Saturday, December 6, 2014

Black Forest Crumble ~ Dark Chocolate and Cherries Make the Perfect Holiday Combo

If you can make a 'dump cake' you can make this wonderful dessert suitable year around, but it's particularly nice during the Christmas holidays. It has only FOUR basic ingredients! It marries together dark chocolate cake, melted chocolate bits and gorgeous red cherries. Topped with whipped cream, it tastes rich and delicious and is the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Julian's Black Forest Crumble
Of course the traditional German dessert (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) is a time-consuming multi-layer chocolate cake with alternating layers of whipped cream and cherries. But for this version, my recipe is prepared in a single baking dish and for once, I prefer it over the traditional cake version. This is because you get more of the cherry sauce with every bite of the dark chocolate cake which actually has melted bits of chocolate in it. You really will love this dessert and so will your family. And unlike other dump cakes, which are mostly unremarkable, this one looks great and tastes better!

Note: The cherries are key to getting a good result in this recipe and as such you should select the canned cherries that will provide you with the most cherries possible. I prefer one can of traditional 'more fruit' cherry pie filling plus an additional jar of tart pie cherries in light syrup. These are available at my local grocer although today I used some fresh frozen pie cherries my friend Ralph brought back for me from Michigan. When using the jar of tart pie cherries, drain off the light syrup as the canned filling has plenty of heavy syrup and the extra tart cherries fold right in. You can alternatively use two cans of pie filling if you cannot easily find the jar of pie cherries or a bag of frozen pie cherries.

1 can cherry pie filling (21 ounces)
1 jar pitted pie cherries in light syrup
                     (about 20 ounces)
1 dark chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, melted
8 ounces dark chocolate chips, chunks or pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
whipped cream (for serving)
Maraschino cherries (for serving)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Mix the cherry pie filling and the drained cherries together in a 9"x 11" baking dish or equivalent. Place the chocolate cake mix in a bowl and using a fork, blend in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Toss in the chocolate and optional nuts and stir to combine. Sprinkle over the cherries. Bake for 45 minutes until bubbly. Remove from oven and add a Maraschino cherry to the top as a decoration. Serve with whipped cream and a Maraschino cherry on top of each serving.

Serve with whipped cream and a cherry.

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