This classic combination of chocolate, whipped cream, and cherries originated in Germany. Historians believe it dates as far back as the 16th century, from a region known for its sour cherries and kirsch (cherry brandy). Most recipes I come across these days call for store-bought cherry pie filling and maraschino cherries, both loaded with preservatives, sugar, and additives. If you have access to sour cherries, a homemade pie filling could be prepared, should you desire.
However, I’ve discovered that this cake is spectacular when prepared with sweet Bing cherries, which are at their peak right now. This brings us to my revamped version of a time-honored European confection. We’ve swapped out the chocolate cake made with refined flour and sugars for a low-sweetener, grain-free alternative, and used juicy Bing cherries over the cloying, gelatinous pie filling. What’s best is that this cake works equally well, if not better, with defrosted, previously frozen cherries. So, pick up a whole box while they’re in season, and freeze them for many delicious cakes to come!
4 egg whites
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup melted butter, coconut oil, or neutral-flavored oil
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 quart heavy cream
Honey, stevia, or maple syrup, to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or defrosted Bing cherries, pitted
8 cherries, for garnish
1/2 cup shaved or grated bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, for garnish
The day before you plan to serve the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare an 8–9 inch cake pan (I use a spring-form) by greasing lightly with butter and lining with parchment paper.
Separate egg whites from yolks, being careful not to get any yolks into the whites. Place each in a medium-sized bowl.
Combine yolks with coconut sugar, melted butter/oil, water, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour yolk mixture into flour mixture, and whisk to combine.
Whip egg whites with an electric mixer or a wire whip until they form stiff peaks. Spoon whites into batter mixture, and gently fold until fully combined, being careful not to over-mix.
Pour into prepared cake pan, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when tested, about 45–60 minutes, depending on the size of your pan.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15–20 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely. Wrap securely with plastic, and refrigerate until chilled.
The day of serving:
Whip cream with an electric mixer or a wire whisk until stiff but still spreadable. Add sweetener to your taste, along with vanilla extract. Set aside in fridge.
Pit cherries, if you haven’t already done so. Set aside.
Slice cake horizontally into three equal sections. Place the bottom on a plate or cake board.
Spoon about a fifth of the cream onto the first cake layer. Top with half the pitted cherries, then a second layer of cake. Repeat with the next layer. Top with final cake layer.
Use remaining cream to ice the sides and top of the cake using a spatula or palette knife. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.
Place grated chocolate on a plate, and hold the cake underneath with one hand while you press the chocolate into the side with the other hand. If desired, use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to arrange eight rosettes of cream atop the cake. Top cake with reserved cherries for garnish.
Serve cake well chilled.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
·chemical- and hormone-free meat
·pastured-raised, organic eggs
·whole, unrefined grains
·virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
·whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
·pure, clean, spring water
·raw and/or cultured milk and cream products