Friday, July 23, 2021


Sour cherries, dark chocolate, cream; the timeless classic when it comes to desserts. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is a magnificent chocolate cake with plenty of rich cherry filling, and these vegan brownies are a much quicker, miniature version of it, for all those times when a large cake is not needed. And if chilled really well, they are reminiscent of ice cream bars, which I highly appreciate.
As all brownies are, these are a fantastic choice for a fancy weekday dessert. Incredibly squidgy, with an intense chocolate flavour and a burst of tartness from the sour cherries, they are the perfect choice for a treat. I particularly love that they are one of those desserts that gets even better as they stand, and all of the syrup from the cherries gets absorbed by the brownie layer, blurring the line between the base and the filling. The true, unmistakable charm of old-fashioned desserts.
I have written before about my love for desserts that are more on the tart side, as I find them utterly refreshing, so it is unsurprising that I have used a very small amount of sugar in the filling. If you like your desserts on the sweeter side, rather than increasing the amount of sugar, replace half of the sour cherries with sweet ones. That will give a mellower sour note, while still keeping the lovely, summery cherry flavour.

For the fudge brownie base
100 grams plain flour
20 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
small pinch of salt
100 grams brown sugar
100 grams dark chocolate (70%)
150 grams vegan vanilla yoghurt
100 millilitres cold water
30 millilitres vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the sour cherry filling
300 grams sour cherries, pitted
50 grams brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50 millilitres cold water or Kirschwasser
For the topping and decoration
100 millilitres plant double cream
30 grams icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
100 grams dark chocolate shavings or flakes

Place the cherries into a large pot; add in the sugar, and shake the pot well, to distribute it. Add in the water or liqueur, if using, and shake the pot again. Cover the top with a kitchen towel, and let them macerate for 30 minutes. When ready, add in the vanilla, and place the cherries over medium heat, letting them slowly come to a boiling point. Let them bubble away, stirring occasionally, until they cook down to half of the original quantity. They should be a soft jam consistency. Remove from the heat, and let them cool down slightly.
For the brownie base, melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave, and set it aside to cool. Take a large bowl, add in the yoghurt, water, oil, and the vanilla bean paste, and whisk very well. Add in the sugar, and whisk again, so it starts to melt. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and briefly mix. Finally, add in the melted chocolate, and stir until only combined. Stirring the batter too much at this point will make the brownies tough. Line a small rectangular baking pan (18x18 cm) with baking parchment, pour in the batter, and immediately bake in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 10-12 minutes. Make sure you check them with a toothpick to make sure they are not overbaked.
Remove from the oven and immediately top with the cooked cherries, spreading them as evenly as possible over the top. Let everything cool down completely, then cover the top with a piece of cling film, and place the pan in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, whip the plant double cream with the icing sugar and the vanilla, spread it evenly on top of the cherry layer, and generously sprinkle with chocolate flakes. Serve immediately. Yields 9 rich servings. © TINA VESIĆ