Double cherry chocolate cake: A favorite candy in cake form

Chocolate covered cherry cordials. You either love ’em, or you hate ’em. Me, I stand firmly in this camp:

Love ’em! I’ve loved them since I was a little girl, when my mother would share one or two from the box my dad would get her for Valentine’s Day or Christmas.

I even had a certain approach to eating one of these little bombs of goodness. First, you turned the dome upside-down, and inspected the bottom for drips of syrup. These were licked off, then tiny nibbles were taken all around the bottom edge to break the seal.

Next, you used your front teeth to pry off the bottom cap of chocolate. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

Left with basically a chocolate cup filled with syrup and a cherry, I would do my best impression of a Russian vodka lover tossing back a jigger. Head back, swift shot down the throat. Lastly, I would stuff the remaining cup of chocolate into my mouth somewhat inelegantly and think about having another.

Over the years I’ve eaten many a box of cordials; experimented with making my own, and eaten some gourmet chocolate cherries along the way, too. When looking for a new direction for a chocolate Bundt cake, I couldn’t help but think of a giant cherry cordial in Bundt form.

Fresh cherries weren’t in season while I was developing this recipe, so I turned to dried cherries, plus maraschino cherries and their juice*. Chunks of chocolate in a deep-dark, fudgy, cherry-studded cake – here we are, in business!

Let’s make Double Cherry Chocolate Cake.


Dried fruits can be made softer by a little steeping in liquid. While you’re gathering and measuring your ingredients, place 1 cup chopped dried cherries in 2 cups milk. and let sit.

When you’re ready to make the batter, drain the cherries and reserve them in a bowl. Save your cherry-flavored milk for the batter.

*Yes, you can use 1 cup of fresh cherries diced up. They aren’t super juicy like strawberries, so I’d reduce the milk by only 1/4 cup.

Cherry cherry chocolate bundt-001

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. Bundt cakes are notorious for sticking, so be sure to grease and flour well, skip the pan spray this time.

In the bowl of your mixer combine:

8 tablespoons soft butter
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup King Arthur All-Purpose Baking Cocoa
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup of the reserved milk

Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape the bowl well.

Add the remaining 1 cup of milk, plus 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice. Beat for another 2 minutes.

Add the plumped cherries, 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries, and 1 cup chocolate chips or discs.  Blend on low speed for 1 minute to combine.

If you have discs or wafers, definitely try them in this recipe. The big melted pools of chocolate with the cherry pieces are just divine.


Bake the cake for 40 t0 50 minutes. One key way to know if the cake is fully baked is to check the cracks. Cracks are normal for this cake, and should look moist but not wet.

The toothpick/cake tester method is excellent as well, but chances are you’ll hit a pocket of chocolate and that can always throw things off.

By the way, did you know that a strand of uncooked spaghetti makes a great cake tester for deep bundt cakes? You can get to the center much more easily than a toothpick.


See? Moist but not really wet at the bottom of the crack.


Set the pan on a rack and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out carefully and allow it to cool completely before slicing and serving.

If you’d like even more cherry flavor, you can brush on 1/4 cup Kirsch or cherry liqueur as the cake cools. A simple vanilla glaze over the top of the cake is all that’s needed for decoration.

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Double Cherry Chocolate Cake. 

Print just the recipe.

So, how do you feel about cherries and chocolate? Raspberries more your thing? Leave us a comment about your favorite fruit and chocolate combo. Who knows, it may lead to another great recipe!

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour’s baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. AnneMarie

    Hands down, coconut. And yes, it’s a fruit! (a drupe)
    I wish someone would figure out the old Devils Food tunnel of coconut cake!

    OH test kitchen!!!
    Sounds like a great project to me. I’ll add it to my list, which is already stretching into 2014! If I come across a good looking copycat recipe, I’ll be sure to let you know here. ~ MJ

    **UPDATE** AnneMarie, I just got a letter from Lorraine, who saw your comment and she included her Mom’s recipe for a coconut bundt like you are looking for. If you drop me an email with your mailing address, I can send you a copy. THANKS LORRAINE!. ~MJ

  2. Gloria

    This sounds amazing. I love cherry cordials. But now that fresh cherries are kind of at their peak, is there any way we can incorporate them into the cake? Or not really? I kind of think the maraschinos are important though….I hate to use dried cherries when I have so many fresh, plump bings on hand…
    Super question Gloria. Yes, you can use 1 cup of fresh cherries diced up. They aren’t super juicy like strawberries, so I’d reduce the milk by only 1/4 cup. Thanks again for bringing this up, so timely. ~ MJ

