Friday, February 27, 2009

Black Forest Cake

It's the beginning of the birthday season in my research group. We used to have a clump around April (miss you Korhan and Anoop!) but now they all seem to be in February. Our fearless leader ordered a cake but I couldn't resist making one too. But since we were already expecting a full size one, I made a mini 4" cake.

I decided on German Black Forest Cake because one of the birthday gals is of German heritage and it also has alcohol which is a plus (especially for a cake to be consumed mid-day).

For the cake I used a Wacky Cake recipe:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
4 T cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1 T cider vinegar
6 T vegetable oil
1 c water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour the sides of two 4" springforms and line bottom with parchment paper.
Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a bowl. Whisk vanilla, vinegar, oil and water together in another bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.
Fill pans until halfway full. There will be batter left over (which is perfect for 4 cupcakes).
Bake until tooth pick inserted comes out clean (maybe about 25 minutes). Let cool completely.

Kirsch Cherries
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 T kirsch
1/3 cup dried cherries (I use Montmorency ones from TJ's)

In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar into water over medium high. Bring to a boil. Add dried cherries and turn heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Stir in kirsch and let steep for 10 minutes.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream (minus 2 T if you are making ganache)
1 T kirsch
3 T powdered sugar

Whip cream to soft peaks. Add kirsch and sugar. Whip until incorporated.

2 T heavy cream
1/4 c chopped chocolate (I used Green&Black's 70%)

Heat cream in microwave until hot (15-25 seconds). Pour over chopped chocolate. Wait a minute then mix until smooth.

Chocolate shavings:
Place a bar of chocolate in the microwave and heat until slightly warm but nowhere near melting. Scrape shavings from edge of chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler.

Level cakes. Put first layer down. Brush top with cherry kirsch syrup. Spread with ganache. Top with soaked cherries. Place second layer on and repeat. Frost with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

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