1 1/2 cups red candied cherries (or other dried fruit)
1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons rum or brandy
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt (regular or low fat)
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Butter and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the dried cherries, candied cherries
and 1/4 cup of the rum or brandy. Set aside for 1 hour.
Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F.
Cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated (if using an
electric mixer, stop and scrape the bowl once or twice).
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, beat
briefly, then add the buttermilk or yogurt, then the remaining flour. Mix just
Stir in the cherries (and any unabsorbed liquor) and the nuts.
Pour the batter in to pans and bake for 65-70 minutes, until a wooden pick
inserted into the center comes out clean.
While the cakes are warm, pour 3 tablespoons of rum or brandy over each
cake. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack.
If you are not going to serve the cakes within a few days, you can either
freeze them, well wrapped in plastic wrap for 3-4 months, or brush them all
over with lots of additional liquor, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a cool,