Scrumptious cherries with the finest fair trade chocolate equals a match made in sweetheart heaven. The ultimate Valentine's Day surprise!
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine dried cherries and orange juice. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside. In a double boiler (or you can use a small saucepan nestled into a large saucepan filled 2" high with water) combine chocolate and butter, cook until melted (depending on method, 5-10 minutes). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Beat in chocolate mixture, milk, and vanilla. Beat in flour. Stir in undrained cherries and almonds.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 8-inch springform pan or 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pan; place on a baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, allowing 45 to 50 minutes for the springform pan or 35 to 40 minutes for the 9-inch pan. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely.
Spread 1/4 cup Chocolate Glaze** evenly over top and sides of cake. Chill for 10 minutes. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining glaze. Chill until set. Let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with fresh cherries. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
**Directions for the Chocolate Glaze: In a double boiler combine 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up, and 2 tablespoons of Organic Valley European Style butter; cook until melted, stirring twice.