This chocolate cherry cake is so rich and creamy, with a layer of fresh cherry mousse in the center! The sweet flavor of the cherries and moist chocolate cake makes this cake extra special. It’s perfect for cherry season!

Chocolate cherry cake with slices missing to show the cherry filling texture.

Cherry season brings the most delicious cherry desserts! From cherry cheesecake cupcakes to cherry pie bars, cherries have always been a hit in every bakery I’ve worked at!

This decadent chocolate cherry cake features fresh cherry mousse and a rich chocolate ganache glaze on top. It’s the perfect cake for chocolate and cherry lovers and is pretty enough to look like it came straight from a bakeshop!

Tips for a Bakery-Worthy Cake

Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is my #1 baking tip! If your cake comes out dry and crumbly, it’s almost always due to using too much flour.

Plan ahead for the chill time. Allow the cherry cake to chill adequately before serving, otherwise you won’t be able to cut it into slices!

Bloom the gelatin. Blooming the gelatin in water ensures that the granules are fully hydrated before they are dissolved. If you skip this step, the gelatin might not dissolve properly, leaving a grainy texture.

Fold the mousse gently. When incorporating the cherry puree into the whipped cream, fold gently to maintain the airy texture.

Garnish with fresh cherries. For a bakery-style presentation, decorate with fresh cherries, chocolate shavings, or a dusting of cocoa powder!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make cherry chocolate cake in bowls with labels.

Oil: Flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola, keeps the chocolate cake moist and tender.

Cake flour: This type of flour has a low protein content, ensuring a tender and fine crumb. Because of the mixing method, this ingredient cannot be substituted with all-purpose flour!

Cherries: Cherries add a burst of sweetness to the chocolate cake, complementing the rich chocolate flavor. You can use fresh or frozen cherries. I used sweet red cherries, but if you prefer a tarter flavor, use sour cherries instead!

Gelatin: This ingredient is important for stabilizing the cherry mousse and the chocolate ganache icing. If you prefer to use gelatin sheets instead of powder, use 6 sheets for the mousse and 4 for the ganache.

Heavy whipping cream: For the base of the mousse, it’s important to use heavy whipping cream and not half-and-half or other varieties because they will not whip up properly.

Recipe Instructions

Step 1: Make the cherry puree. Blend the juicy, cooked cherries until smooth, then stir in the bloomed gelatin. Set aside to cool to room temperature. You should have 2 cups of puree!

Step 2: Make the chocolate cake batter. The batter comes together in a stand mixer but can also be made with just a large bowl and a whisk. It will be like a thin pancake batter—that’s normal!

Step 3: Bake the chocolate cake layer. Bake the chocolate batter in a 9″ springform pan, then let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove and wash the ring. Level off the top of the cake, and place the clean ring back on the pan. Line the sides with acetate (cake collar) or with plastic wrap.

A process collage of the steps for making the chocolate cake batter and cherry filling.

Step 4: Make the cherry mousse. Gently fold the room-temperature cherry puree into the whipped cream. Use a rubber spatula to prevent the mousse from deflating!

Step 5: Pour the mousse over the cake. Pour the cherry mousse over the chocolate cake layer and chill in the fridge.

Step 6: Make the chocolate ganache. Combine the water, cocoa, cream, and sugar in a pot over medium heat. Boil, then stir in the bloomed gelatin. Strain the ganache through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it cool at room temperature to 86°F/30°C.

A process collage of the steps for assembling the chocolate cherry cake.

Step 7: Pour the ganache over the chilled cake. Pour the cooled ganache glaze over the mousse, spreading it evenly to the edges. Then, continue chilling the cake in the fridge until the mousse is completely set, about 6-8 hours.

Step 8: Remove the acetate. When the mousse is completely set, remove the cake pan ring and gently peel off the acetate or plastic wrap. If desired, garnish with fresh cherries.

Storage and Freezing

Storage: The cake can be kept at room temperature for a few hours but should be stored in the fridge to keep it from getting too warm and soft. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days!

Freezing: Freeze the cake as a whole or cut into slices in an airtight container for up to one month.


Can I make the cherry mousse ahead of time?

Because of the gelatin, the mousse cannot be made ahead of time. Once made, it must be poured over the chocolate cake!

How long should I chill the cake before serving?

This will depend on how cold your fridge is, but typically 6-8 hours is enough time. I love to make it the day before and let it chill overnight!

How can I make the cherry mousse more flavorful?

To enhance the flavor, add a splash of cherry liqueur or cherry extract.

