Make Ahead

Sam's Favorite Chocolate Cake With Cherry Jam

September 25, 2009
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 1 cake
Author Notes

I recently reunited with my father after over 40 years, along with a newly discovered 15 year old half-brother, Sam. Their visit fell on Sam’s birthday and so I asked him what his favorite dessert was. In typical teenage fashion, he shrugged, looked down at the ground and said that he didn’t have one. “Come on, Sam,” I said, “everyone has a favorite dessert.” He finally admitted that he liked a chocolate cherry cake his mother used to make for him. As he described the cake, any sign of teen angst melted away. I called his mom and she was kind enough to send her recipe on to me so that I could make it for his birthday. I played around with it, less flour, less sugar, more chocolate, and came up with this. Chocolate cake, it seems, can bridge any distance. —sweet enough

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 scant teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup good quality sour cherry jam
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  2. Place the cocoa and 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate in a bowl and pour in the boiling water. Stir until all the chocolate is melted. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract.
  4. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and the melted chocolate mixture. Do not over mix.
  5. Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. To make the frosting, pour the cream into a saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the 8 ounces of chocolate. Whisk until smooth and shiny.
  7. Place the jam in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until it loosens enough to pour it over the cake.
  8. When the cakes are done and cooled invert one on to a plate and spread the cherry jam over it. I find it better to spread the jam over the "bottom" of the cake since it is always flat. place the other cake layer on top and pour the frosting over the whole thing. Decorate with whipped cream and cherries for an extra happy-looking cake.
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76 Reviews

Craig B. January 17, 2021
I made this cake yesterday, and it is a new fave! It is decadently rich and the sour cherry jam adds a nice mild tang to compliment the sweetness of the cake. Honestly, I was apprehensive about the sour cherry jam at first but threw caution to the wind and went with it, and I think those who are also apprehensive should too. Texture-wise, it is moist and slightly dense, but maybe I over mixed it. Either way it is delicious. This cake plates beautifully too.
bronxbaker September 16, 2016
My go-to cake for all family birthdays! Thanks for a great recipe.
mieletsel February 14, 2015
Shoot. I don't have 2, 9-inch pans. Has anyone tried baking all the batter in a 9-inch, 10-inch and 10.5-inch pan and splitting it when cool?
Ann-Marie D. September 10, 2014
Excellent simple chocolate cake I have to say. Bravo!
EmilyNunn May 31, 2014
Oh, I love this story so much! Unforgettable. And I can't wait to try the cake, which looks fabulous. Congrats on the reunion, and cheers to the future!
Memere May 26, 2014
My mother never baked chocolate cake, yet she did white and always used a preserve or jam that we made from flats of fruit every year. We are from the tip of Maine, so close to the border, we can walk across to Canada. I do not know when this all began but I remember this when I was around eleven (now 65+) . She always made a boiled frosting like a light marshmallow. It was sweet but she created beautiful swirls. I used a marmalade, I love the flavor of both together. Thanks for sharing.
Cynthia D. March 20, 2014
This is delicious -- dark, deep, not too sweet, and lusciously moist. May well become my go-to chocolate cake recipe. I used plain supermarket-brand cherry preserves, which worked fine, but next time I will probably try raspberry instead. I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chips for both cake and frosting. I prepped the pans with Crisco, parchment, Crisco again over the parchment, then a dusting of cocoa powder. I did not refrigerate the cake. It has sat out on the counter for two days with no ill effects ... and very little of it is left!
Megan March 17, 2014
Wow- a lot of comments on this cake! I made this for valentine's day. I loved it the first day. Great texture. Thought it might become my go-to chocolate cake. It is not terribly sweet- I might play around a bit with the proportions here if I were more of a baker. Used sour cherry jam which was delicious with the chocolate. However, I didn't love it as much after a night in the fridge. It really seemed to be best on day 1 (and I am big leftover cake for breakfast type of person).
Debra March 16, 2014
Made this for my grand-daughter, who LOVES chocolate.....She hated it.
I did not like it, my daughter did not like it. Even my grandson.....who usually eats ANYTHING....Did not like this cake. This was my FIRST time making a cake that NO ONE liked. But it looked GREAT.....LOL
Mommazilla March 15, 2014
Made this today. I thought it could've been a little sweeter but I like sweet. It's very good though, don't get me wrong. I also used raspberry jam instead of sour cherry and that really made the cake for me. One thing I worried about was the glaze. I had never made or used a glaze. I didn't know if I should let it cool or not. So if you're where I was, I let it cool for several minutes. Basically until I could stir it and steam didn't come off. And I did keep stirring so it didn't crust too much on top. Then I poured it in the middle and let it go over the edges. Helping where it didn't with an offset spatula. And I did nothing to my pans. I just ran a rubber spatula around the edges and worked my way under from there. They came out beautifully. And so did my cake :-) it looked like I bought it from a bakery. thanks for the recipe!
Ruth L. March 14, 2014
I am going to make this today...quick question: greased cake pans....greased and floured....or completely unprepared pans as the recipe says.. ? Can't help but think that could lead to disaster. Anyone?
simple, Y. March 31, 2014
Grease yes, flour optional. I also put pergament paper on the bottom for ease.
sonny March 12, 2014
stop sending EMAILS
Toni March 11, 2014
I am going to make this cake for a group at my church. It sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing!
kristi March 11, 2014
Could I make this without the jam??
Roxie March 11, 2014
I meant if in a hurry or don't have the ingredients listed here, you can use actually any flavors that complement each other, such as a chocolate box cake and pie filling (only these 2 ingredients, no eggs, oil or water) and bake according to the directions on the box. I think this recipe is nice, but more fuss. It was not meant to be nasty. Take a pill and stop being so defensive. If you think it is not healthy, well you don't have to try it.
richard March 11, 2014
you people are nothing but a bunch of jerks,by the rude reply's that you have written in the comments section
Arthur D. March 11, 2014
Any suggestions for a substitute for "Sour Cherry Jam".
Not going to find that around here.
Gretchen D. March 11, 2014
Try a strawberry jam, it works very nicely.
simple, Y. March 31, 2014
Regular cherry jam or raspberry is good. Try Bonne Maman, great brand.
sonny March 11, 2014
pam thanks a million worked very well
Pam March 11, 2014
How can I print out this recipe?
Gretchen D. March 11, 2014
Ctrl + P should do it for you.
Hazel H. March 11, 2014