Cherry Chocolate Loaf Cake

So all that talk about extract was leading up to this cake. The original version was on the back of a Watkins cherry extract box, and since Todd loves anything chocolate-cherry, I knew this cake was in our future.

The original cake was double this and baked in a standard size Bundt pan. I’m glad my loaf pan version worked out because it was plenty, but I wouldn’t hesitate to make this again for a large group and use the Bundt. Even without icing, the cake is moist and chocolaty and the cherry extract makes it taste like a black forest cake. That being said, don’t get turned off by the smell of cherry extract alone. By itself, it smells like Children’s Tylenol or Luden’s cough drops, but it’s so much better in the cake.

I may try making this cake as muffins.

Cherry Chocolate Cake

Cherry Chocolate Loaf Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cherry Chocolate Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup very firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cherry extract (Watkins)
  • 1 cup (4.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa power (natural)
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup strong black coffee (or water)
  • 1 cup halved Maraschino cherries, patted dry
  • 1 cup semi-sweet or extra dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x4 inch or 9x5 inch loaf pan with flour-added baking spray.
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium size bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar for about two minutes or until light and creamy. Add the eggs and beat for 30 seconds after each egg. Beat in the cherry extract. By hand or using lowest speed of the mixer, stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  5. Serve dusted with powdered sugar
Make sure to weigh your flour. If you don't have a scale, sift before measuring.

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  1. says

    This looks rich and delicious-but probably not so rich as to prevent someone from eating too much! I have some instant decaf just waiting for this recipe! I have a friend who would love this cake, but she can’t eat any thing with dye. Can you think of a substitute for the cherry extract or maraschino cherries? Or can you tell me if the cherry extract has food coloring in it?

  2. Martha in KS says

    Anna, have you bought the chocolate covered dried cherries at Trader Joe’s? I discovered them last month when a store opened in KC. They’re similar to some we tried in Seattle, but half the price. In fact I’m going to buy some today for my TX aunt.

  3. says

    Gloria, Watkins cherry extract has dye, but you could probably find a natural, clear extract on-line. Or you could just make the cake with vanilla extract and some sort of dried fruit that doesn’t have any added dyes. I’m not sure off the top of my head whether or not Craisins have dye.

    Martha, I haven’t tried those. Thanks for the tip!

  4. says

    I can see a perfect layer of cherry filling going in the middle of this loaf and then into my mouth. *Drooling*
    After seeing these images this is about as engaging I can be :).

  5. Sara says

    Hey there! This is random, but did you figure out the perfect Lofthouse cookie recipe yet? I wanted to make them for my brother’s birthday. Would cool-whip cookies possibly work for the base?

  6. says

    Sara, I haven’t come up with a decent clone nor have I heard of Cool Whip Cookies (unless you mean the ones made with cake mix), but that’s nice of you to make cookies for your brother’s birthday. Maybe you could just go with a really good sugar cookie?

  7. Martha in KS says

    Anna, wanted to tell you that I noticed today that TJ’s has their own brand of chocolate covered cherries – I haven’t tried those. The ones that I can vouch are “to die for” are Dillettante Bing Cherries. You can order them online, but I don’t recommend it until cooler weather. Mine sat in a hot car today & melted a little.

  8. Karen says

    Why are we weighing the flour? Is this cake that sensitive? I would think that all-purpose flours are not that much different from each other.
    Needless to say, this cherry chocolate cake sounds delicious. I don’t like marachino cherries, so I’ll try something like a bing cherry.

  9. says

    Karen, all cakes are sensitive. All-purpose flours are all similar, but the way people scoop them is not. Some people use a heavy hand while others use a light hand. A cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 4 oz to 6 oz depending on how it’s packed into a cup. Weighing flour ensures that the amount of flour called for in a recipe matches what the baker actually uses. That being said, if you’ve been baking for years and are accustomed to fluffing your flour and scooping and sweeping it properly. you can probably get away with not using a scale. Personally, I find a scale a lot more accurate and much easier to deal with than aerating the flour (or sifting) and scooping. Thanks for stopping by Cookie Madness.

  10. says

    I second Anna’s thoughts about weighing flour. I wish ALL recipes had flour weights. It would shorten the learning curve for new bakers who might not understand why their cake turned out dense or flat, or why their cookies spread, or didn’t flatten as intended. Weighing ingredients also means no measuring cups and less clean up! I’m all for that. 😉

  11. says

    I third the note to weigh ingredients!! Better results.
    Love chocolate/cherry combo. I like raspberry with chocolate even more and just bought some Watkins raspberry yesterday, too.

  12. Claire Schofield says

    Totally delicious cake! The chocolate/cherry combo is excellent. To be recommended. This recipes makes into four lovely mini loaves.

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