  3. Gert

    Could you use fresh cherries?
    Yes, you can use 1 cup of fresh cherries diced up. They aren’t super juicy like strawberries, so I’d reduce the milk by only 1/4 cup. ~ MJ

  4. Mayleen

    Sounds wonderful! I have a related question. How do you get the outside of the baked bundt cake not to be flour streaked when you remove it from the pan?
    Good question Mayleen. You only need a light coating of flour, and if you have streaks, they brush off pretty easily with a pastry brush. For dark cakes, some folks will use a dusting of cocoa powder instead of flour so it is less obvious. ~ MJ

  5. Nusy

    Instead of a toothpick, for deep-dish cakes like this, I use a bamboo skewer. Reaches the center easily, and being the maniacal BBQ maven I am, I always keep a big pack at home!
    Another great idea Nusy. Rock on with your bad BBQ self! ~ MJ

  6. ErolB1

    I’m firmly on the “do not like” side of cherry cordials. For that matter, I don’t care much for chocolate and fruit in general. What I like is chocolate and nuts. (Except coconut, and if the ‘fruit’ side wants to claim coconut for their own, I’ll cheerfully let them have it.)

    So for me: Chocolate brownies with nuts, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with nuts, chocolate rum cake with nuts, chocolate pecan pie…
    ooooh, how’s about a Flourless Chocolate Cake, with nuts? ~ MJ

  7. Carolyn

    Just the place for this comment. I have stopped using sprays to grease my baking pans. It never seemed to cover completely although it pooled in the bottom of the pan and things (read bread) stuck. So I’ve gone back to shortening and a piece of paper towel. No more sticking!! No more pooled oil in the bottom of the pan. And no more build-up of baked on oil on the edges of the pans.
    I have a half-size bundt pan. Can this recipe be halved?
    Although I do like cherry cordials I agree with ErolB1 and prefer nuts (usually pecans) in my baked goods.
    Hi Carolyn,
    I have not tried to halve the recipe, so I can’t give you first hand feedback, but it should work out just fine, it’s a pretty straightforward cake. ~ MJ

    1. wendyb964

      Yes, it can be halved beautifully. With a now smaller family I often make 2 x 1/2 size bundt pans from one recipe. Most freeze beautifully and are great to pull from the freezer for a quick, nice dessert.

  8. Penny

    Mayleen, why not “flour” the bundt cake pan with cocoa powder instead of flour when you are baking a chocolate cake? Works for me. Sometimes I even use sugar instead of flour when I’m doing a pound cake in the bundt pan.

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing them, I think the cocoa powder will work really well.-Jon

  9. Julie

    I just made this. I made it into “Texas” sized cupcakes because I want to be able to freeze the leftovers (a small household), but other than that, I followed the directions exactly (oh, I did use 1% milk, cause it’s what I have).

    These cupcakes/muffins are very moist and chocolatey, but I don’t get a lot of cherry flavor–even with all those cherries. I made a cherry glaze using the cherry concentrate I bought on the KAF site and that did up the cherry a bit. I think if I make these again I might add a little cherry concentrate to the batter.
    Sounds like a great way to bump up the cherry if it was not intense enough for you. ~ MJ

  10. Gwen

    Love the sound of this recipe! My favorite chocolate-fruit combination is chocolate and orange. I use orange extract. Am wondering what pieces of candied orange peel would contribute?
    Hmm, I’m not sure if adding orange to this cake would enhance or detract. BUT you could re-purpose the cake, eliminate the cherries and cherry juice, replace with 1 cup of diced candied orange peel and replace the 1/4 cup juice with Grand Mariner or Triple Sec. That should get you well on your way to an Orange Chocolate Delight Cake. Be sure to let us all know how it goes. ~ MJ

  11. Tonia

    I made a flourless chocolate cherry cake once where you soaked the fresh (or frozen) sweet cherries in cherry brandy for 24+ hours — WOW! It was fabulous! I don’t remember where the recipe was from, but I remember it was on the front of a food magazine that I picked up — might have been a Chocolatier mag from about 15-18 years ago.
    For one test of this cake, I did soak the dried cherries in Kirsch, so that is definitely an option too. Have fun with it. :)~ MJ

  12. omaria

    The “baking grease” works great in my bunt cake pan. Equal amount of shortening, oil and flour. Just store in a little jar and brush on the pan with a cheap little paint brush.
    I’ve been meaning to try this for so long , thanks for the reminder! ~ MJ

  13. John Graham

    Why so much leavening? Between the baking powder and baking soda there is enough leavening for 5 1/2 cups of flour. This could cause a dense, heavy cake. I understand the soda reacts with the cocoa to make a darker color. There is more than enough soda for the flour, so why not get rid of the baking powder and decrease the soda to 3/4 tsp? This should still allow enough soda to account for the leavening needed for the cherries and chocolate chips.

