Chocolate Cherry Contreau Cake

Naked Chocolate Cake with Contreau and Cherries


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened special-dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water


  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons cream or whole milk


  • 2-3 tablespoons orange liqueur (Contreau or Grand Marnier)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups tart cherry preserves


  • 1 1/2 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • fresh cherries, for garnish

Baker's Note:

The photographed cake is four 6-inch layers and two 4-inch layers, with enough batter left to make a single 8-inch layer to spare for a rainy day.  The entire recipe yields enough batter to make a slightly bigger cake in three 8-inch and two 6-inch layers if you prefer.

This is a moist, dense cake which is ideal for soaking up the orange liqueur.


Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray the pans with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Scrape the bowl down and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then the vanilla and sour cream.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing until moistened.  Stir in the boiling water until well combined.

Divide between your pans and bake until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack, covered loosely by a clean kitchen towel.


In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for two minutes until smooth.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and meringue powder until combined.  Add the vanilla and cream, and whip on medium high speed for about five minutes, until very light and fluffy.


Turn the cakes out of the pans.  Place the first cake on a cake board or serving pedestal.  Fill a piping bag with buttercream and pipe a "dam" of buttercream around the edge of the cake.  Poke a few holes in the cake with the end of a wooden skewer, then lightly brush with the orange liqueur - use about 1-2 teaspoons per cake layer.  Spread the cake with a layer of the cherry preserves; the dam of buttercream will keep the preserves from spilling over the edges.  Repeat with the rest of the cake layers.

Once all the cakes are filled and stacked, frost the cake all over with a thin crumb coat of buttercream so that the chocolate cake shows through.


Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium low heat, just until it simmers, then remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and let stand for 3 minutes.  Stir until thick and smooth, and immediately pour over the cake, letting it drip down the sides.  Garnish with fresh cherries.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen