About this recipe:This all-time favourite is worth the effort it takes to make. If you're in a hurry, but still crave that combination of chocolate, cherries and cream, make the cake without the shortcrust pastry base. It will still taste delicious.
Lynn Lewis and Joachim Wahnschaffe
FOR THE PASTRY
125 g (1 cup) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
60 g butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
FOR THE CAKE
220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
60 g butter
155 g (1¼ cups) plain flour
40 g (1/3 cup) cornflour
40 g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
FOR THE FILLING
1 jar pitted morello cherries (about 800 g)- both the cherries and the juice
Use a 25-cm springform tin. Line base and side with baking paper. To make the pastry, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture forms a ball. Wrap pastry in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
To make the cake, place a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Add eggs and sugar; whisk until mixture is hand-hot, pale and creamy. Remove bowl from pan. Stir mixture until it is cold.
Melt butter and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 170°C. Sift the flour, cornflour and cocoa powder and fold into the egg mixture, using a metal spoon. Fold in the melted butter.
Pour mixture into tin, smooth top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and leave for a few minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C. Slice the cake into 3 horizontal layers.
Roll out chilled pastry; cut out a circle of dough 25 cm in diameter. Place pastry base on a baking tray lined with baking paper and prick several times with a fork. Bake for 10–12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool.
To make the filling, drain the jar of cherries, saving the juice. Sprinkle gelatine over a little cold water; soak for about 10 minutes. Heat 250 ml (1 cup) cherry juice in a pan with the ground cloves and cinnamon stick. Remove cinnamon after a few minutes. Stir gelatine into the hot juice to dissolve; cool.
Spread jam over the pastry base. Place a cake layer on top. Drizzle with a little Kirsch; spread with half of the thickened cherry juice. Place half the cherries on top. Beat the cream and vanilla essence until thick and spreadable. Spread a quarter of the cream over cherries.
Place second cake layer on top. Drizzle with a little Kirsch and cover with the remaining thickened juice. Place cherries on top, keeping 14 for decoration. Spread another quarter of the cream over cherries. Place third cake layer on top; drizzle with Kirsch. Spread cream around the side of the cake. Spoon the rest into a piping bag.
Coarsely grate chocolate over the top and side of the cake. Pipe cream rosettes on top; place a reserved cherry on each one.