May 10, 2012


white chocolate and cherry squares2

There was a Nigel Slater recipe in April’s edition of Sainsbury’s magazine that I had an urge to bake.  It was for white chocolate and sour cherry squares.  I happened to have a packet of dried sour cherries in the cupboard, bought ages ago for some recipe that I never got around to doing, and they needed using up.

Excuse for baking number 34c.

white chocolate and cherry squares3The squares looked lovely in the picture and they seemed to turn out nicely but after even a few hours they were becoming very dry and the next day they were hard as rock.  So hard that I actually threw them out, which is unheard of in this house.  Most baking disasters can be rescued with some custard or ice-cream, but these were well past any hope at all.  Interestingly, the recipe did hint that they should be eaten on the same day as they are baked.

Anyway, I really liked the combination of the white chocolate and sour cherries in the squares when they were still edible, and there were a few left in the packet, so I decided to have another go.  This time I decided to adapt a Mary Berry traybake recipe, using the one for sultanas and orange, substituting the white chocolate and cherries instead.

white chocolate and cherry squares4

I hadn’t got quite enough sour cherries left in the packet and couldn’t find any more in the local supermarkets so I used sweetened dried cherries to make up the quantity.

white chocolate and cherry squares5 white chocolate and cherry squares6

Mary Berry’s recipe says to take the part-baked cake out of the oven and sprinkle with demerara sugar, then bake for the remaining time so this is what I did.

white chocolate and cherry squares7 white chocolate and cherry squares8

They turned out beautifully.  Moist and absolutely scrumptious.  The mixture of white chocolate and dried cherries works really well.white chocolate and cherry squares9 white chocolate and cherry squares1My dad took half of them to his model engineering club where they were devoured by the members before you could say “time to put the kettle on”.  Nick took the rest to work and his colleagues declared them a hit.  I saved a couple of squares for myself of course and can vouch for the fact that they were yummy.  Definitely worth baking again and dead easy too.

This is what I used.

225g butter at room temperature

225g caster sugar

275g self-raising flour

2tsp baking powder

4 eggs

2 tblsp milk

100g white chocolate, chopped

175g dried cherries (dried cranberries or blueberries would be nice as an alternative)

demerara sugar to sprinkle

This is what you do

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/gas mk 4.  Grease a large traybake tin (approx 30 x 25 cm) and line it with a strip of baking paper that goes the length of the tin and overhangs at each end.  Secure the ends with paper clips if you have a fan oven – this prevents it being blown back onto the cake mixture whilst baking.

Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs and milk into a food mixer and beat until smooth.  Add the chocolate and cherries and combine.

Spread the mixture into the tin and level the top.

Bake for 25 minutes and remove from the oven.  Sprinkle about two teaspoons of demerara sugar on top of the cake and return to the oven.

Bake for about 10 more minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch.

Cool for 10 minutes in the tin then turn out onto a cooling rack.  When completely cool cut into squares.

Makes 24 squares and keeps well in an airtight tin.


  1. Nice idea combining the cherries and white chocolate. It looks like a very inviting cake to me. I'm glad you saved a few squares for yourself. I've got remember to use paper clips on the overhanging baking paper - for some reason I always forget to fix down loose paper.

    1. Phil, I was very annoyed when a cake was spoiled by the baking paper flopping on top of it while it baked. It tasted great though !! Since then I have used paper clips.

  2. Yummy little bites! They look straightforward to make and I like the combination of flavours X

    1. Alida, they were indeed yummy !!

  3. Dried strawbs or raspberries too I reckon. And as Phil pointed out - finally, a use for paperclips! (Since they are banned in any office of mine as being a menace to good filing, I don't have any, but may weaken and get scrounge some just for baking)

    1. Susan, both would be scrumptious I think !!

  4. I'm not a fan of cherries or white chocolate but this cake looks tempting! I'd probably substitute the cherries for cranberries - thanks for sharing :)

    1. Baking addict, after the success of my chocolate and prune cake, I'm tempted to make another of these traybakes using dark chocolate and chopped prunes.

      So many recipes, so little time !!

  5. I love Mary Berry's traybakes. Yours looks so good, Jean. Great combination of cherries and white chocolate.

    1. Thanks Snowy, I am a recent convert to Mary Berry's recipes and this one worked really well.

  6. Just made the Nigel slater version & even when they came out of the oven they were dry. The birds are devouring them as I type!! I think the flour to butter ratio is too high. The mix was very stiff. Will definately try the Mary berry version. You just can't go wrong with Mary's recipes.

    1. Janette, I'm glad it wasn't just me being incompetent. But sorry you had the same experience, of course !!