27 April 2007

Black Forest Cake: The Fairy Tale Ending

I made my own birthday cake for the first time.

Yesterday was the 22nd birthday. It's also my first birthday I spent with the boyfriend. I remembered making a wish before blowing the last year's candles that he didn't have a girlfriend. Two months later, we started going out. So yes, the birthday wish will actually come true.

We spent the day like other normal working days, but had the time to wonder around in town for two hours. He bought me a white rose, wrapped in cellophane with a white bow, just the way I like it. So I walked around town with a thin, long, elegant white rose in one hand and him in the other. Never felt this special before.

My chemistry lab finished at 5 in the afternoon. We both got dressed up and went to this famous Italian restaurant for dinner. It was all very romantic. The window seat. The white tablecloth. The beautiful mussel and scallop. The two hands holding each other. We went to another place for tiramisu and Italian hot chocolate for dessert. Perfect.

One thing though, I didn't have time to bake a cake for myself. It's been a dream since I first started baking. And it has to be blask forest, probably because it's such a luxury treat that you can only indulge yourself with on a special occasion.

It was indeed luxury. I didn't add that much sugar but we still have to share 3/4 of the cake with my friends. It looked beautiful inside, the layer after layer of chocolaty cake, white Chantilly cream, and dark purple cherry.

Who doesn't love such a cake that reminds you of the beautiful fairy tales that might happen in the black forest. So let me just be a kid for one more time, believing in fairy tales that all had happy endings. Then I'll be a older and wiser adult, making a silent promise with myself that the fairy tale ending will one day happen to us.

Black Forest Cake

Adapted from Sensational Sweets

Chocolate Sponge
2/3 cup cake flour (I made my own: 2 tbsp of cornstarch + plain flour = 1 cup cake flour)
1/3 cup coca
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Sugar syrup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark rum

Cheery filling
1 pound pitted sour cherries, drained if canned; reserving 3 tbsp liquid
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cornstarch

Chantilly cream
2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp confectioner's sugar, or to taste
1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate coating
400 g chocolate, melted

Chocolate shavings, extra

Preheat the oven to 350F (185C). Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the pan bottom with waxed paper cup to fit and butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour, shaking out the excess.

To make the cake, on a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour with the cocoa. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the yolks until combined. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar a little at a time and heat the mixture falls in a thick ribbon when beater is lifted. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape the egg-yolk mixture into a large bowl. Wash the mixer bowl and beater. Add the egg whites to the mixer bowl and beat with the salt until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until whites form very soft peaks. Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, and beat the whites until they hold firm peaks. With a large rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold the whites into the egg-yolk mixture. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in batches, until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert onto a rack, peal off the waxed paper, and let cool completely.

To make the sugar syrup, in a medium-size saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Stir in the rum and let cool.

To make the cherry filling, in a medium-size saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar to taste, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine reserved cherry liquid with the cornstarch and stir into the cherry mixture. Simmer, stirring, until thickened. Transfer to a bowl, let cool and chill, covered, until ready to use.

To make the chantilly cream, in a chilled bowl, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat with a chilled beater until it forms soft peaks.

To assemble the cake, with a long serrated knife, slice the cake into three layers and transfer the bottom layer, cut side up, to a piece of cardboard. Brush the cut side of the bottom layer with a third of the sugar syrup and spread with Chantilly cream. Spoon half the cherries over the mousse and top with another layer of the Chantilly cream. Repeat with second layer. Top with the last layer and cover the cake with the remaining cream. Chill cake.

To make the chocolate coating, melt the chocolate over boiling water. Spread the melted chocolate on a baking paper with the length that can surround the whole cake. Let a cool at room temperature for 20 min before coating it onto the cake. Chill for 10 min. Gently remove the baking paper when the coating is hardened.

Garnish the top with chocolate shavings.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday (really belated)...I just turned 22 in April as well, and though I've been making everyone else's birthday cake this year, I didn't make mine. Maybe I should have asked you, cause yours looks wonderful! Please update, I'm waiting to see what wonderful things you come up with next!

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