Mini Chocolate Cherry Cakes with Cherry Filling
These little 4 inch chocolate cakes are super moist and delicious! Best of all, they look fancy but are so easy to make.
This recipe makes two 4 inch cakes from one box of Chocolate Sprinkle/Chocolate Cacao Nib Donut Mix. Each cake serves two to three people so you can expect to get 4-6 servings per box.
If you were hosting a party and wanted to plate a cake for each guest, expect that there will be leftovers. These are very rich little cakes.
You could also make these as cupcakes (makes 7-8), just without the cherry filling (unless you used a Bismarck Tip 230 to insert the filling).
What you'll need:
- One box of donut mix
- Two 4 inch cake pans (4 x 2 inch in diameter such as Fat Daddio)
- A baking sheet (AKA a cookie sheet)
- Cherries in syrup (I like Tillen Farms Bada Bing or Maraschino - they are all natural!)
- Cherry preserves or fruit spread (I like Crofter's Organic Fruit Spread)
- Two cupcake liners or parchment paper (I like If You Care and Chef Papier brands because they are unbleached and compostable)
- Oil, water, and your favorite butter, per the instructions in the mix box
- Spray oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In lieu of parchment, I use flattened cupcake liners since they fit a 4 inch pan perfectly. Flatten the liners or cut 4 inch rounds from parchment paper and set aside.
3. Spray the inside of the cake pans with the spray oil and place the flattened liners into the bottom of each pan. Set aside.
4. Make the donut mix batter per the direction card in the box.
5. Pour half the batter into each pan and give each pan a little shimmy to level it.
6. Place the two filled pans on a baking sheet and put into the oven.
7. Set the timer for 25 minutes. At 25 minutes, test the cakes with a wooden toothpick* for crumbs. If the toothpick does not come out clean, set the timer for another few minutes and test again with a new toothpick. I baked these cakes for 28 minutes here in Denver (5400 ft).
8. While the cakes bake, make the icing per the instructions. Cover the icing and set aside.**
9. Once the cakes are done, remove from oven and baking sheet and let cool in pan on a cooling rack. It's important that you let the cakes cool entirely in pan. Once the outside of the pan is completely cool to the touch, turn the cakes out of the pan and remove parchment from the bottom of the cakes.***
10. These cakes can be made with or without filling. If you are going to add filling, you will need to torte it (slice the cake in half horizontally). With one hand gently placed on top of the cake, use a slow sawing motion with a serrated knife to bisect the cake. Make sure to keep the knife level.
11. To assemble, remove the top half and spoon a couple of spoonfuls of jam onto the bottom layer. Use the back of the spoon to create a nice, even layer but try to leave a small gap from the edge as the second cake layer will push the jam out a bit further and you don't want the jam oozing out the sides.
Gently stack the second layer, cut side down. With a spoon, scoop a good amount of icing onto the top of the cake and spread around on top and start working down the sides. Use a butter knife to smooth around the sides. Sprinkle the top with cacao nibs and top with a cherry that has been left to drain on a plate or paper towel.
12. This cake is best kept refrigerated (in an airtight container) until ready to serve. Remove 20-30 minutes before serving.
Other donut mix flavor options that would work well as mini cakes include:
- Chocolate Sprinkle with raspberry or cherry jam filling
- Chocolate Raspberry Cacao Nib with raspberry jam filling, topped with a few fresh raspberries
- Vanilla Sprinkle with raspberry or cherry jam filling
- Vanilla Raspberry Sprinkle with raspberry or cherry jam filling
*I like Diamond Flat Toothpicks for this. They are cheap and relatively unfinished. Just throw them in the compost when you're done!
**You may need to add a little water to the icing if it has sat for a while. Start with a 1/2 a teaspoon and stir. Add in 1/2 teaspoon increments until you reach your desired consistency. For cake, you'll definitely want it a bit thicker that you might for donuts.
***You might find it easier to bake the cakes ahead of time (a day or so) and assemble them day of. Simply refrigerate or freeze the unfrosted cakes with the cupcake liner in tact in an airtight container after they have cooled completely. If you freeze them, you'll want to let them sit out for at least 30 minutes before you torte, frost and assemble.