Take the classic chocolate covered cherry candy and turn it into a cake! This from-scratch rich chocolate cherry cake has homemade chocolate buttercream with cherries in every bite.
Chocolate Cherry Cake Recipe
My husband is crazy in love with chocolate covered cherries. For his birthday I spent a small fortune on these sweet treats from our local candy shop and was he ever protective of them! With 3 teenagers in the house you have to guard with your life any food that you don’t want devoured in seconds. Everyone clearly knew they needed to keep their hands off Daddy’s birthday candy though. You don’t mess with that.
What is the next best thing from chocolate covered cherries? Chocolate cherry cake! This cake is 100% from scratch and couldn’t be easier. If you are nervous about trying a from-scratch cake, this is an easy recipe to begin with.
How to make Chocolate Cherry Cake
This cake uses traditional, all-purpose flour so there is no need to buy cake flour. Instead of cocoa powder, it uses unsweetened chocolate that you melt and beat into the cake batter. This makes the cake just a little different that your classic chocolate cake.
Use a stand mixer to make this cake quickly and easily. Beat the cake ingredients together, then add in the cherries and beat again. Simple as that. No separate bowls…just dump and go!
If you’d like your cake to be a bit more red in color, you can add a few drops of red food coloring. The cake pictures shown do not have red food coloring. The color ends up being a bright chocolate color without it. It won’t affect the taste, so I choose to leave out that extra coloring.
Chocolate Cherry Frosting
The most important thing to remember when making homemade frosting is to not add too much liquid. The recipe calls for 3-5 tablespoons of cherry juice. Add in three tablespoons, then beat the frosting well to see what consistency it is before adding more.
Allow the cherries to drain fully after you chop them. I even like to pat them with paper towels to remove any extra cherry juice. Once you have the frosting at the perfect spreading consistency, you don’t want any more cherry juice added.
Decorating the Layer Cake
One thing I love about this frosting is that it is not smooth. The cake looks pretty with simple swirls so don’t feel the pressure to get the cake 100% smooth, which can often be difficult. Decorate the top with a few stemmed maraschino cherries for a classy, simple look.
Tools to Make Homemade Cake
- 8” Round Cake Pans: I love this size cake pans since it makes the cake a little taller than using a larger cake pans.
- Straight Icing Spatula: The long straight spatula makes it easy to smooth frosting.
- Wire Cooling Racks: This will help your cakes cool more quickly.
Chocolate Cherry Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter (softened)
- 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
- 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (melted)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries
Chocolate Cherry Frosting:
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (melted)
- 3-5 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
- 1 cup chopped maraschino cherries (drained well)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour the bottom and sides of two 8" round baking pans.
- In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, soda, salt, butter, milk, cherry juice, melted chocolate and eggs. Mix well on medium speed for about 2 minutes until the batter is smooth. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Add in the cherries and beat for an additional 1 minute on medium speed.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
- Bake for 27-30 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when you touch it.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting.
- In a mixer bowl, beat the butter for 2-3 minutes until it is creamy and almost white in appearance.
- Add in the powdered sugar, melted chocolate and 3 tablespoons of cherry juice until light and fluffy. (Add in additional juice, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is the consistency you like.)
- Gently fold in the drained chopped cherries (these should be well drained so that it doesn't add more liquid to your frosting).
- Now it's time to frost the cake!
- Place one cake down on a cake plate. Frost the top of the cake. Place the other cake on top of that.
- Cover the sides and top with the frosting, smoothing the frosting with a knife or spatula.
- Place stemmed maraschino cherries on top if you'd like!
- Store the cake at room temperature. Cover the cake once it has been cut into.