Treat me: Chocolate cherry cake

Last year I made a decision: I was going to stop buying cookbooks. I was going to avoid the cookbook section at charity shops, I told my husband that I didn’t want the latest (insert title here) for Christmas or my birthday and I banned myself from lurking on Amazon late at night. I resolved to use the books I had (not to mention the bookmarked recipes from blogs) and go to the library.
That worked well – for a while. But then a few books came across my desk at work, I read blogs about upcoming titles and I couldn’t pass up a few opshop treasures. Before long I was in collection mode again. Oh well, I did try.

Chocolate Cherry Cake
One of the first acquisitions – the thin end of the wedge, if you like – was the Triple Tested Recipe Book by Thelma Christie, published in 1959 as a fundraiser for the Lower Hutt Plunket Society. I seized this as if it was a first-edition Elizabeth David, mostly because it was full of annotations and cut-out recipes from the previous owner. I was drawn to this recipe for lots of reasons, not least because whoever owned this tattered collection before me had crossed out various parts of it and added new things. I’ve continued this tradition, adapting it further to fit in with August’s We Should Cocoa, hosted this month by Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen. As much as I love glace cherries (and whatever they are made from), I’ve used dried cherries here instead.

200g soft butter
220g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp brandy or rum
4 eggs, beaten
110g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
220g ground almonds
150g dried cherries, chopped
100g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a loaf or ring tin (lining a ring tin is easier than you might think and removes much of the anxiety of turning the cake out afterwards).
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then stir in the almonds, cherries and chocolate. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the essences and brandy. Add the eggs, a bit at a time, beating constantly, then fold in the dry ingredients until combined.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Dust icing sugar over the top before serving with a nice cup of tea, just like Thelma would have done.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Does anyone know what glace cherries are made from? Do I really want to know?



  1. August 16, 2012 / 7:08 pm

    I love those old annotated cookbooks, what a cool recipe. Thanks for joining us for We should Cocoa

  2. August 16, 2012 / 8:31 pm

    Oh oh, your cherries didn't sink! I wonder if that was because you used dried rather than glace or perhaps it's just because you are a brilliant cook.

    I keep having bouts of NO MORE cookbooks, but it doesn't tend to last either. All this blogging lark can be a bit of a menace. Thanks for playing along with WSC

  3. August 16, 2012 / 10:55 pm

    Love the cake, and the recipe with the dried cherries. Even if it was fresh cherries, it still wouldn't sink if you take out about 2 Tbsp of the flour from the recipe, and mix the fresh cherries into it, and fold it in at the end!

  4. August 17, 2012 / 2:31 am

    Loving that cake! I would so love to try some. If it tastes anywhere near as good as it looks it would be amazing.

  5. August 17, 2012 / 9:09 am

    yes yes and yes please!

  6. August 17, 2012 / 11:11 am

    WHAT a fabulous cake and entry for WSC! Such a lovely shape too, the ring….now JUST pass me a slice as I am NOT on a 5:2 fast day today Lucy! Karen xx

  7. August 17, 2012 / 12:23 pm

    I try to be very selective about buying cookbooks but then I weaken easily – this book sounds like a true treasure – and the cake sounds lovely – I would much prefer it to glace cherries and I think we are quite justified in using dried cherries these days – surely our foremothers would have if they were available!

  8. August 17, 2012 / 6:07 pm

    Now there is an afternoon tea treat fit to serve with my cuppa. Looks lovely.

  9. August 18, 2012 / 11:31 am

    What a yummy looking cake…and I love that you used the dried cherries…I can't get enough of them. Yeah, I hear you on the cookbook overload…there is no more room on my shelves 🙂

  10. August 19, 2012 / 1:59 am

    Delicious cake! And until we have as many cook books as Nigella I reckon we are OK 😉

  11. August 19, 2012 / 5:40 am

    It looks really lovely and the cherry choc combo is great – I'm enjoying all the WSC entries this month. I keep thinking 'no more cookbooks' and then keep buying them. Ah well.

  12. August 20, 2012 / 9:04 am

    Have you ever wondered what the red stuff is inside a stuffed olive? Best not to think about it.

  13. August 24, 2012 / 2:22 pm

    A lovely retro cake. I've never brought an "old" cookbook but I may start taking a trip to my local charity stores to pick up some retro classics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *