hear your cake was dry and I am always happy to help troubleshoot. The cake is normally very moist between the syrup and cream. Is it possible it was over-baked? Did you alter the recipe in any way? Did you substitute with a different kind of liqueur? Also, I do have a different cake posted that is my version of a Black Forest Chocolate cake if that helps.

      Reply

    • Olga Pavlyuk
      January 10, 2017

      This cake is nowhere near dry, if anything its perfectly moist. You must have not done it right, perhaps you should try again.

      Reply

  • Lena
    December 20, 2016

    Hi Natasha, I was wondering if you think that canned cherries would work instead of fresh ones? I get that they would probably be soften in the cake then the fresh cherries but do you think the flavor would still be good? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 20, 2016

      Lena, I think canned cherries would work just fine. Frozen cherries can be used as well. Hope this helps 😀.

      Reply

  • Natalya Y.
    June 27, 2016

    Natasha, for a long time I wanted to let you know how much I LOVE your site! Not only it’s very organized and well put together but your recipes are easy to follow and whatever I choose to cook, always comes out great! I made this cake for the first time this weekend and it tasted AMAISING! Everyone just loved it! Thank you for all of your hard work and time you put into your site!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 27, 2016

      That is such a sweet compliment! Thank you so much Natalya 🙂

      Reply

  • Kathryn @ Singing Through the Rain
    June 14, 2016

    I saw this in your sidebar and had to check it out. I’m obsessed with cherries – especially fresh ones! Pinned this and will definitely be making it soon.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 14, 2016

      You’re awesome! Thank you so much for pinning! I hope you love the cake 🙂

      Reply

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