Sour Cherry Chocolate Brownie Cakes

When Eat Yourself Calm: Ingredients & Recipes to Reduce the Stress in Your Life was published in 2014, we could not have imagined the pandemic we are experiencing in 2020.┬áThese days, if certain “superfoods” might provide a feeling of calmness, I’m willing to give them a try!

This spring, a new edition of Eat Yourself Calm, by Gill Paul, was released. Many of the superfoods are not exotic at all; those Paul lists include dark chocolate, mango, oats, salmon, ginger, turkey, Brazil nuts, blueberries, pistachios, apricots, spinach, sweet potatoes, apples, grapes, cherries, brown rice, mushrooms, beets, avocado, eggs, cinnamon, cranberries, yogurt, popcorn, almonds and bananas. Her recipes include blueberry & oat muffins, bacon & mushroom frittata, herbed smoked salmon omelet, sweet potato & cabbage soup, and Mediterranean brown rice salad.

Looking for a feel-good dessert as we were awaiting election results, I chose to make Paul’s sour cherry chocolate brownie cakes. I didn’t have dried sour cherries on hand, so I pulled sweet cherries from my freezer. Because of the moisture in the cherries, I did increase the cooking time from 10-12 minutes to 25 minutes.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup dried sour cherries (I used the equivalent of frozen chopped sweet cherries)
  • heavy cream or creme fraiche, to serve (I used aerosol whipped cream)


  1. Place the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and beat with a handheld electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa, flour, baking powder, and egg and mix until combined, then stir in the cherries.
  2. Spoon the batter into 4 cups of a greased 6-section nonstick muffin pan and place in a preheated oven, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for 10-12 minutes or until just cooked but still soft in the centers.
  3. Turn out the desserts onto 4 serving plates and serve immediately with heavy cream or creme fraiche.

While watching CNN, perhaps I did feel a bit calmer after enjoying a cherry and chocolate brownie-like cake for dessert!

Eat Yourself Calm: Ingredients & Recipes to Reduce the Stress in Your Life is available for request here, or by calling Whitehall Public Library at 412-882-6622.

Sour Cherry Chocolate Brownie Cakes
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