Let Them Eat Cake

Sometimes we want cake. And not just any cake … we want something rich and sweet and satisfying. So what's my go-to cake on such an occasion? Well, it's a twist on a chocolate-cherry bar recipe that I fell in love with as a child. As an adult, I pretend it's very different by using a thick cocoa-cherry coke mixture to up the chocolate flavor and baking it in a pretty bundt pan and drizzling the entire thing in a fudge-like coating of ganache. In the end, I don't care if you're four or forty, this is one fantastic cake:

I happened to use diet cherry coke in this recipe and it's just fine. It's not like it makes it anything like a diet cake, but a little less sugar isn't a bad thing, either. Use what you have on hand or your family will otherwise enjoy. By concentrating the cocoa in a liquid that gets swirled into the batter, you can end up with a cake that tastes more like chocolate and less like fluffy sugar. It's not that it isn't a sweet cake … it's that the cake really tastes like chocolate.

Then, to add even more chocolate flavor to the party, a thick ganache is drizzled generously over the entire cake once it's cooled. The end result is one of my favorite sweet treats and something my family and I look forward to after a good dinner. This time of the year, it might even be enjoyed with glasses of milk out on the patio!

Chocolate-Cherry Cake

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup cherry coke
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room-temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room-temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-21 oz. can cherry pie filling
Ganache Drizzle:
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease and flour a bundt pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth (the mixture will be thick). Gently whisk in the cherry coke until just combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, canola oil, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scrapping down the sides of the bowl. Whisk in the vanilla extract.

Slowly add the flour mixture in three batches to the creamed butter mixture, alternating and ending with the cherry coke mixture, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Whip the batter until it is smooth. Fold in the cherry pie filling.

Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in the pan for 30 minutes; remove from the pan and allow to cool completely before drizzling on the ganache.

To make the ganache, combine the half & half and the dark chocolate in a microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute and stir well. If all of the chocolate is not melted, microwave an additional 30 seconds. Stir until the mixture is homogenous and thick. Drizzle generously over the cooled cake.

  • Yields: 12-16 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes