This Drunken Cherry Cake Roll is as luscious as it gets. This ultra-rich, sponge cake roll is the perfect dessert to make for your New Year’s party. It is a traditional Russian cake, made with vodka-soaked cherries, cream and rich chocolate.
Have you ever tried a “drunk cake” before? If you haven’t, get prepared to fall in love. I love using liqueurs to add depth of flavor to cakes. Baking with alcohol not only contributes to moistening your cake, it also adds a lovely boozy flavor perfect for the holidays.
If you fall in love with this Drunken Cherry Cake Roll (and I’m certain you will!), I will share some more recipes below that combine baking and liquor. I think the combination is perfect for the extravagance of special-occasion and holiday treats!
Making the Sponge Cake
For this cake, I use my favorite sponge cake recipe as the base. It soaks up the cream and the juices from the cherries so nicely. And to be honest, that’s what this cake is about!
Make your sponge cake using a 10×15 inch sized sheet pan. It speeds up the cooking time and makes for a sponge cake that is super easy to roll up. It also ensures that your cake is not too thin and flimsy or too thick and unmalleable.
What Can I Use Leftover Cherry Juice For?
We don’t like to waste anything! Especially when it can make the recipe even more decadent and delicious. Therefore, you are going to hang onto the cherry juice you strain out in “step “ and use it to soak into your fully-cooled down sponge cake later. Trust me, this takes your cake to the NEXT LEVEL of moistness. It also adds a beautiful flavor to your cake.
Which Cherries are Best for the Drunken Cherry Cake Roll?
Morello cherries are by far the best option for this cake roll. They absorb the vodka so well, yet keep their tart cherry flavor. Stray away from maraschinos, as they taste a bit artificial and won’t provide the depth of flavor you are looking for.
Don’t know where to find morello cherries? I typically purchase them from Trader Joe’s. They are fairly priced and delicious. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, search for your local Eastern European specialty store.
How to Make Drunken Cherries
This process couldn’t be more straightforward. Drain the juice from your cherries using a strainer or sieve. Make sure to save the juice! Place the cherries in glass bowl or container and cover them with vodka. Let them soak for at least 24 hours before you drain them and get to baking.
How Far in Advance Can You Make The Cake?
You can make this cake up to 5 days in advance. Since the cake needs to set in the refrigerator before serving, making it ahead of time is actually preferred. This will bring out the flavors and make sure that this ultra-creamy cake can stand up to a knife when it comes time to cut into it. I would recommend keeping the cake in a sealed container to prevent it from drying out.
Other “Drunk Cake” Recipes to Try Out:
- Drunken Raisin Cake: Soaked in rum, this cake is covered in whipped cream and perfect for the holidays.
- Drunken Cherry Cake: The cake version of this recipe is made with rum instead (I use clear Bacardi).
- Chocolate Liqueur Cake: This cake is made with Irish cream liqueur and is sure to please even the most intense chocolate-addict!
- 2 cup vodka
- 48 oz pitted cherries in juice Morello cherries or Sour cherries
- Drain the cherry juice from cherries. Place the cherries in a container and cover with vodka, leave soaking overnight. Keep juice from the cherries for later.
- Preheat over to 350 °F. In a bowl, combine flour and cacao together.
- Whisk eggs together with sugar until it doubles in volume.
- By thirds, using spatula, fold flour into the egg mixture. Be careful not to over-mix the dough. Take 3/4 of the dough and spread it on a lined baking sheet, 10×15 inches. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Bake the remainder of the dough any way you want, we'll use it later.
- Remove the cake from the oven, place a kitchen towel over the cake. Roll up the shorter side (horizontally), making it into a long roll. Let it cool down to a room temperature. Remove towel and parchment paper.
- Whip powdered sugar together with 2 cups of heavy whip cream. Make sure that the bowl you're using and the whip cream is very cold, as it will make the cream firm.
- The small piece of the cake that you've baked separately, break into crumbs. Drain vodka out of cherries and add it to the cake crumbs.
- Add in a few large spoonfuls of cream to the mixture and stir to combine together.
- Soak the cake with cherry juice. Apply a bit of cream on it.
- Spread the cherry and cake mixture on the inside of the cake roll, keeping it in a thick layer, covering just 2/3 of the cake. Carefully roll up the other side, it may crack a bit, but it's totally fine.
- Apply the remaining cream to the outside of the cake. Combine chocolate chips together with 1 cup of whipping cream. Microwave until all chocolate is melted, just be sure to stir every few seconds. Let chocolate cool to a room temperature.
- Place chocolate into a ziplock bag, cut a hole in the corner and drizzle the roll with the chocolate.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.