For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) powdered/white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kirsch, optional – I didn’t use any
3.5 oz (100 g) dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2 1/4 cups (315 g) plain/all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (25 g) cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (120ml) milk
2/3 cup (135 g) canned cherries, drained – strain over a bowl and reserve the juice for later.
For garnish :
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) double/heavy cream
3 tablespoons caster/white sugar
Fresh cherries and chocolate shavings for garnish
Preheat oven to 160C/325F and spray a 2 lb loaf pan with cooking spray. Take a thin strip of parchment paper long enough to stick out from each end of the pan and place it in the middle. This will make life easier for the cake later.
Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high speed.
Add eggs, vanilla and kirsch, if using, scrape down sides of bowl and mix until well incorporated, about 1 minute on medium speed.
Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and stir briefly to combine.
Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix until they start to come together, then add the milk.
Blend on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Pour canned cherries and fold them by hand.
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until it has risen and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes before taking a skewer and making holes all over the top of the cake. Take your reserved cherry juice and pour it over the cake. You may not need all of it, just pour it slowly and wait for it to be absorbed. I used about 7 spoonfuls of cherry juice – you want the cake to be moist, but not soggy with cherry juice.
Leave to cool completely before unmolding the cake onto a plate to decorate.
Place the crème fraîche and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until stiff. You want to be able to pull the whip out and it holds the top, but the tip bends.
Spread the cream on top of the cake or place it in a piping bag and swirl on top. Place fresh cherries on top and sprinkle chocolate shavings over the cream. If you have any cherry juice left, you can also pour some over the cream.
Slice and serve!
The Black Forest Loaf Cake will keep covered, in the refrigerator, for 3 days. Without the topping, the cake will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature for 4 days, so you can prepare it in advance and simply decorate it if necessary!