Sunday, December 9, 2007

A festive birthday cake

I don't think you can ever fail with a Black Forest Cake, no matter what the occasion is. Who doesn't like chocolate, cream and cherries in one cake? I certainly don't know many people who don't. And I certainly know my mum is mad about this cake, so it felt just right to make it for her birthday. And also because the cake is so festive and in the run-up for Christmas it's another advantage, isn't it?

So here's my recipe for Black Forest Cake:

for the sponge:
6 eggs, divided
180g fine caster sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
120g flour
50g cocoa powder

for the filling and decoration:
1l double cream
icing sugar to taste
cocoa powder (optional)
about 350ml pitted cherry preserve,
Kirsch or cherry preserving juice

Whisk the egg yolks with half of the sugar until the mixture turns pale and multiplies in volume. Then beat the egg whites until they start to stiffen, then add the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Add the beaten egg whites to the yolks and mix very carefully but firmly. Mix the flour and cocoa and add to the mixture in 2 or 3 parts, again, stirring carefully but firmly. You should avoid crushing the beaten egg whites as much as possible. Pour the batter into a 22cm round tin (whose bottom you have lined with baking parchment) and bake in pre-heated oven at 180 C for about 20-25 min, or until a tester comes out clean. Don't open the door until 15 minutes though, or the sponge will collapse. Let it cool completely, remove from the tin then divide into three layers.

Whisk the double cream until it stiffens with as much icing sugar as you like. I usually use 3-4 tbsp for this amount of cream. I like a bit of chocolate in the filling, so I add 1-2 tsps of cocoa powder to 1/3 of the cream, but you don't need to do it. Sprinkle over a few tbsp of Kirsch or the cherry preserving juice on a sponge layer, then spread about 1/4 of the cream (alternatingly and including the chocolate cream if you made it). Scatter half of the cherries on top. Repeat with the other layer. Put the last layer on top and spread a thin layer of cream (only white) on the cake. Put the cake in the fridge for about half an hour and spread over half of the remaining cream generously. This way you will get a crumb-free frosting. Decorate the cake with the remaining cream and a piping bag, as you please, and sprinkle with grated chocolate or similar, adding a pitted cherry here and there.


Sandy said...

It looks like it came from a bakery, Mara. You should sell them.
Black forest cakes are quite popular here, and for good reason.

annauk said...

Mara, you are such an amazing baker!!!!!
Well done, it's beautiful.