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So you have found the perfect cherry chocolate cake recipe. The recipe says use 1 pound of cherries. Do you know which ones?
There are many different types of cherries, but they can be all categorized into two groups: sour or tart and sweet. What you have to watch out for is the sugar content.
If a chocolate cherry cake recipe calls for a lot of sugar, then use sour cherries, if the sugar content is low or not elevated, use sweet cherries.
Here are some of my cherry chocolate cake recipes. Take a look, maybe you will find a chocolate cherry cake that you will like. If you want to find more information on baking with cherries, keep reading. I gathered some interesting facts and tips just for you!
The sweet cherries are the ones you see in the supermarket. They are large, firm, and heart shaped. They are great as a snack in-between. They are mostly sugar, but they have some vitamin C, A, calcium and iron as well as some fibers. The common types of sweet cherries are “Bing,” “Rainier,” and “Sweetheart.”
You can use the “Bing” cherries to make brandied cherries, which are nice in the Black Forest Cake or as a topping on vanilla ice cream.
How to make “Brandied Burgundy Cherries”
You can store these brandied cherries for a month in a refrigerator. They are ready to use after 12 hours, but will get even better with time. If you want to keep them for longer, then add enough liqueur to reach almost the top of the jar.
In all my cherry chocolate cakes I use sour (tart) cherries that might have been sweetened or not. I enjoy eating tart cherries when they are ripe. Some types of tart cherries reach almost a black color and they taste wonderful. Tart cherries are also very healthy. They have high content of vitamin C, E, B, as well as potassium, calcium and phosphorus.
Because they are tart, they are excellent for cakes or jams. Sour cherries are also very juicy, so you will always see in the recipe some kind of starch to bind the extra liquids. If you don’t, then either use sweet cherries or look for another cherry cake recipe.
If you don’t have access to fresh tart cherries, you can get them frozen or in jars.
Available Forms of Tart Cherries:
Tart Cherries in a Jar:
The “Morello” cherries that come from Hungary and Poland can be bought in 2 pound jars from Dean and DeLuca. Some brands might sell cherries that are in sweetened juice, others might sell them in sugar-free juices. When a cherry chocolate cake recipe calls for the juice as well, make sure to add some sugar. Otherwise you will end up with a very sour cake.
Frozen Sour Cherries:
Frozen tart cherries are great in cakes as well. You have to place them in a colander suspended over a bowl and allow them to defrost. This might take several hours. I have to admit that I usually end up placing them in the microwave, setting it on low (defrost program) and after 30 minutes I have a pound of defrosted cherries. Usually, the defrosted cherries have less juice than the cherries sold in jars. I just add water to the juice to get the required amount. Again, if a cherry chocolate cake recipe calls for the juice, make sure to add some sugar.
When I bake a chocolate cake with cherries, I always toss the cherries with flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake pan. That usually helps, not always though. In some cherry chocolate cakes I pour ¾ of the cake batter into the form and then place the cherries on top and cover with the remaining batter. This is a good method, just time consuming. It is much easier to delicately mix the cherries with the cake batter.
My grandmother pitted cherries using this hand held device which is still available on the market today, or a similar form of it. I use a “Leifheit Cherry Stone Remover” and that works well for me. I have to admit, sometimes, a small pit does pass through, and surprises the unlucky eater. When I have time, I spread the cherries on my freezing tray and freeze them as separate fruits, not in a bag, where they lose their shape.
Rose Beranbaum advises to use a big hair pin and with the loop end she pulls the pit through the stem end of a cherry. That method might provide the best results, but it sounds very tedious. If you try it out, let me know how it went. I can’t imagine pitting 10 kg (20lbs) of cherries using a hair pin. When I go to pick cherries, I usually come home with 2 full buckets. My daughter, Karolina, loves cherry jam so I always need to make plenty of preserves.
You can choose which-ever method works for you best, but I have found that the gadget that I use works well if you have large amounts of cherries to pit. Let me know what your method is and leave me a comment.
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