Rich with fruit, chocolate, and cream, this 70s classic still has a place on our tables. This recipe uses dried sour cherries, but you can substitute good-quality bottled ones.
- 225g/8oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 160g/5½oz self-raising flour
- 65g/2¼oz cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 4 medium eggs
Filling and decoration
- 340g/11¾oz jar of morello cherry jam
- 2 x 80g/2¾oz packs of sweetened dried sour cherries
- 2–3 tbsp Kirsch
- 100ml/3½fl oz cherry brandy (ideally morello cherry brandy)
- 500ml/18fl oz double cream
- 50g/2oz dark chocolate, coarsely grated
- fresh cherries, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375F/Gas 5. Grease 2 x 20cm/8 in loose-based sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
Put the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and eggs into a food processor and blend until smooth and thick. You may need to push the mixture down from the sides a couple of times to make sure the mixture is well blended.
Divide the batter between the prepared cake tins and spread it out evenly with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 22–25 minutes or until the cakes are nicely risen and just beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tins. Remove them from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack. Take off the lining paper and leave the cakes to cool.
When the cakes are cold, them in half, horizontally, with a long-bladed serrated. Take care to keep parallel to the work surface, to get a good even cut. Place the cakes back on the wire rack or a board, cut sides up.
For the filling, put the jam in a saucepan with the sour cherries and Kirsch and place it over low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 6–8 minutes, stirring, until the jam has melted and the cherries are beginning to swell. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the cherry brandy over the chocolate sponges, then spread three of them with the sour cherry mixture and leave to cool. Make sure that the sponge without the cherry topping is from the top half of a cake.
Whip 300ml/10fl oz of the cream with an electric hand whisk until soft peaks form.
Transfer one of the sponges (with the cherry topping) very carefully to a cake stand or plate – slide a cake tin base under the sponge to help you. Using a couple of pudding spoons, dollop about a third of the whipped cream gently on top of the cherry mixture. There is no need to spread it out, but try to keep the spoonfuls evenly spaced over the cake. Sprinkle with a little of the grated chocolate.