I feel I am just settling back in after almost five weeks away overseas. It’s always exciting to get back and to relate stories and experiences to willing friends, but after a couple of weeks the memories start to fade into the background. Food is one way of keeping memories alive. I’ve been thinking of Black Forest gâteau since my return. I don’t know why except to say it used to be something my father made when we were younger and it was grand and delicious. I want to say this is for you, Dad, to say thank you and happy birthday.
I’ve taken this gâteau and kind of deconstructed it into a slightly simpler cake. It's light and airy but still packed with cherry and chocolate flavour.
Use Texas muffin pans for the recipe and size featured. The traditional cake is flavoured with Kirsch, a cherry brandy. I omitted this only because I didn’t have any so please use it if you have some to give it its’ true flavour.
Mini black forest gâteaux
90g butter, softened
165g caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
55g self-raising flour
35g cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk
¼ cup cream
110g dark chocolate, chopped
½ cup cream
1 425g tin stoneless black cherries
or use fresh cherries in season
a small splash of Kirsch liqueur (optional)
Makes 6 large (Texas) muffin size cakes
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease the Texas muffin tray.
Beat the softened butter, caster sugar and egg yolks with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Sift the flour and cocoa together and fold into the egg mixture, along with the milk.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an egg beater or electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture until just incorporated.
Divide the cake mixture between the muffin tray and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the chocolate sponges spring back when lightly pressed with fingertips and a metal skewer inserted in the middle is clean.
Stand for 5 minutes then using a plastic spatula gently loosen the sponges around the edges of each cake. Turn the pan upside down onto a wire rack and tap against the bench once or twice to loosen the sponges onto the rack.
While the sponges are cooling, make the chocolate ganache by heating the cream in a saucepan until it is boiling. Remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir the chocolate until it is smooth. Put aside to cool – it will thicken as it cools. If it thickens too much, warm it gently over simmering water in a pan (without the bowl touching the water).
With the sponges turned upside down (the widest part being the bottom of the cake i.e. an upside down muffin), use a sharp, serrated knife to slice the cakes in half horizontally.
Whip the second measure of cream to just slightly-firmish peaks (don’t go too firm). Drain as many of the cherries as you want to use and fold them gently into the cream, along with the Kirsch (if using). Save some cherries for decoration.
Spread some cherries and cream filling onto the bottom half of the cake and press down with the top so that the cream and cherries show around the middle of the cake.
Using a palette knife, spread the chocolate ganache over the top of the cake. Decorate with two cherry halves or shaved chocolate.
This cake is my entry for Sweet New Zealand, hosted this month by the lovely Jemma at Time for a Little Something. See here for more details.