What can I do if my mousse is too runny?

If the mousse is runny from deflating the air in the whipped cream, you can re-whip it with your stand mixer.

Can I decorate the cake with fresh cherries?

Yes, fresh cherries make a beautiful and delicious garnish. Dip them in chocolate or leave them plain, and arrange them on top of the cake just before serving!

A slice of cherry chocolate cake on a white plate.

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments; I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

Chocolate and cherry cake on a wooden cake platter with fresh cherries on top.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

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– by Cambrea Gordon

This chocolate cherry cake is so rich and creamy, with a layer of fresh cherry mousse in the center! The sweet flavor of the cherries and moist chocolate cake makes this cake extra special. It's perfect for cherry season!
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Prep Time: 10 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!


Cherry Filling

  • 2 3/4 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin, *see notes below for sheet gelatin*
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 cups pitted sweet red cherries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Chocolate Cake Batter

  • 2/3 cups cake flour, *See notes below for measuring*
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee, substitute hot water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/3 sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Cherry Mousse

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • cherry puree, from recipe above
  • 1/4 cup fresh sliced cherries, optional

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 1/4 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar


Make the Cherry Filling

  • Combine the gelatin and water, set aside to bloom.
    2 3/4 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin, 1 tablespoon water
  • Combine the cherries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until the cherries have softened and have released their juices, then blend until smooth. Pour the cherry puree back into the pot and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Continue cooking over low heat for 2-3 minutes until the gelatin completely dissolves. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature. You should have 2 cups of cherry puree.
    3 cups (420 g) pitted sweet red cherries, 2 tablespoons (24 g) granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Make the Cake Batter

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Grease the inside of a 9″ springform pan. Then, remove the ring, lay a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom plate, and close the ring on top. Some paper will be sticking out of the sides.
  • In a stand mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    2/3 cups (79 g) cake flour, 3/4 cups (150 g) granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder, then whisk in the sour cream and vanilla.
    1/2 cup (110 g) hot coffee, 1/3 cup (34 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder, 1/3 (76 g) sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • To the mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of the coffee-cocoa mixture and the oil. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes.
    1/3 cup (67 g) vegetable oil
  • Whisk the egg into the remaining coffee-cocoa mixture. Pour half of it into the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the bowl, then add the rest of the mixture and mix until combined.
    1 (50 g) large egg
  • Pour the chocolate cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let the pan cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove the ring from the pan and clean it off. Then, level off the top of the cake using a cake leveler or a large knife. Place the clean ring back on the pan. Now, line the pan with a long sheet of acetate (cake collar), sliding it down between the cake and the sides of the pan. (See notes below for using plastic wrap instead of acetate)

Make the Cherry Mousse

  • Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar to soft peaks, then gently fold in the room-temperature cherry puree.
    1 1/2 cups (340 g) heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup (60 g) powdered sugar, cherry puree
  • Pour half of the cherry mousse over the cooled chocolate cake, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Press the cherry slices into the mousse if using, then spread the rest of the mousse on top. Chill in the fridge while you make the ganache.

Make the Chocolate Ganache

  • Bloom the gelatin in the water.
    1 1/4 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
  • Whisk together the cocoa, water, and cream in a pot until paste-like. Add the sugar. Over medium heat, gently stir (avoid vigorous mixing to prevent air bubbles). When it begins to boil, remove it from the heat, and gently stir in gelatin to dissolve.
    1/2 cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup (75 g) water, 1/3 cup (75 g) heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • Strain the ganache into a bowl. Cover with cling wrap, pressing it onto the surface to prevent skin from forming. Cool at room temperature for 2 hours until it reaches 86°F/30°C.
  • Once cooled, pour the ganache over the top of the mousse. Return the cake to the fridge to continue chilling for a minimum of 6-8 hours or until the mousse is completely set.
  • When ready to serve, remove the ring and gently pull off the acetate. Cut slices with a sharp knife. Enjoy!


*Measure your dry ingredients properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour, as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
Notes on using acetate: The acetate will give you very clean sides, however, you can use regular plastic wrap in a pinch! Wrap 2-3 large sheets of plastic wrap around the ring before clasping it in place.
Notes on cherries: You can use fresh or frozen cherries for the cherry filling/puree. You can also use tart sour cherries or a mix of half sweet and half sour. You can also add a splash of cherry extract to the mousse for more flavor!
Notes on gelatin: If you prefer sheets, you will need 6 sheets of gelatin for the cherry puree and 4 sheets for the ganache.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 577IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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