simple chocolate cherry cake


This simple chocolate cherry cake is just that – uncomplicated, perfect to make on a leisurely Sunday afternoon or a weekday morning to share later with friends. There’s no layer of creamy frosting or glossy glaze here, yet this cake shines in its own quiet way. Any such adornment might upset the otherwise beautiful balance.

Chocolate and cherry work in unison, neither one overpowering the other. Cinnamon adds an unexpected warmth that is most welcome against the pillowy chocolate cake dotted with fresh cherries. I find a wedge makes a lovely afternoon pick-me-up, though I also enjoy a sliver topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

I am entering this cake in the OXO Cherry Recipe Contest.

Simple Chocolate Cherry Cake
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 1/4 cups cherries, pitted
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F and spray an 8-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with an offset spatula. Arrange cherries on top and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 25 minutes, until cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days and warm before serving.

Yield – 8 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
Calories – 192
Carbs – 30

  1. Yes, please to your lovely chocolate cake with cherries and yes, please to the scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, yes,please to your beautiful dessert;-)

  2. You’re making me so sad right now because there’s no cherries where I am! It’s winter here in Australia and whatever cherry is available is VERY expensive. :(( Going to have to keep this recipe until summer. 🙂

  3. I would love a slice of that cake now – and it’s only breakfast time here in Brooklyn. There is something about chocolate paired with cherries that always feels so indulgent. I love the fancy look to it – with the cherries dotted along the top. Yum.

  4. Oh my goodness! Another scrumptious cherry recipe! Even though we had unseasonal rain earlier this week, I should be able to pick cherries soon. Seeing each new cherry recipe on your blog is such a teaser! I have been daydreaming of pairing chocolate and cherries and today’s splendid post is an indication that that may be a very good plan. What a scrumptious treat!

  5. My kind of baking! These are my favorite types of desserts. We both were thinking along the same line…I have a simple cake coming up but I know my son would prefer yours better since yours is beautifully chocolate-y 🙂 He’s been complaining that I “never” make his favorite flavor cake. I am sure if I made this for him (and I will), he will forgive me.

  6. Cherry picking in almost 2 weeks! I can’t wait to make cherry desserts. I know my kids will prefer having some chocolate in the dessert… 🙂 Or I should say that’s a requirement for me. Beautiful cake, Laura!

  7. Looks so pretty Laura – I love the cute little wells made by the cherries. I think I read someone recently saying they hated the combination of cherries and chocolate… can you believe it? It’s a wonderful combo!

  8. Being a chocoholic, i love everything to do with chocolate and this cake is no exception! I love the idea of addng cherries…it probably gives the cake a huge burst of flavor!

  9. Laura, this would be perfect with the cherry chocolate ice cream I made last week! I love cakes like this – they’re perfect for a weeknight.

  10. I love every thing about this beautiful cake, Laura. Chocolate and cherries is a favorite combo of mine. Your photos are lovely and enticing:)

  11. I have been looking for a good choc ‘n cherry cake for a while, and this one looks just right. Trouble is, in England, we only use ounces or grams to measure ingredients, and I have no idea what equivalent your “cup” would be.
    Can you help?

    1. Hi Carol, thanks for your comment! Here’s a handy cooking conversion guide for you:
      Select a “substance” from the drop-down menu and then you can convert. So for this recipe, you’d want to use:

      85 grams flour
      28 grams cocoa
      95 grams sugar
      4 ounces milk
      185 grams cherries

      Hope that helps!

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