Black Forest Gateau
N.B. you really need to make this a day or a morning at the very least in advance. And make sure the kids are not underfoot you will need to give it your full attention but it is so very worth it.
175g butter or margarine
175g caster sugar
3 eggs separated
150g self raising flour
75g best quality cocoa powder
1 tsp coffee powder
a little milk to bind
preheat oven to 170 degrees
line a 7 inch cake tin with a loose bottom
beat the sugar and fat until pale and fluffy and beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Sieve dry ingredients on to baking paper and set aside.
In a large spotlessly clean bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. In a third bowl mix in alternate spoonfuls of the two (start with the sugar and butter and spoon in a big metal spoon’s worth of egg white and fold gently). Use a little milk to bind until the mix is wet but not runny – what they used to call a soft dropping consistency in Home Economical Days. Turn in to the cake tin and bake for about 35 minutes or until risen and springy and just starting to come away from the edge of the tin. It is best to leave it to cool in the tin, cover with plastic and chill overnight but not a hanging offence if you don’t have time.
250g fresh cherries
100g caster sugar
dash of vanilla essence
OR a 400ml or thereabouts jar of morrello cherries.
Pit the cherries and put in a pan. Add the sugar and water and dissolve over gentle heat. Give them a poke and splash in the vanilla stew them for 10 minutes. Strain them reserving the syrup. Rinse the cherries in a sieve. Reunite with the syrup and lace liberally with vodka.
Filling and decoration:
600ml double cream
50g chopped toasted hazelnuts
150g very dark chocolate
In a small pan bring 200ml of cream to a gentle simmer. Stir in 50g chopped chocolate and chill.
Dissolve a teaspoon of gelatine powder in a little hat water and mix it in to the chocolate cream and chill again for 20 minut
Clear the decks, you will need lots of space. Slice the cold cake in to three horizontally and put on to three plates, one of which will be your serving plate because once this baby is assembled it ain’t going nowhere prettily. Drain cherries dousing each cake with the syrup * if you are using bottled cherries do the same but use no more than 100ml of their juice and don’t forget the vodka. *
Stack the cake layers ending with the plain cake.
Beat 400ml of the cream til stiff. Spread half of it on one cake and top with half the cherries, repeat. That gives two cakes spread with cream and cherries. Don’t eat it yet. Spoon a little chocolate cream on the the top of the cake and sprinkle with nuts.
Make chocolate shards or curls – I am too cack-handed to do the curls – and stick them round the side of the cake into the cream. There Will Be Gaps.
Using a piping bag pipe rosettes of chocolate cream on to the top, I suggest 10 of them to give a cutting guide.
Put a cover on and chill for 2 hours.