There is no other fruit that I treasure and love as much as I love cherries and sour cherries. Maybe it’s because their season is so short, and you never get to have enough of them. My dad even planted a few trees in our garden so that we could have plenty of cherries, but even so, the birds were usually quicker than us.
There is a famous sour cherry slice that Romanians make…it’s the taste of the early summer on a plate: light cake sponge, dotted with juicy, tangy, fresh sour cherries, dusted with icing sugar. Or we make a delicious cherry strudel, that I would eat with ice cream and an extra teaspoon of sour cherry jam.
Since I mentioned it, the sour cherry jam is famous too. You won’t buy something like this in the UK. It looks more like a reduced compote. The easiest and most delicious way to use it is on pancakes, or on rice pudding. If you ever go to Romania, you will see pancakes with sour cherry jam on the dessert menus!
Nowadays, a modern Romanian baker would use cherries in cheese cakes, or on top of cupcakes, or in chocolate madeira cakes. Mine here is a hazelnut chocolate cake (no flour), topped with Cointreau whipped cream (you can use Kirsch for a Black Forest flavour ) topped with sour cherry jam and fresh cherries.
This is how you make it.
75g dark chocolate, 80% cocoa
25g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
50g dark cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
80g ground hazelnuts
2 tablespoons cherry jam
1 tin of cherries, soaked in Cointreau and drained
1 punnet of fresh cherries (optional)
150g double cream
50ml Cointreau for the whisked double cream
50ml Cointreau for soaking the cherries
Preheat the oven to 180C, grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Leave to cool for 1 minute.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar until thick and doubled in size. Carefully add the ground hazelnuts, then the cocoa powder. Then very gently pour the melted chocolate in.
At this stage, I would stir this mixture with a spoon rather than with the mixer. Pour the mixture in the cake tin and bake for 25 minutes. It just needs to be set around the edges. Leave it to cool completely.
In the meantime, whisk the double cream until soft peaks are formed, and add the Cointreau.
Assemble the cake: put spoonfuls of the whisked double cream over the cake.You can pipe it if you’d like, in a certain pattern. Darin the cherries from the bowl with Cointreau. Then add them to the cream, together with the cherry jam. decorate with fresh cherries.