Cakes/ Chocolate/ Dairy-Free/ Dessert/ easy/ Fruit Desserts/ no mixer/ quick

Chocolate Cherry Cake

November 8, 2015

This quick-to-make moist, fudgy, chocolatey cake is loaded with cherries and chocolate chips.

Quick-to-make moist chocolate cherry cake (dairy-free) |

Chocolate and cherry is an interesting combination; some hate it, and some love it. As you probably guessed, I’m a member of the latter group. I love the twist of cherries in this cake, and the addition of chocolate chips makes it absolutely irresistible.

Making the Cake
Start by mixing the cocoa powder with hot water. This step helps to deepen the chocolate flavor and make the cake fudgier. Let it cool just slightly until warm. Meanwhile, prepare the batter; mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another bowl, and combine the two together. No mixer is needed. Before folding in the cherries, toss them with a bit of flour until they’re coated. This helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake while baking.

I used oil to keep the cake moist for longer, but you can replace half of it with 50g melted butter for flavor if you prefer. However, this cake is already so flavorful that I don’t find it necessary.

Try not to skip the chocolate chunks—those are the best part! The bittersweet chocolate pieces combine perfectly with the cherries in a way you do not want to miss out on.

Different kinds of cherries work well here, and I especially love how sour cherries work with the chocolate. Fresh cherries are the best option, but you could also use frozen. If so, use them straight from the freezer, without thawing, mixing them with some flour and then immediately folding them into the batter. Canned cherries can also be used as long as you make sure to drain them well and dry them with paper towels, or else the juices will seep into the cake and affect its texture and taste.

Topping the cake with chocolate ganache once it has cooled is always a great idea—both for looks and taste. For decoration, top it with grated chocolate or fresh cherries with stems.

This cake tastes best a day after it’s made, when the chocolate cake has had time to absorb the cherry flavor, so it’s a good make-ahead cake. However, it still tastes amazing on that first day, so feel free to dig in on the first chance you get.

To make a bigger batch, multiply the recipe by 1.5 and use a 13×9-inch pan. You may need to bake the cake a few minutes longer.

It’s also delicious as muffins! I had some leftovers once, so I scraped the remaining batter into a muffin tin and baked it in a preheated 350F/180C oven for 13 minutes (can take up to 20 minutes). They baked beautifully and were gone before I knew it!

Quick-to-make moist chocolate cherry cake (dairy-free) |

You may also like:
Almond cherry cake, a family favorite
Double chocolate muffins—the best I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried many
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Strawberry cake
Simple chocolate layer cake

4.88 from 8 votes
Chocolate Cherry Cake (dairy-free)
YIELD: 8 -inch cake
To make a bigger batch, multiply the recipe by 1.5 and use a 13x9-inch pan. You may need to bake the cake a few minutes longer.

  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot water
  • 1/3 cup (30 g/1 oz) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (140 g/5 oz) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (230 g/8 oz) fresh cherries, pitted and halved (for other options, read above post)
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease an 8x8-inch pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together hot water and cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to let cool slightly until warm.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In another medium bowl, mix together eggs, oil, vanilla extract, and water-cocoa mixture. Add egg mixture into flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula just until combined. Do not overmix—the less you mix, the lighter the cake will be.
  5. In a small bowl toss cherries with 2 teaspoons flour in order to prevent cherries from sinking during baking. Add cherries and chocolate chips to cake batter and fold just until combined.
  6. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (repeat testing if your toothpick runs into a cherry). Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Dust the top with powdered sugar or top with chocolate ganache. Serve at room temperature.
  8. Cake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


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  • Reply
    Claudia | The Brick Kitchen
    November 15, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Ooh I am definitely a chocolate-cherry fan! Your cake is so gorgeously dark here, and those studded cherries?! Yum! <3

    • Reply
      November 16, 2015 at 2:45 am

      Thank you, Claudia!

  • Reply
    January 7, 2016 at 4:30 am

    Dear Shiran, what should be the consistency of this cake? Pouring or thick? Please inform us 🙂 Thank you!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

      I’d say it’s something in between. It’s more liquid than thick because of the warm water.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I used frozen cherries. Maybe this lowered the temp of the batter? I baked a total of 1 hr. Turned out OK.

    • Reply
      October 19, 2016 at 5:48 am

      Hi Nancy, yes, the baking time may need to be extended when using frozen fruit. Also, if you opened the oven door several times to check the cake, that lowers the oven temperature and can be another reason for taking it longer to bake.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Done it and loved it!
    Now Im trying it with chocochips and dulce de leche (like caramel) instead of cherrys.

    • Reply
      December 5, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Thank you so much Jenny!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Hi shiran! Do you have a recipe for blackforest cake?

  • Reply
    February 11, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    So it’s dairy free but uses chocolate chips?

    • Reply
      February 12, 2017 at 3:00 am

      Hi John, chocolate can be dairy free, mostly those with a high cocoa percentage (70%). You can also leave that out.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Shiran, thanks for the wonderful recipe! I used baking powder, and it’s in the oven now so we’ll see!

    • Reply
      June 13, 2017 at 6:13 am

      Thanks Ben!

  • Reply
    Cristi Landes
    December 26, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    This sounds awesome! Is it dense enough to hold up under fondant decorating? Thanks so much

    • Reply
      December 26, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      It should be OK!

  • Reply
    Deborah Nemitz
    February 14, 2018 at 9:58 am

    So it’s supposed to be powder not soda?
    I’m confused…

    • Reply
      February 14, 2018 at 10:26 am

      It’s baking powder, sorry for the confusion!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Yummy! I made muffins using with jarred sour cherries. Great recipe.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2018 at 12:46 am

    This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it.. If I bake the cake a couple of days before serving it, should I frost right away with chocolate ganache and refrigerate, or wait until day of serving to frost? Thank you so much!

    • Reply
      April 29, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Both options are OK!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2019 at 6:11 am

    Omg! Best cake!

    • Reply
      Laurie kind
      August 6, 2022 at 8:59 am

      Needed a full hour to bake!

  • Reply
    June 9, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    5 stars for this! I used half melted butter and half oil as per your suggestion. Cake is light, moist and absolutely delicious. Made it with fresh cherries and topped it with your simple ganache recipe. Thank you for creating this!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2020 at 1:00 am

    Very good recipe. Irresistible. I’ve made it several times now by popular demand. Frozen berries definitely need the flour and a bit more cooking time. Thanks!

  • Reply
    July 13, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    I doubled the recipe and made a bundt cake.
    It was fabulous!!

  • Reply
    Adrianne Gray
    February 13, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    I made this using frozen cherries and it was superb. I have cut it into quarters to give to my children for Valentine. They absolutely loved it. It is so moist and tasty. I even did my own chocolate fudge topping on it. Thank you so much for a lovely tasty treat.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2022 at 4:35 am

    I didn’t have half of the ingredients so had to improvise. I did have a jar of morello cherries, a craving for cake and the determination to make it work. I used the syrup from the cherries in place of warm water and just warmed it in the microwave -because I used the syrup and also hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa, I halved the sugar. This recipe was incredibly easy to make, used simple ingredients and if the batter I ate out of the bowl is anything to go by, the cake is going to be delicious; I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing

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