Chocolate Fudge Cakes with Cherries in Red Wine
Cherries, red wine and chocolate are all favourite foods of mine, and served separately or together, they are fantastic ingredients, providing they are all good quality. I recommend using dark bitter chocolate with either 85% or 70% cocoa solids for this recipe – the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the better.
I bake the chocolate fudge cakes in small individual cake moulds as they are rich and are best served in small portions. The cakes are equally delicious served warm or cold, but if served warm, the centres will be wonderfully soft, like fondant. I then finish off these sumptuous desserts with a small quenelle (spoonful) of chocolate ganache and a spoonful of British cherries in red wine alongside. Pure chocolate indulgence and deliciousness at its best!
Ingredients & Method
For the chocolate ganache
- 200ml double cream
- 100g dark bitter chocolate (85% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
For the cherries in red wine
- 50ml red wine
- 50g caster sugar
- 1/2 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
- 200g fresh cherries, halved and stoned
For the chocolate fudge cakes
- 25g cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
- 150g unsalted butter
- 150g dark bitter chocolate (85% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
- 2 eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- 75g plain flour
- a pinch of sea salt
First, make the ganache. This can be done a day in advance and kept refrigerated until needed. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring continuously until the chocolate has completely melted. Pour the smooth chocolate ganache into a small bowl and leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 4–6 hours or until completely set.
Prepare the cherries in red wine (it’s best to make these a day in advance too). Put the wine, sugar and vanilla seeds into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a low heat, then simmer for 4–5 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by half and becomes thickened and syrupy. Pour the hot syrup over the prepared cherries in a dish and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. If you are making these a day in advance, let them cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (see Cook’s Note).
For the chocolate fudge cakes, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease six individual 8 x 3cm round cake moulds or tins and dust them with cocoa powder. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Put the eggs and sugar into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and whisk together for 7–8 minutes or until pale, thick and fluffy. With the mixer running on a low speed, add the cooled melted butter and chocolate mixture and whisk for 2 minutes. Sift the flour, 25g cocoa powder and the salt together. Gently fold the sifted flour mixture into the egg and chocolate mixture until well incorporated.
Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared moulds, dividing it evenly, then place the moulds on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until the cakes are just cooked – I like to ensure they have a moist fudgy centre, so the cakes will rise during cooking, but once you remove them from the oven they will sink slightly. If they are very gooey and undercooked they might even collapse with a hole in the centre, but this is not a problem as I like to serve mine warm. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave the cakes to cool slightly in the moulds before turning them out.
To serve, carefully turn each warm cake out on to a serving plate. Place a spoonful of the cherries on top of each cake, place a small quenelle (spoonful) of the chocolate ganache on top of the cherries and drizzle with a little of the red wine syrup. Serve immediately.
You can make a large jarful of the cherries in red wine, if you like, and keep them in the fridge. Simply increase the quantities of the ingredients used and follow the recipe as directed (you may need to increase the cooking time a little when reducing the liquid to a thick syrup). Spoon the hot cherry mixture into a sterilised jar, then cover, seal and cool. Store the jar of cherries in the fridge and use within 1 week. Serve the cherries in red wine with crème fraîche and shortbread biscuits for an easy dessert, or serve with freshly made pancakes and mascarpone for a tempting brunch or dessert.