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Moist Chocolate Cake from Scratch With Cream Cheese Frosting & Cherry Ganache Filling Recipe

Updated on December 29, 2014
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Vespa´s recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook´s Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Cherry Ganache Filling
Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Cherry Ganache Filling | Source

Chocolate Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe Plus Bonus Cherry Ganache

You would be hard-put to find someone who doesn’t love cherries. Scattered over ice cream, wrapped in a pie crust or savored with a tall glass of milk, cherries are irresistible. Drying intensifies their flavor and makes them available year-round, to tweak a culinary creation or as a healthy snack.

Brandied cherries folded into a ganache filling takes this cake to the next level. Skip the cream cheese frosting for a less-sweet dessert and serve the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar. For special occasions, add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for extra elegance. Accompanied by brandy-spiked coffee or a stout beer such as Guinness, you'll have an outstanding finale to any meal.

So are you ready for some cake? First, please enjoy my "Ode to Cherries".


An Ode to Cherries

I am a legend in my own right.

Immortalized over 2,000 years ago, I have been many things to many people: raised by medieval monks and summoned to pamper royalty, I was sought as a healer of lethal illness and as a talisman against evil spirits. Ancient Greeks were captivated by my blood-red hue; Odes commemorated my beauty. To the Japanese I was the very symbol of beauty, courtesy and modesty; to others I am the embodiment of passion and lust.

But life has not been a bowl of cherries.

Unable to have me, powerful men have pined away or taken their own lives. My hidden virtues have been exploited to obliterate enemies. Once accused of murder, I was later acquitted for lack of evidence.

Legend, myth and lore aside...

I am nothing more than a humble fruit, at my best when partnered with chocolate such as in this fudgy confection. But be forewarned: in such company I become even more decadent, seductive and unforgettable.

Men have killed for less.


~Vespa Woolf~

Tips

  • A tip from Cook's Illustrated: dissolving cocoa in boiling water enhances the cocoa's flavor and makes for an extra chocolatey cake.
  • Dutch-processed (alkalized) cocoa produces a black cake while natural (nonalkalized) cocoa gives the cake a redder hue.
  • Allow eggs to return to room temperature before use.
  • If you can melt chocolate, you can make ganache. Although ganache may sound fancy, it's just a blend of melted chocolate and heavy cream.
  • Soaking cherries overnight in liquor plumps them and boosts the cherry flavor.
  • Allow cake layers to cool thoroughly before removing them from pans.


5 stars from 7 ratings of Moist Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Moist Chocolate Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep time: 1 hour 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 2 hours
Yields: Serves 8-10

Cake recipe adapted from Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake

Give This Cake As A Gift

Give this cake as a gift, as mentioned by Suzie HQ in "How to Make A Creative Gift". You'll save money and your friend or family member will be so impressed and grateful!

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
Click thumbnail to view full-size

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Grease the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans. Line with waxed or parchment paper and again butter and flour the pans.
  2. In a bowl or 4-cup measuring cup combine milk and vinegar to make sour milk. Allow to rest for a few minutes as you measure out the dry ingredients.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and soda into a medium mixing bowl. Add butter, eggs and extracts to the sour milk.
  4. Pour the salt and wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a hand mixer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cocoa powder to the boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Quickly add to the cake batter, mixing until just combined.
  6. Distribute batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick tester come out clean.
  7. Cool cakes in pans for 30 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.
Ganache Filling
Ganache Filling | Source

Click here for SuzieHQ's fabulous DYI beauty treatment: Homemade Cherry Face Mask Recipe!

Source

Cherry Ganache Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 10 oz. (300 grams) dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer water and sugar until dissolved. Add brandy and turn off heat.
  2. Pour sugar/brandy mixture over dried cherries and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next day: drain the cherries, reserving the soaking liquid.
  4. Chop dark chocolate and melt in a microwave or double boiler.
  5. Warm the cream and butter. Whisk 1/4 cup of soaking liquid, warm cream and butter into the melted chocolate until smooth.
  6. Fold in the plumped cherries. Store ganache in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  7. When the ganache is firm enough to hold its shape, as seen in the photo above, proceed with the instructions "How to Assemble the Cake".


Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon each almond and vanilla extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (625 grams or 20 ounces)

Instructions

  1. Place ingredients, except the powdered sugar, in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, a cupful at a time, and continue beating until smooth and stiff enough to spread.


How to Assemble the Cake

  1. Spread ganache filling thickly over one of the cooled cake layers.
  2. Place the cake layers in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, or until the ganache is firm.
  3. Place the second cake layer on top of the ganached layer.
  4. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting all over the cake.
  5. Return cake to the refrigerator for 30 minutes, until frosting is firm.
  6. Frost the entire cake with a thick layer of frosting.
  7. Decorate with chocolate syrup and maraschino cherries.

Enjoy!

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Comments

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  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Suzie, I hope you lots of traffic from it. : ) I'm going to add a photo, too, now that I'm home from work. Thanks for everything--you're the best!

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    Hi vespa,

    I know I commented months ago but it is MY FAVORITE recipe on HP! Just wanted to say a big thank you for the double link here, wow how lovely of you! Appreciate your thoughtfulness! :-)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    las81071, I hope your daughter makes the cake soon! It really is worth the little extra effort it takes to make a cake from scratch. Thanks for coming by! Have a great weekend.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Kathryn Stratford, you're so right about ganache. It's really just a fancy word for a simple filling. This cake is one of my favorites and always gets rave reviews from our friends and family. I hope you have a chance to enjoy it sometime. Thanks so much for all your support!

  • las81071 profile image

    las81071 3 years ago

    I have to try this. This looks like it might be the tastiest cake ever. I am giong to send this to my daughter the baker right now and tell her get on it!!!!!

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image

    Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    This is beautiful! I think if I try this, it might become one of my favorite cakes. I love cherries, cream cheese frosting is my favorite, and the filling is a little surprise bonus!

    I never actually knew what ganache was made of, so it's interesting to find out. It's much simpler than I realized.

    Voted up, sharing, and bookmarking for later. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Sgbrown, enjoy the recipe! It makes me happy that you're going to make this cake for your husband. After all, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. : ) Enjoy and thanks so much for the vote, pin and share.

  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    Your "Ode to Cherries" is awesome! Your cake recipe should be x-rated! Chocolate and cherries, you're killing me. I am bookmarking this and going to try this for hubby's birthday on Jan. 3rd. I think he will love it! Voting this up, awesome, pinning and sharing! :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Peggy W, thanks for taking the time to read. Cherries really do deserve an ode in their honor! : ) I appreciate the votes and comment.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    From your interesting Ode to Cherries and then this delicious sounding cake recipe with completed cake photos that are drool worthy...this is a winner hub. Up and beautiful votes!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thank you for coming by, frogyfish. I'm glad you enjoyed the Ode to cherries! BTW, I like your username. : )

  • frogyfish profile image

    frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

    Enjoyed your Ode to Cherries. And then the addition of chocolate with your recipe...you got me with that combination. Someday I shall have to make your fabulous cake! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Beingwell, baking does require some patience but the end result is well worth it. Thank you for taking the time to come by, comment and vote!

  • beingwell profile image

    beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

    Yumyumyum! That ganache filling sure looks yummy!!! I can't bake... I'd have to buy a piece of cake from the store. This got me craving... :) Voted up and shared to my friendzz!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, it really is delicious! Thank you for the vote, comment and pin. : )

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    Looks so good. Will have to pin this so I can keep track of it. Voted Up.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    SuzieHQ, thank you for coming back. Congratulations on your pinterest account and I can't wait to see all the beautiful ideas you come up with. Looking forward to it!

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    Hi vespa,

    Had to come back to this as I just got my pinterest account and . . . .yep this is my first pin and board created !!! Will be going back to pin A lot of your great stuff!!!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    I'm glad you liked the Ode to Cherries. For me, that's branching out! Thanks so much for paying me another visit. Now I have a lot of catching up to do. You always know the right thing to say, Billybuc. : )

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    This is because I haven't been by lately. :) Also, because this looks heavenly! I love everything about this recipe including the Ode to Cherries......great job my friend. Say hi to your husband for me.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    KDuBarry, thank you for coming by! It is such a delicious cake and very special as well. I really appreciate the share, tweet, comment and pin! : )

  • profile image

    KDuBarry03 4 years ago

    What a fun and delicious recipe, Vespawoolf! I just had a filling dinner and now I'm really in the mood for ome chocolate cake :) Thanks for the share! Shared, tweeted, and pinned!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Ishwaryaa22, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub! You can easily make the ganache without brandy. Just add more heavy cream to replace the amount of liquor and soak the cherries overnight in hot water. Thanks so much for the votes, share and pin!

