22 May 2014

Black Forest Cake - Recipe

Our first cherries this year
Some days it's easy to misjudge how long things are going to take and I didn't allow enough time to make my cake, hence the Black Forest cake is a 'little messy' on the sides of the cake. Once the cream was 'set'  I couldn't clean up the outside of the cake.  On the positive side I don't want my cakes to look as though they have come off a production line - I like the homely side of baking.

There are quite a few stages to making the finished cake and lot's of kitchen equipment is used, which equals loads of washing up, the dishwasher was definitely my best friend when I made this cake.

First stage is the chocolate base which wasn't chocolatey enough but I have allowed for this in the recipe below.  Second stage is a chocolate layer which is spread over the sponge cake.  Third stage is to puree a half a jar of sugar free cherry jam,  I used half a jar of Cerises Griottes, Montmorency Cherries which was a purchase from Le Pain Quotidien, and spread this over the set chocolate, third stage is to make a set cream topping, fourth stage is to make chocolate shards.

I was brought up on frozen Black Forest Gateaux(which I loved at the time) and this cake is thankfully on another level.......

The tin needs to be lined so the cake can be easily lifted out
Dark Belgian Chocolate is melted and spread over the upturned sponge cake
At last I got round to using the jar of jam that has been sitting in my store cupboard
Cherries from my greengrocer and quickly made shards of dark Belgian chocolate
The chocolate sponge layer was a bit shy of that lovely chocolate taste
but this cake is amazingly delicious
You will need:  20cm square baking tin lined with baking parchment - the lining paper needs to come 5cm above the tin to enable the cooked sponge to be lifted out of the tin.

For the cake
3 Eggs
100g Caster Sugar
75g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
25g Cocoa Powder

Fruit Layer
Half a jar of unsweetened Morello Cherry Jam
1 tbsp either Kirsch or Brandy

Chocolate Layer
70g Dark Belgian Chocolate (I used Waitrose)

Cream Topping
2 tbsp Kirsch or Brandy
5 tbsp Icing Sugar
2 Gelatine Leaves
200ml Whipping or Double Cream

1.  Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2.  Beat the eggs and sugar together until a whisk leaves a trail.
3.  Sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and fold in gently.
4.  Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 30 minutes. Cool in the tin.
5.  Remove the cooled cake from the tin by holding the baking paper.
6.  Place the cake onto a plate.  Melt the chocolate carefully over a pan of simmering water.
7.  Pour the melted chocolate over the sponge and leave to set.  Place in the fridge to harden.
8.  Puree half a jar of cherry jam with a tablespoon of kirsch or brandy and carefully spread over the set chocolate.
9.  To make the cream: put the kirsch into a small saucepan with the sieved icing sugar and place on a gentle heat.  Soak the leaf gelatine as per the manufacturers instructions. Whilst the pan is still on a gentle heat, add the soaked gelatine and stir to dissolve in the kirsch/brandy and icing sugar mixture.  Whisk the cream to the floppy stage and fold in the gelatine mixture.  Spread the cream over the pureed jam.
10. Make the chocolate shards.  Once the shards have been made place them into the freezer - because they are so thin they can be difficult to handle.
11. Decorate the cream with cherries and the chocolate shards.
12. Eat and enjoy - best served with some runny double cream.

3 May 2014

Coffee Crunch Bars - Recipe

Coffee Crunch Bars
I love coffee and cake and these small crunchy bites were a fabulous accompaniment to my mid- morning latte.  If I was able to choose one of these cakes in a coffee shop I'd be more than delighted.  The sponge layer is light and the coffee and spiced crunchy topping is drizzled with an espresso icing.

I buy espresso powder for baking but it can also be used in chilli con carne for richness, depth of flavour and colour.

Makes: 18

You will need:  18cm shallow square tin base and sides lined with baking parchment paper

For the cake:
55g Stork
100g Caster Sugar
1 egg
5 tbsp thick natural yogurt (if there is any whey place into a fine sieve to drain off the whey)
125g self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla extract

85g plain flour
70g unsalted butter
½ tsp ground mixed spice
1½ tsp espresso powder
70g caster sugar
pinch of salt

85g icing sugar
1 tbsp made espresso coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Make the topping - into a bowl place the flour and butter into a bowl and rub the butter into the flour to resemble fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the mixed spice, coffee and caster sugar.  Put on one side.
3. Make the sponge - add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix for 2 minutes.
4. Pour the cake batter into the base of the prepared tin and level.
5. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter.
6. Bake for 35 minutes and test by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.
7. Transfer the cooked tin to a cooling rack.  When the cake has cooled down - remove by holding onto the baking paper and placing on the cooling rack until completely cold.  When cold carefully remove the baking paper.
8. To make the icing - place the icing sugar into a bowl, gradually add the coffee.  If the mixture is too thick add a little water.
9. Place the cooled cake onto a board, cut into 18 pieces and drizzle over the icing.  Leave to set.

More recipe ideas using espresso powder
Cappuccino Cupcakes
Coffee Cappuccino Creams with Cream and Sweet Coffee Sauce