Chocolate & Cherry Loaf
SERVES 12 PREP 25 minutes + 15 minutes to chill + cooling COOK 45 minutes
3 cups plain flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon table salt
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups cold water
2/3 cup vegetable or sunflower oil 2 tablespoons white vinegar 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 cup cream, at room temperature 200g dark eating chocolate,
1 quantity Cherry Cream (recipe, below) 100g cherries, to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan-forced. Grease and line two 21cm x 11cm (base measurement) loaf pans with baking paper, extending paper at long sides for handles.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Make a well at centre. Whisk the water, oil, vinegar and essence in a jug. Add to flour mixture; mix well. Spoon into prepared pans; level surfaces. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted at centres comes out clean. Cool in pans.
Meanwhile, to make ganache, combine the cream and chocolate in a large microwave-safe jug. Microwave on High (100%) in 30-second bursts, stirring between each, until smooth. Chill, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until cold.
Place one cake on a serving platter, Top with Cherry Cream, then remaining cake. Spread ganache over the top. Serve with cherries (if using).