  • ishwaryaa22 profile image

    Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

    Wow! I already told you that I have weakness for chocolates and anything with chocolate in them! Your ode is entertaining! Your tips, instructions and photos all are direct and handy - I leave out brandy as I am a teetotaller(a person who never touched alcohol). The first and last photos are drool-worthy! Rated your tasty recipe 5 stars! Well-done!

    Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up, socially shared & pinned

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Marie-Renee, it is such a delicious cake. Thank you so much for the comment, vote and pin. Have a great day!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thelma Alberts, enjoy the cake and please congratulate your father for me! Thank you for the kind words, comment, share and pin! I really appreciate it.

  • Marie-Renee profile image

    Renee 4 years ago

    I am not the baker that my sister is but am certainly the eater especially when it looks as yummy as this one. Voted up, shared, pinned and tweeted. And bookmarking as well. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

    Wow! I love this cake. But no, not just this cake. All your cakes make my mouth water. I´ll make this next month for my fathers 78th birthday. Bookmarked for later use. YUMMY!!!! Thanks for SHARING. Shared in fb and pinned as well. Have a great day!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    MargaritaEden, it's such a delicious combination of flavors. I hope you can try it someday! Thanks so much for the comment and share. : )

  • MargaritaEden profile image

    MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

    Oh wow, my mouth is literary watering while I am reading this hub, vespawoolf, you are such a good cook! This recipe should win an award! Sharing it.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    cleverowlsoftware, enjoy the cake! It's the perfect dessert for a special occasion and so rich and satisfying. Thank you for coming by!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Stayingalivemoma, please let me know what you think. It's moist and chocolatey, and the ganache pushes it over the top. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Thank you for the votes and comment!

  • stayingalivemoma profile image

    Valerie Washington 4 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

    Yep.....bookmarked, commented, voted up, awesome, beautiful.....I am so making this!!! I love chocolate and have always been disappointed with the dryness of chocolate cakes; maybe this one will be different!

    Thanks for this recipe!!!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, thanks for the vote, comment and pin! It's always nice to hear from you.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    I spotted this cake and I had to stop by. Looks great adding it to my sweet stuff on my pinterest. Vote uP!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Molometer, I'm sorry this recipe put you in the throes of a chocolate craving! Thank you for noticing the ode was meant to be fun and educational. (that must be the teacher in you) I hope you're able to try the recipe soon. It's very rich! I appreciate the share, tweet, comment, etc!

  • molometer profile image

    molometer 4 years ago

    Love the photo of the chocolate cake. It had me rushing to the fridge for a quick chocolate fix. I can now carry on.

    This looks scrummy and the Ode was fun and educational. Kudos.

    Thanks for the recipe. We will be making this very soon indeed. Bookmarked and every button pressed. Sharing, pining tweeting. Everyone loves chocolate and this is a great way to indulge.

    Michael

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, one2get2no. Thanks for coming by!

  • one2get2no profile image

    Philip Cooper 4 years ago from Olney

    Wow...this really looks quite yummy. Thank you.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    PegCole17, thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub so much...too bad I can't send a piece over to you right now! I appreciate the time you took to read and comment.

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    This makes me hungry. And you've written it so well. If you could (and you did) combine three things that I love it would be these main things: Chocolate, Cherries and Cream Cheese. Wow. Decadent.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    GlimmerTwinFan, what a nice thing to say! I would love to have a cookbook, but for now HP will have to do. : ) Thank you so much for the vote and comment.

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

    Vespa - You really need to do a cookbook. This looks amazing. Voted up and useful and beautiful too.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Om Paramapoonya, enjoy the cake! Thank you for the vote and comment. : )

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

    Wow, you had me at cherry ganache! This is absolutely a must-try. Rated up and awesome. :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Randomcreative, it is a very impressive and delicious dessert. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Alocsin, I have also been guilty of indulging in cake for breakfast on rare occasions! I'm glad the recipe inspired you. : ) Thank you for the comment and vote.

