This tower of boozy cherries, cocoa cream and layers of chocolate cake is an indulgent but minimal update to the classic
For the cake:
• 80g unsalted butter
• 190g caster sugar
• 6 medium eggs
• 120g plain flour
• 70g cocoa powder
For the kirsch-poached cherries:
• 120g caster sugar
• 6 tablespoons kirsch
• 450g fresh cherries, halved, stones removed
For the cream filling:
• 4 tablespoons icing sugar
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 600ml double cream
• Cocoa powder, to dust
• 175g fresh cherries
• Chocolate curls
1 Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease the cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
2 Melt the butter over a medium heat and set aside to cool slightly. Place the sugar and eggs in a clean bowl and whisk briefly on a low speed with an electric hand mixer. Set the bowl snugly over a pan of just-boiled water.
3 Continue whisking on a low speed for 2–3 minutes, then increase the speed for 3–4 minutes or until the mixture is pale, has increased in volume and leaves a trail when the beaters are lifted out of the bowl.
4 Remove the bowl from the pan and continue to whisk the mixture for 2–3 minutes or until it has cooled to room temperature.
5 Pour the melted butter down the side of the bowl and fold briefly. Then sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold again until just incorporated (avoid over-mixing as you will lose all of the air).
6 Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins and bake in the oven for 25–35 minutes or until risen and springy.
7 The cakes will have shrunk away from the sides when they are ready. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins on a wire rack.
8 While the cakes are cooling, make the kirsch-poached cherries. Heat the sugar and 120 ml water in a saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
9 Add the kirsch and cherries and simmer gently for 2–3 minutes or until the cherries are tender but still hold their shape. Strain the cherries (keep the syrup for later) and set aside to cool.
10 Once the cakes are completely cool, use a cutlery knife to loosen the sides, turn out and split each cake in half to give you four layers in total.
11 For the cream filling, add the icing sugar and cocoa powder to the cream in a bowl and whisk until the cream just holds its shape.
12 To assemble the torte, brush some of the kirsch syrup over the first layer, spoon over a third of the cream and arrange a third of the poached cherries on top.
13 Repeat with the second and third layers, ending with the final layer and top with a dusting of cocoa powder, a pile of fresh cherries and a few of the chocolate curls.
14 Chill for 1–2 hours and take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before serving.
Recipe courtesy of April Carter, extracted from Decorated