    Also why so much liquid? This appears to be a lean cake, thus weight of liquid should roughly equal weight of sugar. There is 10.5 oz of sugar so all that is needed is 10.5 oz of liquid. There is 7 oz of eggs, 8 oz of milk, 2 oz of cherry juice, and 0.8 oz of water in the butter. This is 17.8 oz of liquid.

    I don’t mean to be a pain, I am just trying to understand how recipes get developed. I am comparing recipes to baker’s formulas and wondering ‘why’ when recipes appear to fall outside those formulas. There may be good reasons why, I am just trying to understand.

    Thanks for your help.
    Hi John,
    It’s never a bad thing to ask questions. The cake has both the baking powder and the baking soda for a couple of reasons. First, you want a little soda there to counteract some of the acidity in the chocolate. Baking powder is there for its double acting ability. Remember, it will react once when it gets wet and again when it gets hot, so it helps keep this cake from being flat.

    Keep in mind too that formulas or ratios are the “bare bones”, or just what you need to make the recipe perform. Ingredients then get tailored to produce different results from the same basic formula. Just look at where we’ve gone with just flour, water salt and yeast! Hope this helps! ~ MJ

  14. Karen Gaylin

    Do you recommend whole milk only? Can I use buttermilk instead?
    I always find it difficult to use all the buttermilk I buy for one recipe.
    Also is King Arthur’s cocoa powder natural or Dutch? Thanks.
    Hi Karen,
    The recipe was tested with both whole milk and 1%. The 1% cake was too dry for most taste testers. I’d stick with whole milk for this recipe. Did you know you can freeze buttermilk? It will last for a few months frozen, easily.

    Our KAF All Purpose Baking Cocoa is a blend of natural and Dutched cocoas, so could be used as either in a recipe. Hope this helps. ~ MJ

  15. Jen W.

    If we don’t have the King Aurthur’s cocoa, should we use natural, Dutch or a combo of the two?

    You can easily use a dutch-process cocoa–the better quality, the better the results! kim@KAF

  16. Danielle

    I didn’t have a great result with this cake because the chocolate chips all sunk to the bottom of the batter and formed a crust that wouldn’t separate from the bundt pan. It still tasted good, but it looked atrocious.

    Oh goodness! Did you make any substitutions? If a cake batter is ever too thin, the add-ins would definitely sink. I might hold back on the milk by 2 Tbs next time to see if that helps keep the cake batter thick enough to suspend the chips. If you tried to use cake flour in place of the AP flour, the cake would not have been “strong” enough to keep the cherries or chips suspended. Or perhaps the chocolate chips were on the larger side (my chips are often large discs, so I chop them before adding to a recipe like this). Hard to say where things went wrong precisely, Danielle, but if you have any insight, please share! We’d love to help you. Kim@KAF

  17. Tiffany

    I made this cake last night and served it for dessert today. I also had some issues with the cake sticking to the bundt pan. I used Crisco on a paper towel and made sure to grease every crevice of the pan and then covered it in flour. I also had an issue with the chocolate chips and cherries sinking to the bottom. I used all purpose KAF and did not feel that my batter was too thin. The only alterations I made to the recipe were to use 2oz of skim milk, as I only had 14oz of whole milk on hand. Also, I have a dark nonstick bundt pan, so I lowered the oven 25 degrees to prevent the outside from burning before the inside was cooked. It ended up taking approximately 70-75 minutes. I wonder if the oven temperature may have been my issue. The cake was delicious, but I replaced the vanilla glaze with the KAF chocolate ganache recipe…yummy!

    1. wendyb964

      No matter which method (brush or liberally rub w/melted butter, shortening, coconut oil, spraying, flouring, whatever) I tried, inevitably they would stick at times. The recipes were tried and true, so had no clue as to why it didn’t work. I read a tip that after you grease (non-spray was recommended and I use butter) and flour or “cocoa” the pan, tuck it in the refrigerator to “set” the coating. Due to laziness I often just use a tube pan, but the beauty of a specialty pan is worth the little extra work to me. Not sure if this method works for everyone, but it has for me.

  18. Megan

    This cake tasted amazing! The only problem I had was my cherries and chocolate chips sank to the bottom and then made the cake stick to the pan. We ate it anyways… it just didn’t look very pretty. Any suggestions on preventing the cherries from sinking?
    Just allowing the batter to rest and thicken a bit before adding the chips and cherries might help with the sinking problem or you could try adding a tablespoon or two of our signature secrets thickener. ~Amy

  19. Amy

    We have a small household, and a bundt is too much cake for us. Can I make 1/2 the batter and put it in a loaf pan? If yes, what adjustments should I make?

