With its moist cherry-infused crumb and delightfully gooey cherry pie topping, this festive Chocolate Cherry Cake really packs in the flavor. Smothered in rich, smooth chocolate frosting, it takes the essence of a classic cherry cordial and elevates it into a decadent dessert that’s to die for.
Quick & Easy Cherry Cake With Chocolate Frosting
With only 10 minutes of prep and a handful of ingredients each in the batter and the frosting, this chocolate cherry cake is a quick and easy dessert that’s elegant enough to impress any guests. No one will ever guess that the base mix happens to come from a box. The finished cake is light, sweet, and packed with cherry flavor.
I think of this dessert as a deconstructed cherry cordial in cake form. It takes everything you love about a cherry cordial and ramps it up into overdrive. It’s rich, gooey, and full of fruity, chocolatey goodness. The depth of flavor from the chocolate is elevated by the bright, tangy sweetness of the cherry filling and the light fluffiness of the cake.
What You’ll Need
We’ll start with the ingredients for the cherry cake batter, then move on to the chocolate frosting. Scroll down to find exact amounts for everything you need in the recipe card.
For the Cake
- White Cake Mix: Use your preferred brand of boxed cake mix.
- Cherry Pie Filling: This will be baked into the batter and also used as a topping.
- Vegetable Oil
- Vanilla Extract
For the Frosting
- Chocolate Chips: I used semisweet morsels.
- Evaporated Milk
- Vanilla Extract
- Powdered Sugar
How to Make Chocolate Cherry Cake
Most of this cake’s prep time goes into baking in the oven and cooling on the counter. Whipping up both the cherry cake batter and the chocolate frosting is as quick and easy as can be.
- Prep Your Materials: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. Set the pan aside.
- Mix the Batter: Put the cake mix and 1 can of cherry pie filling into a large mixing bowl along with your eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix everything until it’s thoroughly combined.
- Bake: Pour the cake batter into the pan you’ve prepared and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let Cool: Allow the cake to cool completely before you frost it.
- Start the Frosting: While you wait for the cake to cool, mix the chocolate chips, evaporated milk, butter and vanilla in a microwaveable bowl until it’s uniform. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds.
- Whisk: Remove the bowl from the microwave and whisk the mixture until it’s smooth.
- Add Powdered Sugar: Add the powdered sugar and continue whisking until the mixture smooths out again.
- Frost the Cake: Spread the finished frosting over the entire cooled cake.
- Top With Pie Filling: Top the cake with the other can of cherry pie filling and serve.
Tips for Success
With its moist texture, rich chocolate frosting and gooey cherry pie topping, this cake will be an instant favorite for the whole family. Here are some tips for a dessert that leaves everyone begging for more.
- Cut Before Topping: You might want to cut the cake before you add the cherry pie filling on top of the chocolate frosting. That way, each slice will get an even amount of cherry pie topping.
- Spread the Frosting Warm: The chocolate frosting for this cake works best if you spread it while it’s still warm. If it cools off before you’re ready to use it, put it in the microwave for a few seconds and stir it before you spread it over the cake.
- Serve Topping on the Side: If you want to let people choose how much cherry pie topping they want, try putting out a bowl of warmed cherry pie filling so that people can add however much they want to their own slice. The pie filling also has a better texture and taste when it’s warm.
There are so many ways to put a twist on this cake and make it your own. These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling.
- Try a Different Frosting Flavor: If you want a richer, darker chocolate flavor, try chocolate chips with a higher cacao content. You can also go for white chocolate chips for a sweeter, lighter flavor, or use a cream cheese frosting for a cherry cheesecake vibe.
- Mix-Ins: To bump up the chocolate flavor, try mixing chocolate chips into the cherry cake batter. You can also add a splash of almond extract or a handful of toasted almonds for a more complex flavor profile.
- Add Some Ganache: If you want to really lean into the cherry cordial idea, add a thin layer of chocolate ganache between the frosting and the cherries.
- Change Up the Fruit FIlling: Not a huge fan of cherry? Try using a different flavor of pie filling instead! Strawberry would go great with the semisweet chocolate frosting, while blueberry or peach would pair well with white chocolate frosting.
- Top With Cherry Cordials: The best way to pay your respects to the cherry cordial is to swap out the second can of cherry pie filling with actual cherry cordial candies! Try topping each slice with one of those instead.
You can store this cake at room temperature for up to 2 days if it’s wrapped in plastic and kept in an airtight container. Store it before adding the cherry pie topping, and keep any opened cans of pie filling wrapped in plastic in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. The cake will last an additional 3 days in the fridge. Let it return to room temperature and enjoy.
Can I Freeze This?
It’s possible to freeze this cake with or without the chocolate frosting, but don’t add the cherry pie topping beforehand. Crack open a new can of pie filling when you’re ready to thaw out the cake. It can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Chocolate Cherry Cake
- 1 box (16.25 ounces) white cake mix
- 2 cans (21 ounces per can) cherry pie filling, divided
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup canned evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan and line with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, 1 can cherry pie filling, eggs, oil, and vanilla; mix until thoroughly combined.
- Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow cake to completely cool before frosting.
- Combine chocolate chips, evaporated milk, butter and vanilla in microwaveable bowl.
- Microwave for 30 seconds.
- Remove from microwave and whisk until mixture is smooth.
- Add powdered sugar and continue whisking until smooth.
- Spread it over the entire cake.
- Top the cake with the other can of cherry pie filling.
- To Store: Store cake at room temperature for up to 2 days wrapped in plastic inside an airtight container before adding the cherry pie topping. Keep opened cans of pie topping wrapped in plastic in the fridge. Cake will last an additional 3 days in the fridge.
- To Freeze: Freeze up to 3 months with or without frosting, but don’t add the topping. Open a new can of pie filling when you’re ready to thaw out the cake.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.