Monday, 10 August 2015

The GBBO Challenge; Schwarzwälder Kirchtorte – German Black Forest Cake

I've challenged myself.

Last week was the first time I've ever watched GBBO.  I applied for the first series and got through to the auditions, where I'd have to take two bakes for the producers to try.  I chickened out, didn't go.  I was working full time and couldn't afford the time off I'd need (as in work wouldn't have given ii to me) and I'd have been distraught if I'd gotten through and couldn't go.  So I boycotted the series.

Until last Tuesday and I LOVED it!  So I've given myself a challenge; to make one of the bakes each week.  Fun!  I can't go showstopper crazy - who has the time? - but I'm going to do my own version of one of the bakes each week.

In honour of Episode 1 I give you my (friends) version of Black Forest Gateaux!

Schwarzwälder Kirchtorte – German Black Forest Cake 
I asked my German friend Cathrin if she had a traditional German recipe I could butcher, and her mum came up trumps with this traditional Black Forest Cake recipe - so I'm going all traditional on your ass...

This cake is the taste of childhood, when my Auntie Val used to defrost a Black Forest Gateaux just for me on special occasions. Oh how I loved it, the chocolate cake, cherries and gooey cream. Especially when it hadn’t quite defrosted enough and I got a cold cherry to bite through in the middle! 

This version is so much better. I made mine with Cherry Brandy (the recipe says Kirsch, but to all intents and purposes it is the same thing). Don’t be put off by the length of the recipe. Whilst a little complicated, this cake is delicious, light, fluffy, alcohol soaked. Never will a Black Forest Gateaux find its way into my freezer again. 

Thanks Cathrin’s mum – I owe you one. 

For the cake 

  • 140g unsalted butter + 1 tbsp for greasing 
  • 6 eggs 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 200g caster sugar 
  • 65g self-raising flour + 2 tbsp for coating 
  • 40g cocoa 

For the Syrup 

  • 150g sugar 
  • 250ml cold water 
  • 80ml kirsch or cherry brandy 

For the filling and topping 

  • 500ml chilled double cream 
  • 50g icing sugar 
  • 60ml kirsch or cherry brandy 
  • 1 tin of cherries drained and rinsed 
  • Fresh sweet cherries with stems 
  • 100g Dark chocolate 

1. Preheat the oven to 180. With some greaseproof paper, lightly coat the bottoms and sides of three 7-inch round cake pans with the 1 tbsp of soft butter. Sprinkle the flour into each pan and tip them from side to side to coat, discarding any loose flour.

2. Clarify the remaining butter. In a small saucepan, melt the butter slowly over low heat without letting it brown. Let it rest for a minute off the heat, then skim off the foam. Spoon the clear butter into a bowl and set aside. Discard the milky solids at the bottom of the pan. 

Cake batter after step 3

3. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and 1 cup of sugar together at high speed for at least 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fluffy. 

4. Sift the flour and cocoa together and add to the egg mixture a little at a time, folding it in gently with a rubber spatula. Finally, add the clarified butter 2 tablespoons at a time, being careful to not over mix. Gently pour the batter into the prepared cake pans dividing it evenly between the three. 

5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans for about 5 minutes. Then run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake and turn them out on racks to cool out completely. 

6. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by placing the sugar and water in Combine sugar and water in small saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Boil briskly, uncovered, for 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. When the syrup is lukewarm stir in the kirsch or brandy. 

7. Prick each cake in several places with a skewer. Sprinkle the layers evenly with the syrup and let them rest for at least 5 minutes. 

8. Drain the tinned cherries and rinse in cold water. Dry completely with paper towels. 

9. Whizz the cream until it thickens slightly and sift the icing sugar over the cream. Continue beating until the cream forms firm peaks then pour in kirsch or cherry branding in a thin stream, beating only until the liquid is absorbed. 

10. Make the chocolate curls but running a vegetable peeler down the side of the bar of chocolate. 

11. Assemble the cake. Place one of the cakes in the center of a serving plate. With a spatula, spread the top with a 1/2-inch-thick layer of whipped cream and place the dried canned cherries over, leaving about 1/2 inch of cream free of cherries around the perimeter. Gently set a second layer on top of the cherries and spread it with 1/2 inch of whipped cream. Then set the third layer in place.  Spread the top and sides of the cake with the remaining cream. 

12. With your fingers, gently press chocolate curls into the cream on the sides of the cake and arrange a few chocolate curls and fresh cherries on top.


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