  20. wendyb964

    Can’t wait to make this for my little sis who used to eat boxes of the things and remained rail thin. The best tip I’ve found recently to keep cakes from sticking to bundt pans is to refrigerate the pan after greasing and flouring while mixing the cake batter. So much nicer than nicking it out of the pan, and it only seems to happen when the cake is to be given away. btw, with our now smaller household, I always use two half-size bundt pans or, for a round cake, half the recipe to make 6″ layers instead of 9″.

    Great tip!-Jon

  21. Margaret UK

    I have this cake in the oven and am typing this with fingers crossed as the batter seems too thin to support the fruit – although I’m sure that, as professionals, you will have a good reason for this. One other thing – I’m from the UK and don’t find it easy to use the cup method, preferring grams or ounces. I am very pleased that you have the converter but am puzzled why the liquid for the metric measure is in grams. Do you really mean we should weigh the milk? It would be easier if you could put the liquids in millilitres.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Yes, you can absolutely weigh the milk. Our recipe conversion program automatically converts to grams for us, based on the ounces that we put in. ~ MJ

  22. Margaret UK

    Hi again. Thanks for the confirmation. The cake took 65 mins to cook (using my beautiful new Nordicware bundt chiffon tin) and I tried the spaghetti test. What a good idea! Much better than my expensive cake thermometer. Anyway, I have to say I was very slightly disappointed as the cherries seemed to vanish (not many of them in the ingredients list) and the whole cake, while lovely, just didn’t seem to have a lot of chocolate flavour. I do love your site and will try other recipes from it.

  23. Biffhank

    I think raspberries make an amazing mix with chocolate. It’s funny, though. I worked with a gal for 7 years who didn’t like fruit and dark chocolate (she was ok with white) with the exception of bananas and dark chocolate. Now I look at fruit and chocolate with less enthusiasm because of that exposure. I know it is good but my brain worked so long to think otherwise I tend to avoid the mix. But I think fresh raspberries would be great. My gardeners loved Kirsch added to another recipe. Would it be ok to do 1 cup of chopped fresh Bing-type cherries and 1/4 cup of Kirsch instead of the cherry juice in the cake or just stick to the Kirsch on the outside to soak in? Thanks!

  24. Bridgid

    I love dark chocolate with cherry, with raspberry, with coconut (and especially coconut & almond), with mint, but especially with ORANGE.

    And we eat chocolate covered cherries similarly, except instead of taking it as a shot, I would stick my tongue in the cream or liquid, lap it up, and then eat the cherry separately. Then I’d finish off the shell.

    I used to make chocolate covered cherries – I’d soak the cherries in blackhaus, or ameretto, or kirsch. Made great gifts.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      There really isn’t anything that dark chocolate can’t go well with as far as I’m concerned! I wish I was on the lucky receiving end of that cherry-filled gift bag! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  25. susan

    For the bakers who had the cherries and chocolate fall to the bottom. A very wise Italian grandmother taught me to take w little flour or cocoa powder from the recipe and toss with the add ins. It would prevent the pieces from falling to the bottom. You don’t need much, maybe a tablespoon or so. And remember to add the remaining flour back in. Pat dry any wet ingredients and then toss.

    Recipe looks wonderful! Will hopefully be baking this for my guys at work soon!

  26. Carol

    Just made the recipe for the first time! I didn’t have maraschino cherries so I used bing cherries and juice that I canned. Worked nicely.
    I am wondering, can I convert this recipe to use self rising flour?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Carol, we think this recipe would work best with the all-purpose flour called for. Self-rising flour doesn’t have quite the protein content you need for this cake, and the baking powder contained in the self-rising flour may be excessive. Barb@KAF

  27. Ilsa Bick

    I’ve just put this in the oven and so I will reserve judgement on the final product. BUT this has to be one of the most poorly-designed recipes I’ve ever tried. First off, all the ingredients aren’t REALLY listed so you can have everything ready and set up. Slipping in that, oh by the way, you also need maraschino cherry juice and some chopped cherries was . . . well, a surprise. Thank heavens, I read the recipe well ahead of time. But that’s just ridiculous. ALL ingredients should be listed right off the bat.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Ilsa, in our blog posts the link to the recipe can be found below the title photo, highlighted in orange. The recipe page does include the list of ingredients, along with step-by-step directions. Here’s the link to the recipe for the Double Cherry Chocolate Cake. Barb@KAF

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