Milk chocolate cherry cake is decadent, moist, and utterly sinful. I have been making this milk chocolate cake with almond cherry frosting for certainly over a decade- maybe even longer- and it has been a special treat reserved only for birthdays. When I was a kid my mom gave me Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls. I used and abused that poor cookbook. Its pages are in tatters and it is falling apart, but I still pick it up every now and again to make this family favorite.
The milk chocolate cake itself is rich, fluffy, and oh-so moist and delicious. The chocolate almond cherry frosting is what sets this birthday cake over-the-top. I have included the original frosting recipe below, but I recently decided on buying premade chocolate fudge frosting and mixing in the chopped cherries and almond extract. This saves me precious time, and it tastes damn good too. The almond extract makes the frosting taste unique, and the chopped cherries add extra fruity sweetness and lovely texture.
In our family this cake is a birthday staple, but the milk chocolate cake is amazing on its own and would taste fabulous with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or as a simple cupcake. The cake itself is very moist and a warm milk chocolaty brown hue. Cherries and almonds are a classic combination, and the milk chocolate cake could look beautiful with thinly sliced and toasted almonds pressed along the sides or sprinkled right on top. This milk chocolate cake recipe is not really original, but I wanted to share this special cake with all of you!
Milk Chocolate Cake
1 cup of butter
1/3 cup cocoa sifted
1 cup water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
½ cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Cherry Almond Frosting:
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a sauce pan melt the butter and sift the cocoa into the saucepan stirring with a whisk. Add the water and remove from heat. Usually I add all of the ingredients into the saucepan and whisk, but since I purchased the KitchenAid mixer I added the melted butter and cocoa mixture to the kitchen aid and added the ingredients one by one with the mixer turned on.
Honestly, the cake turned out the very best it ever has with the KitchenAid, but it always tastes amazing when beaten by hand! Make sure to sift the flour as the thin batter will reveal any clumps. Grease 2 round cake pans well with a dab of butter making sure to get the sides and edges nice and greased. I outlined the cake pans on parchment paper and cut out the rounds and pressed them into the bottom of the cake pans so I could easily remove the cakes from the rounds.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm. When you remove the cakes from the oven allow them to cool in their pans until the metal rounds are cool enough to handle. As the cake cools it should contract and separate from the edges, you can always use a butter knife to separate the sides if it hasn’t done so naturally. To remove the cake from the pan gently tilt back and forth to loosen the cake. It should pop out effortlessly especially with the wax paper on the bottom- do NOT try to use the weight of the cake itself to loosen from the pan as it is likely to tragically crack or break. While the milk chocolate cakes are cooling drain the cherries so they can begin to dry.
Once the cake is cooled, place the bottom layer on the serving dish and cut off the top layer to make a flat landing for the second layer to rest upon. Remove the cherry stems, reserving some whole cherries for garnish, and finely chop. Mix the store-bought chocolate fudge frosting with 2 teaspoons of almond extract, you can optionally add in chopped cherries to the frosting but I find this looks too bumpy so I prefer to add the chopped cherries between the layers and use the rest of the cherries for garnish.
Thinly spread a layer of the frosting and the chopped cherries on the bottom layer. Top with the second layer and dollop all of the frosting on top of the milk chocolate cake in the center. If you add small amounts of frosting bit by bit you will likely crumble the top of the cake and get an uneven and unsightly frosted cake. Slowly rotate the milk chocolate cake to spread the frosting evenly, you can leave the frosting smooth or give it texture with a spatula. Top the milk chocolate cake with whole cherries and serve!
Note: Original Frosting is 1/2 cup butter melted and mixed with 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/3 cup milk. Add 16 ounces powdered sugar, dash of salt, and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Stir in 1 jar of maraschino cherries drained and chopped to frosting.