Rainier Cherry Chocolate Kuchen

Ingredients;

So what is a Kuchen (means cake in German) and why is it special? Well first of all my grandma made it for the family so it is nostalgic. But it is quite different than the super tender, sweet cakes that you find in most local bakeries and packaged on the grocery shelf. This has a bit more texture to it and not as sweet. Generally there is a custard topping that soaks in and makes it absolutely luscious on the 2nd and 3rd day.

You can read more about the history of kuchen and the apple and plum kuchen that my grandma use to make here.

The Cherries

1 lb Rainier Cherries, or other sweet cherries
Brandy or Kirschwasser or rum (cherry if possible)
  

Kuchen dough

Dry Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  

or

2 cups Bisquick or Baking Mix
plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking powder

Wet Ingredients:

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons butter softened or melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

The Filling and Frosting;

1 pint whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
1 good quality chocolate bar

Directions;

First, I pit my cherries and I like to soak them in a good brandy, schnapps or rum overnight or for a few hours.

You can pit the cherries by pushing a straw through the stem end

or you can pound a nail in a board of wood that has a bit of a head on it and then you can use both hands to push the cherry pit out.

Make the Dough;

Put all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend.

Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.

Mixing dry and wet ingredients

Blend the wet into the dry with a hand held mixer or beat in by hand till you have a smooth dough.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish and press the dough into the dish. You don’t want too much dough, it should be just about ½ inch, otherwise the dessert will have too much crust to fruit ratio. It’s all about balance.

Next, I place the cherries in rows in the dough every ½ inch.

Bake the kuchen at 350 degrees for 20 -30 minutes until it is set. Use the toothpick method. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so then with a teaspoon ladle the brandy left over brandy, rum or schnapps on the cake.

Assemble the Kuchen

After it cools whip the cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla and the sugar.
Cut the Kuchen in half so you have two almost squares.

 Place half the cream on one half of the kuchen and place the other half on top. I like to put it in a smaller baking dish but you can also do this on a platter.
Then I like to put whipped cream on the sides like a frosting.

Grate the chocolate or melt the chocolate and pour on top of the cake.