Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 1 hour
Cool: 15 minutes
Yield: 9 servings

For great moist chocolate cakes, the best of the best recipes call for buttermilk. If you go nondairy, you can use soy milk, but it just ain’t the same. Yes, you can make a homemade version of buttermilk with soy milk and some lemon juice, but I also love using soy sour cream for that really moist texture. I think it’s pretty ingenious.

The coffee really brings out the flavor of the chocolate, and the orange zest gives off little hints of fanciness. Oh, and the cherries—well, you gotta love cherries—and chocolate: I like how they sound together, and I loooove how they taste together. This is going to become your favorite easy-as-cake chocolate cake recipe.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • One 12-ounce container soy sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
  • Grated zest of 1 small orange
  • One 3 1/2-ounce bar 72% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen pitted cherries, thawed and drained well


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray one 9 x 13-inch baking pan or two 8-inch square baking pans with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, canola oil, and soy sour cream and mix until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Gently fold in the coffee and orange zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake immediately.
  3. After 20 minutes, remove the pans from the oven. Sprinkle the chocolate and arrange the cherries on top. Return to the oven and continue baking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes more.
  4. Cool the cake for 15 minutes in the pan. Serve warm or allow to cool completely on a wire rack.


For a classic moist, rich chocolate cake, omit the cherries.

Dress it Up

Red Wine Chocolate Cherry Cake •

Replace the coffee with 1 cup dry red wine for a richer treat and stencil a bow, star, heart, or other shape or message of your choice on top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Draw and cut out the desired shape on thick cardstock paper. Remove the cooled cake from the pan and place the stencil on top. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Carefully remove the stencil and you’ll be left with a beautiful decoration.

Pair It

Herzog Late Harvest Zinfandel. I love to pair chocolate with something that’s really fun, like this late harvest zin. Actually, I love pairing chocolate with just about anything.