Hope everyone had a merry and joyful Christmas with their family and friends! I know I did, despite the mad rush of baking in the last three weeks 😉 Finally managed to squeeze in a bit of time to read and plot for Chinese New Year (oooh pineapple tarts here I come aaaaggaaiinnn.)
The orders ended just in time for me to make this cake for my dad’s birthday last weekend!
This has been a cake I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now, but couldn’t because I didn’t know where to get kirsch! Stephen discovered a shop that stocked the liquor recently… and it’s like I’ve struck gold. Because they not only have kirsch, but amaretto, and a few other interesting dessert liquors that I’m not itching to try, like chestnut, apricot, lychee…
…I’m so tempted to start a whole drunken cake / cupcake series.
It’s been a while since I made the genoise, and am glad it didn’t deflate on me 😉 The key to getting the genoise right, is to heat the eggs, then whisk them on high in the mixer to incorporate all the air (if you whisk it on medium, you won’t get enough air in and the cake won’t rise as much). Once the eggs have magically tripled in size, turn down the mixer to medium and continue beating for few more minutes to stablise the air bubbles.
I wanted a tall cake, so I doubled the recipe in Joy of Baking and placed it in an 8-inch pan. Not the best idea. Sure it’s pretty… but with the genoise so thick you need to feed the thirsty sponge with a lot of liquid so that it is moist, otherwise it might be a little dry (which was what happened for mine!). So next time I’ll probably make it slightly thinner, with 3 layers of cake and 2 layers of cream and cherries.
Adapted from Joy of Baking's Black Forest Cake
- 425g Morello Cherries or dark sweet cherries in heavy syrup
- 4 tablespoons Kirsch or Cherry Brandy (more if you like!)
- Extra cherries for decoration
- 3 tbsp (42 grams) hot melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup (125 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (480ml) heavy whipping cream / double cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tbsp tablespoons (20 grams) icing sugar
- 1 - 2 tbsp kirsch
1. Add the liquor to the cherries and syrup, and leave to soak overnight 🙂
1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C / 350°F. Line the bottom of a 8 or 9 inch round pan with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
3. Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a simmer. In a separate heatproof bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Whisk the eggs over the simmering water, until lukewarm.
4. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat on high until thick and triple in volume. Lower the speed to medium and continue beating for a few more minutes to stabilise air bubbles. When done, lift your beaters and the mixture should fall back in thick ribbons 🙂 (You can try writing some letters, it should stay on top for a while and slowly sink back in)
5. Sift the cocoa-flour mixture into the eggs in three batches, gently folding with a whisk, spatula or your hand after each addition
6. Take about 1 cup of the mixture and add it to the melted butter to lighten it. Return it to the egg mixture and again, gently fold it in.
7. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
8. Cool the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing. Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Note: If you want a tall cake, double this recipe and bake it in 2 pans. I would advise to slice each genoise into two and fill it, as mentioned above about it being a bit dry if it's too thick. So if you're doubling the recipe, you can either make it 3 layers or 4 layers of sponge 😉
1. Whisk the cream and icing sugar on high until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the vanilla and kirsch.
1. Use the syrup liquor from the cherries to brush all the genoise layers. I used about 1/4 cup for each layer. Always find it amazing to see the liquid disappear so quickly into the cake ;P
2. Place one layer on a cake board. Spread a layer of cream on top, and if you want to me neat, use piping bag to pipe some cream around the outer edges of the cake. Add the cherries and fill with more cream on top.
3. Place the other piece of cake on top.
4. Place your cake on a cake turntable and use a frosting spatula to tidy up the cream at the side (if there are some cream gapes in between the cakes, just pipe in some cream to fill the holes). Hold the spatula at a 45 degree angle lengthwise against the side of the cake, and rotate the turntable in one direction. Wipe off your spatula whenever you lift it off from the cake to remove any cream from it.
5. Finish off by piping rosettes on top of the cake and topping each with a cherry! 🙂
And oh, didn’t realise it was 31 December. Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! x