Black Forest Cake
For a dinner we were invited to, I wanted to make a milk chocolate dessert (our stockpile totals about 7kg!). While browsing my cookbooks, I couldn’t find anything I liked, and instead landed on this domed variation on a classic Black Forest Cake.
The recipe comes from Sherry Yard’s book Desserts By The Yard. I’ve made Black Forest cake before, but this version is different: it’s assembled in a bowl!
I started by making the cake, which requires some additional mise-en-place: whisking cocoa powder and milk together into a smooth paste, and, melting chocolate and blending it with hot coffee. The rest of the batter and steps are pretty standard: creaming butter, sugar, and eggs, then alternately incorporating the liquid and dry ingredients. Do use a cake pan that’s at least 2” high as the cake rises quite a bit.
The recipe calls for either fresh cherries or “fat” ones (i.e. cooked in alcohol). We still had jars of brandied cherries in the basement, which I was excited to open. Instead of making a syrup for brushing onto the cake layers, I just used the liquid from the canned fruit!
For assembly, you slice the cake into five layers, crumbling one of the layers to use as a garnish. A layer of cake is pressed into a bowl lined with plastic wrap, then dollops of whipped cream studded with cherries cover it. This layering is repeated until you use up all the cake. After a two hour chill, the cake is unmolded onto a serving plate, covered with more cream, and then it’s ready to eat.
Let’s just say that I was unable to eat just one piece of this cake at any sitting. The chocolate cake yields immediately to a fork, thanks to the low-protein cake flour. The whipped cream is very lightly sweetened, so the tart and boozy cherries really come through.
I’d definitely make this again, with two small changes. The garnish of cake crumbs isn’t really necessary, so I’d just use the fifth layer when assembling the cake, since there was leftover whipped cream anyway. And I’d use even more brandied cherries (the recipe called for ½ cup, but I used a full cup) as that’s the best part of each forkful.
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