You probably know me well enough by now to know that I love eating when I'm on holiday. Especially in the US. And this trip was no exception. Some new things I tried were Love at first Bite cupcakes in Berkeley, California (AMAZING! One of the only times that I've found cupcakes to live up to their looks and description), In 'n' Out Burger (I'm not much of a burger person but these were incredible. Their milkshakes are great too. Plus they're a Christian company!) and Crumbs cupcakes (HUGE and great looking with lots of wonderful sounding flavour combinations but rather underwhelming). And some old favourites I just had to have; Cheesecake Factory (I had the Reese's peanut butter cheesecake and it was scrumptious. I'm going to find a similar recipe because I need it in my life!) and Five Guys burger (as good as the first time I had it!). Something else I discovered were peanut butter M&Ms. Wow! Why has nobody ever told me how amazing they are???
Anyway, before I get too carried away, back to today's post. I made this for a friend of mine who had been harassing me ever since he found out I baked to make him a Black Forest Gâteau. Now I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan of this cake. Mainly because the only way I like my cherries is fresh and washed. But after a lot of hassling, I found this recipe and gave it a go. My cake was pretty tall and it ended up rather wonky when I put it together. All in all, I wasn't too impressed with it when I had a slice later. It was rather dry, despite soaking the sponge layers in the black cherry syrup, and it just wasn't as tasty as other cakes I've had. And I've had a lot! However, if you still want to give it a go - here's the recipe. It is by Antony Worrall Thompson from the BBC Food website.
For the chocolate cake
340g/12oz golden caster sugar
340g/12oz unsalted butter
240g/8.5oz self raising flour
For the filling
2 cans black cherries in syrup
2 tbsp kirsch
For the icing
600ml/21 fl oz double cream
200g/7oz good quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
50g/2oz dark chocolate, for shaving
1 - Preheat oven to 170c/325F/Gas Mark 3
2 - Lightly butter a 20cm (8in) loose-bottomed cake tin then dust with a little plain flour and shake off any excess. Line the tin with greaseproof paper
3 - For the cake, place butter and sugar in a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time
Then fold in the flour and the cocoa powder
4 - Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the surface with a knife and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes until firm and springy.
To test if the cake is done, insert a clean skewer into the middle of the cake - if it comes out clean then the cake is ready
5 - Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack
6 - Drain the cherries, reserving 200ml (7 fl oz) of the cherry syrup. Add the kirsch to the reserved syrup
7 - Use a large serrated knife to slice the cake horizontally into three equally sized rounds
8 - Place each round on a chopping board and spoon the cherry syrup evenly over each disc and leave to soak in
9 - For the icing, heat 200ml (7 fl oz) of the double cream to scalding point then add the chocolate pieces. Remove from the heat and stir gently until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator, to thicken slightly
10 - Whip the remaining double cream until thick. Spread one of the cake discs with half of the cream then cover with half of the cherries, pressing them in lightly.
Top with the second disc of sponge and repeat this process, finishing with the third disc left plain on top. Gently press the whole cake together with the palm of your hands
11 - Remove the chocolate icing from the fridge and give it a quick stir. Use a palette knife to thickly spread the top and sides of the cake with the icing, starting with the top first. This way, if the chocolate oozes down the sides of the cake, it won't matter.
12 - Garnish with chocolate shavings. I pressed them into the sides of the cake
13 - Leave the cake to set in a cool place then slice into large wedges and serve