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    So many of your recipes are mouth watering! This would wow guests at any occasion.

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

    I hadn't even eaten breakfast yet when I stumbled onto your delicious recipe. Time to get some cake. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Carol7777, I'm glad you like the looks of the cake! It is quite delicious as a special treat. Thank you for commenting!

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    My mouth is watering. I am not a big sweet eater but the cream cheese frosting, cherries and cake have wakened the sweet tooth. What a recipe...It is too good to be true.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Oh, that's sweet Letitia. Thank you!

  • LetitiaFT profile image

    LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

    Not even the 30 day hub challenge could keep me from your recipes!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Unknown spy, how nice to receive a visitor from Neverland. I'm glad this hub inspired you to buy a cake. Thank you for coming by!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    LetitiaFT, you're right about the devil's food! No, it doesn't traditionally call for lemon, although many recipes use buttermilk. We don't have buttermilk so I use sour milk instead. I also love the cream cheese frosting! I'm glad you enjoyed the ode as well. Thank you for coming by and I appreciate the pin, share and comment! P.S. How are you finding time to read other hubs with the 30 day challenge before you!? Impressive!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Mhatter99, thank you for taking the time to come by!

  • unknown spy profile image

    IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

    wow and wow and wow!! im caving for chocolate these past few hours and this hub makes me go outside and buy a cake.

  • LetitiaFT profile image

    LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

    This must be what they serve in heaven, how could it be called devil's food cake. Joking aside, I've never made one, so I really appreciate the tips. Do all devil's food cakes use lemon? I was intrigued by that...

    As for the other ingredients. You got me with cherry. I love your ode and indeed, I've never had an ill cherries wouldn't fix! You mentioned one could leave out the cream cheese frosting. Isn't that an incitation to crime?

    Pinned and shared (just got a laptop so at last I've got the share button!)

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Wow! Decadence at its finest or should I say tastiest. Thanks

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    europewalker, I'm glad you like the looks of the cake. It is delicious! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • europewalker profile image

    europewalker 4 years ago

    Mouth watering, I need to try this recipe! Looks so good. Thanks for sharing:)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    MamaKim8, it is a delicious cake! Thanks so much for the vote, pin and share.

  • Mama Kim 8 profile image

    Sasha Kim 4 years ago

    Beautiful beautiful photos! The cake sounds just divine ^_^ voted, pinned and shared!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Ruchira, thanks a lot for the vote and comment!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Ignugent17, I wish I could send you a slice! Thanks so much for the comment and vote. I really appreciate it.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Tammyswallow, thank you for the kind words!

  • Ruchira profile image

    Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

    yummm :) Wish I had the baker's trait's in me :)

    voted up as awesome !

  • profile image

    ignugent17 4 years ago

    Can I have one slice? It looks so good. Your ganache filling is really tempting.

    Voted up and more ! yum yum

  • tammyswallow profile image

    Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

    Chocolate and cherries! It doesn't get any better. Gorgeous hub with exceptional photos!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    ptrg777, I wish I could send over a slice right now. : ) Thanks so much for the comment and vote!

  • ptrg777 profile image

    Peter 4 years ago from New York

    Never was much of a baker but this looks simple and delicious. Voted up and useful!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thanks so much for your enthusiastic comment, Suzie HQ! It always bring a smile to my face when I see you've paid me a visit. I really appreciate the vote and share. I wish I could send over a slice for you! : )

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    GoodLady, please let me know when you publish your new hub. I'll look forward to reading it. Thank you for the link, comment, pin and vote. Have a great weekend!

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    This is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!! The minute I saw the picture I said "I bet that's vespawoolf" and what do you know!!!!! This is so well presented. Your quotes, cherry dividers (gorgeous!) and then there is the recipe - Looks and sounds delicious and I want a slice now!

    Voted up ++++ and sharing this gem of gems!!!!! Yummy . . . . .

  • GoodLady profile image

    Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Love this. Looks so fabulous. I'll be linking something I'm writing this week to this! Pinning it and voting. Wonderful and appreciate your tips too.

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