* Serves 8–10
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups less 1 heaped tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 heaped tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 4 cups pitted and chopped cherries
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 3 tbsp. light brown sugar
- 1/2 recipe luxury vanilla gelato
- 1 cup heavy cream, softly whipped
- few cherries for topping
- chocolate curls
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 7-inch springform or loose-bottomed deep cake pan. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until pale and creamy. Gently beat in half the eggs, then gradually fold in the dry ingredients, alternating with the rest of the eggs, until well blended. Spoon into the prepared cake pan, flatten the top, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until just firm to the touch. Cool in the pan, then remove, wrap in foil, and refrigerate until really cold, to make slicing easier.
Put the cherries in a small saucepan with the cranberry juice and brown sugar. Cook over moderate heat until tender. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until really cold. Prepare the vanilla gelato until it reaches a spoonable consistency.
With a long knife, cut the cake into three even layers. Place one layer into the 7-inch cake pan, and top with half the cherries and one-third of their juice. Cover with a layer of gelato, and then the second cake layer. Add the rest of the cherries but not all the juice (use the rest of the juice to moisten the underside of the third cake layer). Cover with the rest of the gelato and the final cake layer. Press down well, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze overnight. (If desired, the cake can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.)
To serve, carefully remove the cake pan and slide the gateau out onto a chilled serving plate. Top with the whipped cream, chocolate curls, and fresh cherries. Return to the freezer until ready to serve.
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