Last Monday was my hubby’s birthday. Now he doesn’t really like celebrating his birthday and doesn’t like a lot of fuss but I do love making him a cake. He doesn’t really have a sweet tooth but does enjoy cakes such as carrot cake or coffee and walnut cake. As these have been made for him time and time again, I thought it was time for a change.
The week before I was thinking about what I could make for him so I asked the question to my Twitter followers. One follower suggested a Black Forest Gateau. This is something that used to be around a lot being a child of the 1970’s and was everywhere at one time. My Nana used to buy them for pudding sometimes but now at 40 years old I hadn’t had Black Forest Gateau for years.
It suddenly struck me that I could make one myself. I always thought they were way too complicated and faffy to me but I was pleasantly surprised as well as being seduced by all that chocolate and cherries when watching The Hairy Bikers on TV last year. They were in Germany as part of their Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation series where they visited several European countries travelling around on their motorbikes. When they were in Germany they made the most delicious looking Black Forest Gateau and both my hubby and I said we would have to try that! I remembered I had bought the Bakeation book and was determined to bake something from it. Now was my chance.
The week before when I had planned to do my weekly shop was when we ended up having a snow day in North Yorkshire. Although my school was open, I had to take the day off as my children were off school as theirs was shut. I had a morning of keeping up with the kids sledging on the fields, walking the dog in the snow but then afterwards thought I have to go food shopping. I bundled my daughter and her friend into the car and drove the 5 miles to Morrisons along the main road. Thankfully it was gritted but it was slippy in a couple of places.
On my shopping list along with all the groceries, etc. was the ingredients for the Black Forest Gateau. Now, to me this recipe seemed to be a very expensive one to make but when you look at it, it is definitely a celebration cake or one that you would not make every day. The recipe called for two different types of alcohol, both of which I never buy or use. I needed cherry brandy and Kirsch. I also needed fresh cherries (not easy in January), dried sour cherries and black cherry jam on top of all the standard cake ingredients. Not to mention a very large pot of double cream for the filling and decorations. Once in Morrisons I found the dried sour cherries with all the dried fruit, I ended up buying a jar of Morello cherries in syrup (no black cherries available) and the jam was fine. Now all I had to do was to find the liqueur. I definitely was not going to buy cherry brandy but I thought depending on the price I would buy some Kirsch. I had to ask an assistant if there was any as I couldn’t find it. There was cherry brandy but no way was I paying £15 for a bottle and nothing else would fit. In the end I bought a small bottle of vodka as I know my hubby and I would drink it afterwards (although it’s not something I drink much of to be honest).
Last Sunday morning the day we were going to have the cake I was worried that it would all work. I wanted it to be perfect for our Sunday lunch rather than for on my hubby’s actual birthday as it would be a Monday and a busy day.
The chocolate sponge part was made, baked like a two tier sandwich cake and left to cool on a rack in the kitchen. I prepared the Black Forest Cherry filling by heating the dried sour cherries, the vodka and the jam altogether in a big pan. It was meant to be heated until the cherries were swollen and then left to cool. I also soaked the chocolate sponge in a little bit of the vodka. I was concerned the Black Forest filling was ok though. I was also nervous about slicing each layer of cake into two to give four layers, knowing my luck it would fall apart so I didn’t bother.
I then whisked up a large carton of double cream and prepared my piping bag with my large star nozzle. When this was done I piped some cream stars all over the top of the Black Forest cherry layer, then carefully placed the top layer of chocolate sponge on top. I then swirled some whipped cream on top of the cake, finally adding a border of rosettes. On top of the rosettes went a Morello cherry from the jar of Morello cherries. It didn’t look as nice as if I had had black cherries to go on the top but I had no choice. After the cherries went on, I grated some plain chocolate on top.
I was really pleased with the way the cake turned out and everyone really enjoyed it. It looked hugely calorific though, so I only had a tiny slice of it. My hubby really enjoyed it and said it looked lovely but then I remembered I had forgotten something!
Love Sam xx