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Chocolate Cherry Layer Cake
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Chocolate Cake

1 1/4 cups Land O Lakes® Butter

1 1/4 cups water

5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large Land O Lakes® Eggs, beaten

Almond Crumbs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter, melted

1 teaspoon almond extract

Vanilla Bean Frosting

2 cups Land O Lakes® Butter, softened

1 vanilla bean,   scrape seeds from inside bean

7 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

2/3 cup cherry jam

Chocolate Covered Cherries

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

16 bing cherries, with stems, drained, patted dry

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

 *Substitute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

How to make

  1. STEP 1

    Heat oven to 350°F. Butter 3 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper cut to fit. Butter and flour pans; set aside.

  2. STEP 2

    Combine 1 1/4 cups butter, water and unsweetened baking chocolate in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes or until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

  3. STEP 3

    Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl; mix well. Add chocolate mixture; beat on low until just combined. Add eggs; beat on medium speed until well mixed.

  4. STEP 4

    Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove cake from pan and place onto cooling rack; cool completely.

  5. STEP 5

    Reduce oven to 300°F. Line 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

  6. STEP 6

    Combine 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Add butter and almond extract; mix well. Using your fingers, crumble mixture onto prepared pan. Bake 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool completely.

  7. STEP 7

    Beat 2 cups butter and vanilla bean in large bowl until evenly distributed. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating on low speed until well mixed. Add 1/2 cup whipping cream; beat on medium, 2-3 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.

  8. STEP 8

    Place 2 cups frosting in medium bowl. Add cooled crumb mixture. Stir until well mixed; set aside.

  9. STEP 9

    Line baking sheet with parchment; set aside.

  10. STEP 10

    Place 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips in medium bowl; microwave, stirring every 10 seconds, until melted. Holding onto stems, dip cherries into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place onto prepared baking sheet with stems up. Refrigerate until set. 

  11. STEP 11

    To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer onto serving platter. Spoon half of crumb frosting mixture onto cake, spreading into an even layer. Spread 1/3 cup cherry jam over frosting. Place second cake layer on top. Spread with remaining crumb frosting mixture and remaining cherry jam. Place remaining cake layer on top. Frost sides and top of cake with frosting.

  12. STEP 12

    Heat 1/2 cup whipping cream in small saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbles form around edge and cream is steaming. Do not boil. Place 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips into medium bowl; pour hot cream over chips; let stand 30 seconds. Gently stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Slowly pour ganache over center of cake top, allowing ganache to drip down sides. Place chocolate cherries in center of cake. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. 

  13. STEP 13

    Let cake stand 15-30 minutes at room temperature before serving. Store refrigerated.

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