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What to do
1. The night before, place the fresh cherries in a small jar and cover with vodka. Let it sit on the counter to absorb the alcohol.
2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to around 180°C.
3. Finely shave the walnuts using a rotary cheese grater into a large bowl. (Please note that it’s important to shave the walnuts, instead of chopping, crushing, or grinding them. Shaving preserves the moist and soft texture, which helps bind the rest of the ingredients).
4. Add 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs to the walnuts and stir.
5. In two large bowls, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks.
6. Grate the rind of 1 lemon into a small cup and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into another cup.
7. Add the powdered sugar to the egg yolks, and whisk using an electric mixer. Then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and mix well.
8. Beat the egg whites using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. (This may take a few minutes).
9. Slowly and gently add the egg whites to the walnut mixture. (Make sure you don’t transfer over any of the water from the egg whites).
10. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture, using a spoon and gently stir until well combined.
11. Thoroughly coat a spring-form cake pan with butter, then add a spoonful or two of breadcrumbs and swish around so the entire pan is coated. (This will allow the cake to come out of the form without sticking).
12. Pour the batter into the cake form and bake for 30-35 minutes. Then turn off the heat, crack the oven and let it cool on the rack for 30 minutes.
For the chocolate filling and topping
1. Remove the sides of the cake pan and let the cake cool completely.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and let cool until room temperature.
3. Carefully slice the cake in half so you have two layers.
4. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa, and milk with an electric mixer.
5. Slowly add the butter to the cocoa mixture, being careful to note the consistency (smooth) and color (rich chocolatey brown) and taste occasionally to make sure you don’t “over-butter”. (You may not need to use all the butter).
6. To assemble, place one layer of the cake (with the cut side up) and spoon the chocolate filling on top.
7. Drain the vodka soaked cherries and add another layer of chocolate on top, so you have an even sized layer.
8. Cover with the second cake slice (with the cut side down) and using a knife, cover the top and sides with chocolate to get a smooth surface.
9. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
10. Add some powdered sugar and fresh raspberries on top and serve with whipped cream.
Find more of Sara’s beautifully illustrated recipes at starvingartistbook.tumblr.com