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Black forest gateau

Black forest gateau inside

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I’ve been a bit slack recently when it comes to blogging, but be assured that the baking certainly hasn’t suffered because I’ve been busy. Just the writing about it. So what better way to return to the blog than with a gateau…gateaux…gattoe…a black forest gateau to be precise. Is there any other kind?

Dictionary definitions of a gateau include a cake or pastry, especially a light one filled with custard, fruit, or nuts…an elaborate cake, usually layered with cream and richly decorated…a very rich, fancy cake, especially one with cream in it. I like to describe a gateau as a cake I want to put my face in.

With this recipe you’ll want to do just that. It has multiple layers of sponge, but not just any old sponge. This is the lightest sponge I have ever made. So light that it was actually quite difficult to cut in half because it was so delicate. Each layer of sponge is filled with double cream and cherries, then topped with chocolate and more cherries. It’s more time consuming than technical, but a pretty good way to spend your time I say.

Black forest gateau Mum bday 2013 (1)

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 75g butter plus extra for greasing
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 eggs

For the filling and topping:

  • 75-90ml Kirsch (cherry liqueur) – I didn’t have any so I used raspberry liqueur instead (Chambord), but the gateau would work without it
  • 600ml double cream
  • 425g can black cherries, drained, pitted and chopped – fresh or frozen ones would work too

For the decoration:

  • 225g plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • cherries

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
  • Melt the butter over a low heat and leave to cool.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk for about ten minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pale and leaves a trail when the beaters are lifted.
  • Sift together the flour and cocoa powder, then sift again into the whisked mixture. This helps make it really light. Fold in gently using a metal spoon.
  • Add the cooled, melted butter and fold in gently.
  • Divide the batter between the tins and make sure it’s level. Bake for 30 minutes until the sponges are springy to touch. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Peel off the baking paper.
  • Cut each cake in half horizontally. This was the tricky bit! Then sprinkle each layer evenly with liqueur.
  • Whip the double cream until it holds soft peaks. Transfer two thirds of the cream to another bowl and stir in the chopped cherries.
  • Now you can start assembling the gateau. Place a layer of cake on a serving plate, spread one third of the filling on top, add another sponge and continue layering finishing with cake on the top. Use the remaining whipped cream to cover the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with chocolate curls and cherries.

How to make the chocolate curls…

  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.
  • Spread the melted chocolate onto a baking sheet and put it in the fridge until it sets.
  • Using a sharp knife, scrape along the surface of the set chocolate to make thin curled shavings

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Claire

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Cherry chocolate cupcakes

Yes a cupcake. They’re everywhere. I know. Taking over the world crumb by crumb. But there you go. That’s what is happening and who I am to stand in their way.

Choc cherry cupcakes

These ones are fluffy chocolate sponge covered with light vanilla buttercream and topped off with a cherry. I used golden icing sugar in this recipe, which gave the buttercream a slight caramel-like taste and an off-white colour (although the more I beat it the lighter it became), but if you don’t fancy that then ordinary icing sugar would be fine. Here’s how to bake them…

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 25g cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs

Buttercream:

  • 80g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 250g golden icing sugar
  • 25ml semi-skimmed milk
  • A couple of drops of vanilla extract
  • Fresh cherries

How to bake them:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/gas mark 6 and place 12 large cupcake cases into a 12 hole cake tin
  • To make the cakes, cream together the butter and sugar
  • Beat in the eggs a bit at a time
  • Add the flour, cocoa and baking powder and fold it all in – the mixture should be well-blended and smooth
  • Spoon the mixture into the cases
  • Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the cakes are well risen and spring back when pressed lightly
  • Once they’ve cooled slightly, take them out of the tin and let them cool completely on a wire rack
  • To make the buttercream, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together adding the milk a bit at a time if the mixture is too dry
  • Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy
  • Once the cakes are completely cool decorate with the buttercream, whichever way you choose. I used a 9mm round nozzle for these ones
  • Top with a fresh cherry – I trimmed the tops of the stalks to make them all the same size

Next time, for extra cherry goodness, I might try chopping up some fresh cherries and adding them to the cake mixture before baking.

Claire