I started calling this cake the “Sloppy Drunk Cake” shortly after I started making it. Because whoowhee, that’s a heck of a lot of booze in one little 6″ layer cake.
But the term sloppy drunk took on a whole new meaning when I attempted to garnish the thing with chocolate curls. What you can’t see here is the backside of the cake, when I got frustrated and starting throwing the chocolate shards against the side of the cake, hoping they’d stick. They didn’t. There was chocolate everywhere.
Not to mention what a mess it was to slice. The whipped cream doesn’t have much structure—neither does the cake for that matter—and it practically collapsed under the weight of the knife. Squish. Sorry folks, no perfectly pretty cake slice for this photo op. After three test slices I gave up and decide to embrace the ugly.
Sloppy drunk indeed.
While this cake is no where near as successful, or as delicious, as some of the others I’ve made, it was different. Light. Boozey. Fruity. The cake itself was bizarre, more of a souffle than a cake. A light and airy chocolate cake layered with fluffy vanilla whipped cream and brandy infused cherries throughout. I liked it. The birthday boy liked it. But it paled in comparison to last years’ cake. Still better than no cake at all, I guess!
1 lb fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries
1/2 cup kirsch
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate curls, for decoration
At least 24 hours ahead of time, put the cherries and kirsch into a container with a cover (a 1 pint mason jar works perfectly). Refrigerate for several hours or up to several days. Before use, drain the cherries well, reserving the liquor in which they steeped.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment paper but do not grease the pans.
Sift together the cake flour and cocoa powder and set aside. Unlike many recipes, the sifting is very important here so don’t skip it. If you don’t have a sifter you can use a fine mesh sieve as well.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the eggs to blend. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until a slowly dissolving ribbon forms when the beaters are lifted, about 5-7 minutes.
Sift (again, don’t skip the sifting!) one third of the dry ingredients over the egg mixture. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold in. Repeat this step twice more, then fold the batter until the ingredients are well mixed without deflating the batter. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
Bake the layers for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans until completely cool, at least 1 hour. To unmold, run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan and invert. Peel of the paper.
In a large chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat the cream until it mounds lightly. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the vanilla and whip until the cream forms stiff peaks.
To assemble the cake, place a layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate and sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved cherry brandy evenly over the top to moisten. Cover the cake with 2/3 cup of the whipped cream, spreading it all the way to the edge. Arrange half of the cherries on top of the cream. Cover the cherries with another 2/3 cup whipped cream. Repeat with the second layer. Put the third layer on top and moisten it with the remaining cherry brandy. Frost the entire cake—top and sides— with the remaining whipped cream.
To decorate, gently scoop up the chilled chocolate curls with your hands and press them into the sides of the cake, covering them completely with curls. Decorate the top, if desired, with rosettes of whipped cream and some extra cherries.
Refrigerate the cake for several hours before serving. This will make cutting and serving the cake much easier (or not, but whatever).