Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Cherry, Walnut & Chocolate Birthday Cake

Large Cakes | 30th December 2009 | By

It’s my mother’s birthday tomorrow and a second Christmas celebration for us, so a special birthday cake is required. A few years ago I made my mother Brian Goodwin’s Birthday Cake from Gaia’s Kitchen for her birthday party and it proved to be so popular with the guests that I was inundated with requests for the recipe. Surprisingly, I haven’t made it since – time to rectify this I think!

This is how I did it:
  • Melted 100g bar 85% dark chocolate and left to cool slightly.
  • Creamed 4.5oz unsalted butter with 4.50z light muscovado sugar & grated zest of 1 orange.
  • Beat in chocolate.
  • Beat in 3 medium size eggs, one by one.
  • Sieved in 6oz flour (1/2 wholemeal spelt & 1/2 white spelt) with 2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt.
  • Stirred in juice from same orange with a couple of tbsp of water as it was quite a stiff mixture.
  • Stirred in 3oz natural glace cherries – halved and 2oz of walnuts – roughly chopped.
  • Spooned mixture into a 21cm cake thingy and baked at 180C (gas 4) for 30 mins.
  • Turned out onto rack and left to cool.
  • Rolled out 8oz natural almond marzipan into a round to fit top of cake.
  • Melted 100g bar of 70% dark chocolate with 1/2 oz butter and two tbsp of date syrup.
  • Stirred this until smooth then covered cake with the marzipan and then the marzipan with the chocolate mixture.
  • Decorated with 12 toasted walnut halves.
One of the reasons I remember this cake as being so good is that marzipan lovers like myself are not deprived of this delicacy as is usual with a non-fruit cake. I’m looking forward to trying it again tomorrow.


  1. Janice

    30th December 2009 at 6:19 pm

    OMG I’m not surprised you had so many requests it looks like a fabulous recipe.

  2. Chele

    30th December 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Yum – looks fantastic! Lucky Birthday Girl ;0)

  3. Kath

    30th December 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I love the use of the marzipan on a chocolate cake, it has never occurred to me before, but of course a winning combination. I love marzipan and I love chocolate so can’t go wrong with this one. I like the use of date syrup too, never used this either, will have to give this icing a try. Hope you have a lovely time. Your poor Mum sharing her birthday with New Year’s Eve – but it doesn’t look like she misses out on too much.

  4. Suelle

    30th December 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Lucky Mum – that sounds a very tasty cake.

    I often use marzipan as a filling in a chocolate layer cake – put a thin layer of apricot jam onto the bottom layer, then add a circle of marzipan, finally a layer of ganache or chocolate buttercream (whatever frosting you are putting on top). After a couple of days the marzipan becomes gooey and the filling is one homogenous almondy chocolate layer.

  5. MaryMoh

    2nd January 2010 at 1:48 pm

    That’s such a lovely cake!Your mom must be over the moon with delight to receive this cake for her birthday.

  6. Choclette

    3rd January 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. My mother had a great day and enjoyed the cake. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. The flavour was good, the marzipan was yummy and the chocolate and date topping worked really well, but I think I must have overcooked it as it was rather dry and I don’t like dry cake especially chocolate cake. Luckily no one else seemed to mind.

    Kath, yes indeed, my mother has always rued having her birthday at this time of year, not so much because of New Year’s eve, but because it gets muddled up with Christmas.

    Suelle, your use of marzipan in a layer cake sounds fantastic.


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