Here it is, at last – the perfect Chocolate and Morello Cherry Brownie recipe! It has taken me months to get this recipe just right! Ever since Dad’s 70th I’ve been on a quest for the perfect black forest brownies … all because my father’s favourite cake is Black Forest Cake. Chocolate-y, creamy and boozy, nothing else comes close. There is only one problem. Black Forest Cake is, by tradition, a layer cake. My mantra for cooking these days is: ‘quick, easy and delicious’. Layer cakes do not fit the bill.


First of all, they are not ‘quick’. There are several steps, each of which could spell disaster. Neither are they ‘easy’. Baking the cake’s not so hard, and I seem to have found a method for splitting it into layers. But it’s the layering of cake with kirsch, cherries and cream where I seem to come unstuck. There are all kinds of slippery, slide-y ingredients, and well, they slip and they slide. Sigh It all tastes very good in the end, but I’m not convinced one should suffer that kind of trauma just to enjoy cake.


That was when I decided it was time for an intervention – a one-bowl solution. First, I thought perhaps a flourless version like Nigella’s might be the go. But no. Too soggy. Then, a riff on my favourite Double Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies. Not quite what I had in mind at first, but with a few tweaks, finally, the ratio of butter, sugar and chocolate I was looking for. Rich, fudgy, fruity and just a little bit boozy … chocolate and cherry brownies; all the flavour of a Black Forest Cake … without the angst!


Black Forest Brownies {with gf option}
Wonderfully rich and just a little bit boozy, these chocolate and cherry brownies have all the flavour of a Black Forest Cake without the angst!

Makes 16

1 tablespoon kirsch or cherry brandy
1 x 670g jar pitted Morello cherries, drained
125g (¾ cup) dark chocolate (70%), chopped
125g unsalted butter
100g (2/3 cup) plain (all-purpose) gluten-free (or regular) flour
30g (¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
225g (1 cup) caster (super-fine) sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon natural vanilla extract
95g (½ cup) dark chocolate chips (white choc bits are also good)
Icing (confectioners’) sugar, to dust

The day before: Drain the cherries and discard the syrup. Place 1 cup cherries into a small bowl and add a tablespoon of brandy or kirsch. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180degC/350degF. Grease a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) baking tin and line with baking paper, leaving it hanging over two opposite sides of the tin.

Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon until melted. Remove from heat.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar and eggs until light and frothy, and then fold in the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate. Drain the cherries, setting a few (okay, 10) aside for decoration. Gently fold through flour, cherries and chocolate chips (if using), stirring till just combined.

Pour into the tin and smooth the surface. Scatter over remaining cherries (halved) and press down lightly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with moist crumbs clinging! Leave in the tin to cool overnight, then turn onto a chopping board to cut into pieces. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Adapted from my Double Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

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