Make the most of this succulent summer fruit while you can. Cherry season typically runs from June through August, so hurry up and grab a big bag of these ruby-red fruits when you see them in your favorite grocery store or local farmer's market. Enjoy them with sweet treats, like these Chocolate Cherry Cakes, or try using cherries in savory dishes. Look for our Grilled Chicken with Cherries and Goat Cheese recipe online at www.allyou.com.
All You JULY 2005
Make cake: Microwave unsweetened chocolate in a small microwavable bowl for 2 1/2 minutes at medium (50%) power. Stir; cook in 30-second increments until melted. Reserve.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch metal cake pan; line it with greased parchment paper.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt; mix at low speed until blended. Mix flour in at low speed until just incorporated; mix in reserved chocolate until just incorporated.
Batter will be thick. Scrape it into prepared pan and smooth top. Press pitted cherries into surface of batter at 1-inch intervals; bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. (Do not stick pick into a cherry.) Let cake cool for 10 minutes, invert pan onto a tray, then invert cake onto cooling rack; cool completely.
Make frosting: Melt semisweet chocolate in 1 cup of cream in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, then stir in second cup cream and chill for at least 2 hours. Beat cold chocolate cream with an electric mixer until thick (do not overbeat or mixture may become grainy).
Assemble cakes: Beat 1/2 cup cream with confectioners' sugar until stiff but not dry. Using a 2 3/4-inch-diameter cookie cutter, cut out 8 rounds of cake; arrange on a platter. Frost cakes, dollop with whipped cream and top with a fresh cherry.
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