Chocolate and fruit cakes combine the bitter with the sweet.

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

THE combination of chocolate and fruit can be intriguing because of the contrast of the clean, tart flavor of fruit and the rich, complex flavor of chocolate.

Several favorite cakes contain these ingredients in one form or another.

Chocolate linzer torte breaks from tradition with buttery crisp chocolate pastry but keeps the raspberry jam filling.

Recommended: 50 decadent chocolate recipes

Cherries and chocolate are a classic combination in Black Forest cheesecake. Three-layer chocolate applesauce cake is moist and nutty with a light sour cream filling and frosting, an extravagant cake for a special occasion.

And old-fashioned chocolate-prune-nut cake is spicy and moist, needs no icing , and keeps well. Chocolate-Prune-Nut Cake 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter 4 eggs 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup milk 1 cup pecans, broken into medium-size pieces 1 cup chopped, pitted, and stewed prunes (about 25 prunes) Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a mini-Bundt pan, about 8-cup capacity.

Melt chocolate over hot water. Set aside to cool.

Cream sugar and butter together. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in chocolate.

Sift flours, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, salt. On low speed, beat in half of dry ingredients. Add milk and beat until smooth. Add remaining dry ingredients and beat only until smooth. Stir in chopped prunes and nuts. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cake cool on a rack.

Just before serving, sift powdered sugar over cake. Chocolate Linzer Torte Crust 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon cloves 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups almonds, finely ground 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup butter, softened 4 egg yolks Filling 1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam 2 tablespoons fine, dry breadcrumbs Topping 2 egg whites 2 teaspoons water 1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds Confectioners' sugar

Combine flour, cloves, cinnamon, salt, almonds, and cocoa and stir until evenly mixed. Cream sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks until mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually stir in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Wrap dough and chill at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Line bottom with waxpaper and grease paper.

Using about two-thirds of dough, roll out a circle 1/2-inch thick and 10 inches across. Place in bottom of pan. Roll out remaining dough 1/4-inch thick and form a rim 1 1/2 inches high around sides of pan. Save some pastry for a lattice on top. Overlap and press sides and bottom together to seal pastry.

Bake pastry for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Roll remaining dough 1/8 -inch thick and cut into strips 3/4-inch wide.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs in bottom of partially baked shell. Spread evenly with raspberry jam.

Arrange dough strips over jam to form a lattice. Press strips lightly around edge of crust to secure them.

Make a glaze of egg whites and water. Brush over lattice top and border. Sprinkle sliced almonds over top.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake torte on upper level of oven for one hour.

To remove torte from pan, loosen around edges with a knife, then release springform.

Slip onto a rack to cool. When torte is completely cooled, peel off waxed paper.

Sift confectioner's sugar over top of torte before serving. Black Forest Cheesecake Crust 1 8-ounce package plain chocolate wafers, in fine crumbs 1/3 cup almonds, finely ground 1/3 cup butter, melted

Prepare crust: Stir chocolate wafer crumbs, almonds, and butter together until well mixed. Press crumbs evenly over bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate or freeze crust at least 20 minutes to firm it. Filling l pound semisweet chocolate 3 tablespoons butter 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at warm room temperature 1 1/4 cups heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1 tablespoon chocolate extract 1 1/4 cups sugar 4 eggs 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 cups canned, pitted sour cherries, well-drained 1 cup heavy cream for optional garnish Confectioners' sugar

Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt chocolate and butter together, stirring until completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until perfectly smooth. Beat in melted chocolate and continue beating until mixture has a uniform color. Stir in cream, sugar, eggs, and extracts, and beat just until smooth. In a separate cup, stir cornstarch into 1/2 cup of cheesecake batter. When mixture is smooth, stir into the rest of the batter.

Press cherries in a colander to be sure they are well drained. Distribute cherries evenly over bottom of chilled crust. Pour in filling and spread evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees F. and bake 30 minutes longer. Turn off oven. Leave cake in oven for 1 hour with door ajar. Remove cake from oven and let cool completely to room temperature before refrigerating. Chocolate Applesauce Cake 1/2 cup raisins Hot water 1 1/2 sticks butter 1 3/4 cups sugar 4 eggs 1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 cups unsweetened applesauce 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper cut to fit. Grease paper and dust pans with flour. Set aside.

Soak raisins in hot water 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

With electric mixer, cream butter and sugar in large bowl. Beat eggs in one at a time and beat thoroughly on high speed until mixture is light and fluffy.

On low speed, stir in applesauce. Sift flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cocoa together. Add flour in three additions, blending in thoroughly after each.

Stir in raisins and nuts. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool layers 10 minutes then remove from pans to a rack. Peel off paper and cool completely before filling and frosting.

To assemble cake: Generously frost layers and top of cake with sour cream frosting (recipe follows). Sour Cream Frosting 2 cups heavy cream 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 2 cups sour cream 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatine 2 tablespoons cold water

Whip cream, gradually adding sugar until it stands in stiff peaks. Stir gelatine into cold water in small pan. Place over low heat and stir until gelatine dissolves completely.

Combine gelatine and sour cream thoroughly. Gently fold sour cream into whipped cream. Chill at least 1 hour before filling and frosting cake.

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