Heat the oven to 180C, fan oven 160C, gas mark 4. Grease and line 3 x 20cm deep sandwich tins with non-stick baking parchment. (If you only have 1 or 2 tins the raw mixture will wait if you have to cook the mixture in batches).
Put 100ml of the milk in a bowl with the chocolate and leave to melt slowly over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until smooth.
Meanwhile, sift together the flour, almonds, cocoa and baking powder
In a large bowl and with an electric whisk, beat together the butter and sugars till very pale and smooth. Beat in the 55g of caramel.
Now slowly beat in the eggs, adding a spoonful of the flour mixture with each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate and fold in the remaining flour mixture.
Stir in the remaining 230ml of milk.
Divide the mixture between the 3 tins and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and spread the top of each cake immediately with 2 tablespoons of conserve whilst still warm.
To make the fudge cream, put the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream until almost boiling and pour over the chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth.
Beat in the icing sugar, butter, caramel and conserve. Cover and leave at room temperature.
To assemble and serve, layer the three cakes with half the fudge cream. Cover the whole cake with the remaining fudge cream and decorate with chocolate ‘bark’, sifted cocoa and fresh cherries.
The whole cake will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or, freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Allow an hour at room temperature before adding the fresh fruit and serving.
The chocolate caramel fudge cream is also good for topping cupcakes or traybakes.
To make chocolate bark, thinly spread a strip of baking parchment with melted chocolate. Roll up into a thin ‘cigar’ shape and freeze till solid. Squeeze the frozen ‘cigar’ to crack the chocolate and tip out the ‘bark’ onto a plate.
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