A Make-Ahead Chocolate Dessert

The Bonne Femme Cookbook is all about how you can bring life-enhancing, true-to-France meals on your table any night of the week. Does that include dessert? Indeed it does, when you plan ahead. Some French desserts freeze admirably well, and this is one of my favorites.

The photo shows fresh cherries–which aren’t exactly in season right now. But you could easily garnish this with quickly poached pears or a lovely dried-fruit compote. Or simply use frozen cherries, macerated (that is, soaked) in a cherry liqueur. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Cherry Pound Cake. You can substitute other in-season fruits. Photo by Richard Swearinger.

Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Pound Cake Bonne Femme

Makes 10 servings

For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups 2 percent or whole milk
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved, or frozen pitted sweet cherries, well drained and halved
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy)
  • Sweetened crème fraîche or sweetened whipped cream



1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.

2. Make the cake: Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it steams. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted; set aside to cool. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate mixture in batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, beating on low speed after each addition until combined; stir in the kirsch and vanilla. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on the rack to cool to room temperature.

5. Make the topping: At least 1 hour before serving, combine the cherries, sugar, and kirsch. Let the cherries macerate at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours.

6. To serve, slice the cake and place on individual dessert places. Spoon some macerated cherries atop each slice of cake and add a generous spoonful of sweetened crème fraîche or whipped cream. To store, wrap the cake well in plastic wrap; refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 1 month.


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3 comments to A Make-Ahead Chocolate Dessert

  • […] 2. Chocolate-Cherry Pound Cake: Wrap up this beauty  in silver foil with a big red bow. Tell the recipient that it freezes well if they wish to keep it a while (though they’ll probably want to dig into it right away). If you’re really feeling generous and fancy, find a can of Isigny-Ste. Mère whipped cream from Normandy (which I find at my local Whole Foods) and tuck it alongside the cake in a gift basket. […]

  • Kathy

    Sounds delicious…love chocolate and the whipping cream, well ill just have to buy this for sure as most of the whipping creams are not what they use to be years ago!

    • Wini

      Actually, I’ve found that Land O’Lakes has a great aerosol whipping cream. And if you can get “Isigny Ste. Mère” at Whole Foods, that’s a great product. And, by the way, the first aerosol whipping cream was invented in France (by Isigny), so don’t feel inauthentic for using it!

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