An inspirational Black Forest Cherry Cake recipe to nourish your toddler at home 

We can all benefit from some fresh ideas when it comes to meal times. So thank goodness for nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed’s new book How to Feed Your Toddler: Everything You Need to Know To Raise Happy, Independent Little Eaters (Ebury Press, £16.99), which is published September 2022.

The book is full of evidence-based advice, nurturing support, practical problem-solving, and delicious recipes to give parents the confidence to help their toddlers develop a positive relationship with food. Exclusively for School House, here is a recipe from her book – perfect to encourage little ones to try a variety of flavours and textures, while also being suitable for the whole family, and versatile for different dietary requirements and lifestyles.

Mini Black Forest Cherry Cakes

Black Forest cherry cake

This is one of my favourite recipes from this book and always goes down a treat with my family; the chocolate and cherry combo is a firm winner. These cakes don’t have a lot of sugar in them – just the jam, which is combined with the cherries, making them a really great option for a party or even as a snack.


Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Makes: 18 mini cakes 

  • 200g frozen cherries, defrosted, plus a handful for decorating, finely chopped (reserve the cherry juice from the defrosted fruit for later)
  • 2 tbsp cherry jam (or another fruit jam)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature, or dairy-free spread
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten, or 1 flaxseed egg
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g self-raising flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 

To decorate

  • 100g crème fraîche or dairy-free alternative
  • A few chunks of dark chocolate, grated


Preheat the oven to 200˚C/180˚C fan. Line a mini cupcake or muffin tin with 18 cases. Add most of the cherries and jam to a food processor and blitz until blended to a purée. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water and stir until it forms a paste. Add the butter or spread, egg and cocoa powder paste to the food processor and blitz until combined with the cherry purée. Then add the almonds, flour and baking powder and give it a pulse to mix together.

Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and fluffy looking. Use a skewer to check the middle – it should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely. Top with a teaspoon of crème fraîche, the reserved finely chopped cherries, a drizzle of the reserved juice and a sprinkle of dark chocolate to finish. You can store these in the fridge and enjoy for up to 2 days.


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