Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

This chocolate cherry bundt cake is made from scratch with real cherries, and topped with a rich chocolate fudge frosting.  Make with fresh or frozen cherries for a perfect year round treat!

a chocolate cherry bundt cake covered in fudge frosting and topped with fresh cherries on a white cake stand

Back in June, I shared this recipe for Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins and mentioned I had two more fresh cherry recipes to share this summer.

Given how much traffic it’s already generated, I’m thrilled to see you guys also love the chocolate and cherry combination (it’s one of my favorites, too) — because here’s another!

This time, we’re going back to my trust favorite baked dessert: the bundt cake! I love bundt cakes because somehow they’re both really easy and a little fancy.

Why bake a sheet cake when you can make a bundt cake in a pretty mold? And then decorate it with some chocolate fudge frosting and fresh cherries. Why, indeed?

A quick Google search shows that most chocolate cherry cakes are made with chocolate cake mix and a jar of cherry pie filling.

I’m sure these are delicious (because how can you go wrong with chocolate cake and cherry pie filling?) but today, we’re going homemade with our chocolate cherry bundt cake.

overhead view of a chocolate cherry bundt cake on a round cooling rack with fresh cherries in the background

How to Make Chocolate Cherry Cake from Scratch

The chocolate bundt cake batter is one of my favorites — in fact, it’s based off my chocolate fudge bundt cake and hot chocolate bundt cake.

To turn it into a chocolate cherry bundt cake, we’ll add in some cherries, of course. Skip the cherry pie filling and use real cherries. Fresh or frozen work fine, but I can’t resist baking with fresh cherries this time of year!

We’ll also add in some almond extract because cherry and almond pairs so well together. Adding a little almond extract makes this cake somehow taste even cherry-ier.

thick chocolate fudge frosting dripping over the sides of a chocolate cherry bundt cake

How to Make Fudge Frosting for Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

But maybe the very best part of this chocolate cherry bundt cake? The fudge frosting!

Bundt cakes are often left naked, or drizzled with a slight glaze. Not today, friends! We’re mixing up a batch of rich, fudgy chocolate frosting to pour on top.

This fudge frosting really is fudge-like — it’s a recipe similar to old-fashioned boiled fudge, except instead of pouring it into a mold, we’re going to pour it over our cake!

(It’s also easier than fudge – we don’t have to break out a candy thermometer because we don’t need, or want, the fudge to set to a hard consistency; we want it to stay soft enough to cut through with a fork while we eat the cake!)

This is where it gets a little “choose your own dessert adventure”-ish, based on how much cherry flavor you like in your chocolate cherry cake.

Do you LOVE cherries? Use some cherry juice in the frosting, to really amp up the cherry flavor. You can find your own at the grocery store, or blend up some cherries in a blender and strain out the solids.

Do you like cherries but want to keep your fudge frosting as chocolatey as possible? Just stick with milk.

To make this frosting, bring the sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and (optional) cherry juice to a hard boil. The most important part of this? Bring the mixture to a boil! It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

For super smooth fudge frosting, make sure the ingredients come to a rolling boil. Fudge is a super-concentrated sugar solution and sets when the sugar (dissolved in the milk) comes back out of solution and forms crystals.

After boiling the mixture, remove from heat and add in the butter and vanilla extract. Beat hard with a wooden spoon until the frosting starts to stiffen, then pour over the cake. It will harden further as it cools!

one slice of chocolate cherry bundt cake on stack of dessert plates showing the dark chocolate interior and thick layer of fudge frosting

How to Store Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

This cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, refrigerated for up to 5 days (it’s safe for a bit longer, but will definitely taste stale!), or frozen for up to 3 months.

To make the cake ahead of time, bake the chocolate cherry cake, cool completely, wrap in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze. Thaw to room temperature, then add the frosting.

To freeze extra slices of already frosted cake, cut into individual slices and freeze upright on a sheet pan. Once fully frozen and the frosting is hard, wrap each slice in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil, and store in a freezer-safe storage bag.

a chocolate cherry bundt cake covered with fudge frosting decorated with fresh cherries next to a slice of the cake and a bowl of fresh cherries

Tips and Tricks for the best Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

  1. If using fresh cherries, a cherry pitter makes life easier.  I recommend this four-at-a-time cherry pitter.
  2. No cherry pitter on hand? No problem!  To pit a cherry without a cherry pitter, push a plastic straw through the stem of the cherry until the pit pushes out the other side.
  3. Baking outside of cherry season?  Use frozen cherries when you can’t find fresh!  Toss the frozen cherries with 1/4 cup of flour to help absorb excess liquid and mix the berries into the batter straight from frozen.
  4. Looking to perfect your bundt cake baking sills?  Definitely give this post on ESSENTIAL BUNDT CAKE TIPS a quick read — it covers everything from how to make sure your bundt cake doesn’t stick to how to prevent the bottom of the cake from doming! 
  5. For a pure chocolate fudge frosting, omit the cherry juice and use 1 full cup of milk instead.

More Cherry Recipes:

Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

Yield: Serves 16
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

This chocolate cherry bundt cake is made from scratch with real cherries, and topped with a rich chocolate fudge frosting. 

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted halved cherries

For the Fudge Frosting:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cherry juice
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into 8 cubes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • additional cherries, for decorating

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and almond extracts. Pour in 1/2 cup of the milk.
  3. On low speed, beat in the remaining dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, flour, and confectioners' sugar), followed by the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, mixing until just combined and no dry streaks of flour remain. Fold in the chocolate chips and halved cherries.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a moist crumb. Cool upright on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert and remove from the pan to cool completely.
  5. While the cake cools, make the chocolate fudge frosting. Mix together the sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and cherry juice in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches a hard boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Beat the frosting with a spoon until thick and smooth and the color lightens to a medium brown.
  6. As soon as the mixture starts to thicken, pour the frosting over the cake, helping it spill down the sides. Decorate with additional cherries, if desired.

Notes

Cake will keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. To freeze, wrap cake tightly in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Allow to thaw overnight at room temperature before serving.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 601 Total Fat: 26.5g Carbohydrates: 90g Protein: 6g
Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake: An easy recipe for homemade chocolate cherry cake covered in fudge frosting made entirely from scratch! Use fresh or frozen cherries to make this cake year round for birthdays and other celebrations. #bunsenburnerbakery #bundtcake #chocolatecake #fudgefrosting #chocolatecherrycake