Chocolate Cherry Cake

Some days you get lucky because a sinfully delicious, moist piece of chocolate heaven lands on your plate.  No matter what kind weather or calamity you might be dealing with, a truly wonderful piece of chocolate cake can restore tranquility to your life.  This recipe is the kind of thing that gives box cakes a verrrry bad name.  It's so easy and so good that I can promise chocoholics will ask for more.

It's a bit deceiving, because it doesn't look like much and it baked with a big crack in the middle.  But one bite was enough to make me a believer.  Plus, it's even better after it has been refrigerated, which means you can make it a day ahead of time.  Could it be more perfect?

Now that the rain has stopped for two days, the blueberries are promising to ripen and the raspberries are already little pale nubs.  That means it's time to clear the freezer of last year's fruit. I happened to find a nice bag of bing cherries so I went in search of a chocolate cherry cake. One of the big favorites in my family is Black Forest Cherry Cake, but it's a bit of a production. I happened upon this recipe from Gourmet, which is so simple and easy, and oh, my -- it's going in the keeper file!

Chocolate Cherry Cake

1 pound cherries, pitted

1/2 cup sugar

boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Mix the 1/2 cup sugar with the cherries.  Let stand for 2 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350.  Butter and flour a 9x13 baking pan.

3. Drain the cherries, pouring the cherry liquid into a measuring cup.  Add enough boiling water to bring the liquid to 1 1/2 cups.  Mix in the cocoa and the vanilla.

4. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt.

5. Beat the butter with the sugar until lighter in color. Beat in the flour mixture and the cherry liquid mixture, alternating until well blended.

6.  Stir in the cherries and the chocolate chips.

7.  Pour into prepared pan and bake 35- 40 minutes.