Chocolate Cherry Cake

With cherry blossom in full bloom, now is the perfect time to celebrate the fruits of summer with this rich and gooey, flour-less chocolate cake. The deep, sweet and earthy flavour of black cherry has to be one of the greatest partners for dark chocolate. Sliced and served with fresh cherries and a dollop of creamy yogurt, this is the ultimate summer indulgence.

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Serves 10-12
INGREDIENTS

250g soft light brown sugar
50ml water
250g unsalted butter, cubed
250g dark chocolate (75%, or your preference), broken in to small pieces.
4 large eggs, separated
100g pitted cherries (defrosted if frozen)
Pinch of sea salt (around 1/4 teaspoon)
Cocoa powder, to dust

METHOD

Set the oven to 170°C and grease and line a 10" springform cake tin.

Place the chopped butter and dark chocolate into a large heat-proof mixing bowl.

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring often, until you have a bubbling but still liquid syrup.

Carefully pour the syrup into the mixing bowl over the chocolate and butter, and stir until everything has melted together and you have a smooth chocolate sauce. Next mix in the egg yolks one at a time until well combined, then fold in the cherries and add a pinch of sea salt. Leave to cool.

While you wait, whisk the egg whites in a clean glass or metal bowl until it holds stiff but still silky peaks.

Using a metal spoon, lightly fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, 1/3 at a time, making sure to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Don't worry if there are some small bits of white still visible, it's more important to keep it light.

Quickly pour the mixture into the cake tin and lightly smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for around 50 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out almost clean, but with a little mixture clinging to it.

Place the cake on a rack and leave in the tin until completely cooled.

Once cool, remove from the tin. This is a soft and gooey cake, so you may need a spatula to lift it from the base of the tin. It may have some sink holes or cracks, but the taste makes up for that.

Place on a serving plate and dust with cocoa powder. Serve sliced with fresh cherries and creme fraiche or yogurt.