For these little cakes, I soaked some dried cherries in port to soften them up. Then I plopped them into a very moist and simple chocolate cake that is a basic canvas for lots of things. In this case, I also added some ground nuts and dribbled some chocolate glaze on top to make them more festive. But they'd be just as good if you served them with a dollop of brandied whipped cream or a scoop of your favorite ice cream. A very quick and easy dessert to lend warmth to a chilly night. Cheers!
- Soak the dried cherries in the port until they are softened, about 1/2 hour or so.
- If you use almonds, the sliced variety are easier to get to a finer grind.
- I baked these in 6 oz (3.75" diameter) tapered ramekins for 18 minutes. You can also use Pyrex custard cups or a standard cupcake pan.
- For the chocolate glaze, chop the chocolate into fairly small bits to help it melt evenly and efficiently.
- Extra cakes can be stored in an airtight container and will stay moist for a couple of days.
Chocolate Cherry Cakes
Makes 8 cakes
1/2 C dried cherries
1/3 C port
1 C flour
1/4 C toasted walnuts or almonds
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/4 C + 2 T natural cocoa powder
1/4 C + 2 T warm water
1/4 C + 2 T canola oil
1/2 C + 2 T granulated sugar
1/2 C dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg @ room temperature
1/4 C milk @ room temperature
1 t vanilla
3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 C heavy cream
1 T corn syrup
1/2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease eight 6 oz ramekins or 8 wells in a standard cupcake pan.
Roughly chop the dried cherries and plump them in the port until they are soft.
Place the flour, nuts, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground.
Stir the cocoa and warm water together until thoroughly blended. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sugars and egg and blend well. Add the cocoa mixture.
Combine the milk and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar-egg-cocoa mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the cherries and port. Pour into prepared ramekins, filling each about 3/4 full.
Bake until a tester comes out clean with just a couple of moist crumbs attached, about 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Run a thin bladed knife around the edges to loosen and turn out the cakes.
For the chocolate glaze, finely chop the chocolate. Heat the cream and corn syrup on low heat until it reaches a good simmer. Remove from heat, add vanilla and pour into a large measuring cup. Add the chopped chocolate and let it sit for about a minute. Stir slowly until fully combined. Let it cool for a few minutes to thicken.
Plate the cakes and pour some chocolate glaze over the top of each.