Preheat the oven to fan 160C/
conventional180C/gas 4. Butter and line
the base of two 20cm sandwich tins.
Coarsely grate two thirds of the
chocolate and chop the rest. Set aside.
Put the flour, baking powder and sugar
into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in
the centre and add the butter, eggs and
milk (the butter must be very soft for this
to work). Beat together with a hand held
electric whisk for about 2 minutes until
light and fluffy (or use a wooden spoon
and beat well for 3 minutes). Lightly fold
in the grated, chopped chocolate and
Divide the mixture evenly between the
tins. Gently level the surface with the
back of a metal spoon or spatula. Bake
side by side on the middle shelf for 25-30
minutes until springy to the touch and
beginning to shrink away from the sides.
Remove from the oven, leave to cool in
the tins for 5 minutes. Turn out on a wire
rack, remove the lining paper and leave
to cool for about 1 hour before icing.
For the icing and filling, break up the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt gently
over a pan of hot, not quite simmering
water until just melted. Remove from the
pan and set aside for 5-6 minutes.
Cover a baking sheet with foil or waxed
paper. Dip the cherries, one by one,
into the chocolate to half coat them, then
put them on the baking sheet to set.
Stir the crème fraîche into the
remaining melted chocolate until
smooth and shiny. Then let cool
and thicken (5 minutes or so). Now
transfer half of this mixture to another
bowl. Pit another 200g/8oz
cherries, cut them in half then add to one
of the bowls with 2tbsp kirsch (optional)
and stir until mixed. Put one sponge cake
on a serving plate and spread the surface
with the cherry mixture, then sandwich
with the second sponge. Spread the rest
of the chocolate mixture over the top and
decorate with the dipped whole cherries.
This cake is best eaten on the day it’s