drunken cherry chocolate cake

Chocolate cake makes me weak in the knees. It's not just, "That dessert looks good. I think I will throw all inclinations of eating healthy today out the window," but, "I want to sit down and eat a giant slice cold from the fridge at six in the morning with a big glass of cold milk."

Luckily, I was able to do just that this morning! I recently posted a recipe for drunken Bourbon cherries on the Beanilla blog. As I sat down to plan out my posts for the week, I remembered a previous post for drunken cherries. I grabbed them out of the fridge and pried off the lid. The most amazing aroma greeted me; hints of almond, beautiful vanilla beans from Beanilla, and cherries. I knew that those cherries were crying out to be paired with rich chocolate cake. So, I made one, and guess what? It was amazing! My son begged for a piece, my husband (who doesn't eat dessert) ate an entire slice and me, well... I had two! I know you're thinking, "You're a pastry chef. You probably eat sweets all the time".  But that is simply not the case......

As a pastry chef I am around cakes, tarts, cookies, brownies and just about every other imaginable sweet all the time! I bake on a daily basis, whether it is for professional reasons or just to experiment with a new recipe. Needless to say, I get tired of sweets! I know you're thinking, "How could you ever get tired of pastries?" When you work anywhere from 2-12 hours a day with sugar, eggs, flour and all the other baking supplies, you tend to get tired of the smell, the taste and sight of pastries. That being said, I LOVE my career choice, and I love the process of creating a specific product for a client and seeing the sheer happiness that it brings them. I love that I can make their wedding, graduation other event a little more special for them. I love the huge smile and the compliments I receive when a client knows that I have gone above and beyond for them. After all, every chef has a huge ego and simply wants the world to know just how amazing they really are! (Yes, it is true! All chefs have huge egos, and tend to pout when things don't go their way.)

But, put chocolate cake in front of me, and I will not decline it. I will simply sit down with you, enjoy a long overdue quiet moment, and devour my handmade chocolate cake.

Drunken Chocolate Cherry Cake

Chocolate cherry layer cake recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa


  • 12 tablespoon salted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tonga vanilla bean scraped
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp. coffee extract
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Cream together butter and both sugars on medium speed, 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to incorporate. In a separate bowl add the buttermilk, crème fraiche and vanilla bean scrapings. Whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture with the mixer on low until incorporated.  Evenly divide between two 8-inch round pans and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean.

Let cake cool and then slice each round in half. Set aside.

Chocolate Butter Cream


  • 2 sticks of room temperature butter (salted)
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tbsp. liquid from the drunken cherries
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup milk
  • Drunken Cherries - *Chop 1 cup of cherries and set aside


Combine the softened butter and powder sugar in mixing bowl with whisk attachment. Beat on low speed and then increase to medium high once the powdered sugar is incorporated. Decrease to low speed, and add remaining ingredients. Beat on low until incorporated, then increase to high and beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.


Trim the top of your cake with a bread knife to make the top a flat even surface. Set aside trimmings for later

Place one layer on a flat surface or a cake turn table, and frost top of bottom layer. Add a third of the chopped cherries to the top of the frosting evenly. Add another layer of cake, and repeat with a layer of frosting and cherries. Continue until you are at the top layer. Add remaining frosting to the top center of your cake, and work your way to the edges with an offset spatula. Pull the frosting over the sides and frost the sides of the cake evenly with spatula. Crumble the layer of the cake you trimmed at the beginning, and lightly push up the sides of the cake of the cake until all of the sides are covered.

Garnish with remaining whole cherries