February Means Cherry Desserts
As February winds down, my head is reeling. No one predicted the massive snows, enveloping fog and drenching rains sprinkled with a few mild and sunny days that we have lived through. As the flood of water recedes in our town, my brain can’t put it all together and my body...well, it keeps going, one way or another. I started this year with a double challenge. I started doing yoga to have more flexibility in my joints and jumped on a workout challenge to be more active with my heart. So far, I am doing well at both and discovering along the way that maybe both of those things can be figurative also.
Along with a more flexible body, my mind is becoming more flexible too. I am not so hard on myself and I am giving myself more freedom to move with the moment. And as my heart gets a workout, I allow myself more passion for the things I love. I take the time to follow my heart. It’s always good when new patterns double the benefit.
This week, though, with Presidents Day looming, I took on a baking challenge. Inspired by the Great British Bake Off, I decided to make a Black Forest Cake. I like to make cherry desserts in February but add chocolate to the recipe and I won’t complain. So I found this recipe from Good Food BBC. It looked amazing and fit my style. I made the cake one day and the filling and frosting the next. And I shared it with my mother who had invited us over for supper.
I definitely followed my heart on this one and gave myself some flexibility in my eating habits to indulge. In the middle of the never ending rain, we carefully covered the cake and carried it under an umbrella so it could sit in its glory on my mother’s table.
We enjoyed it then and it keeps well as we continue to enjoy it! If you give yourself some time, and baking a cake is your passion, here is the recipe. Though it was in grams and milliliters, I transposed it for your pleasure and ease. I hope you love it as much as we did.
Black Forest Cake
¾ c. + 1/2 T. butter, plus extra for greasing
1- 3 oz. bar dark chocolate
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 ¾ c. + 2T. organic raw sugar
¼ c. dark cocoa
1 t. baking soda
Pinch of salt
⅔ c. buttermilk
⅓ c. boiling water
2 T. cherry juice
4 tbsp kirsch (or cherry brandy)
1 large can pitted tart cherries (2 T. juice reserved for syrup above, the rest drained)
1 small can pitted sweet cherries, drained
½ jar cherry jam
1 ¼ c. heavy whipping cream
3 T. confectioners sugar
¾ c. heavy whipping cream
1 ¼ c. dark chocolate chips
First, make the chocolate ganache. Heat the cream in a small pan until just simmering. Put the chocolate chips in a bowl, pour the hot cream over the chips, let sit a few minutes then stir gently until melted. Set aside until spreadable. (This might take a few hours.)
For the cake: Heat oven to 355 degrees. Grease 3 cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Boil the water. Put the butter and chocolate bar broken into chunks in a small pan and gently heat, stirring, until completely melted.
Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa and baking soda with a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk together. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture and egg mixture alternately into the dry ingredients, add the boiling water and mix until the cake batter is smooth.
Divide the mixture between the 3 pans and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Check to see if they are done (they will have puffed up and be mostly solid to the finger) To test if they are done, push in a skewer and check that it comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool ten minutes. Slide a knife around the edges to loosen. Turn the pans over onto a cooling rack and remove parchment paper gently. Prick the cakes a few times with a skewer. Mix together the 2 tbsp reserved cherry juice and the kirsch (or more juice) and drizzle over the cakes. Let cool.
Mix together the drained cherries and jam.
When the cakes are cool, whip the cream and the icing sugar together until firmly whipped. Spread over two of the cakes, then spoon over the jammy cherries. Stack the cakes together. Spread the chocolate cream over the third cake and sit on top of the other cakes. Put a few reserved cherries on top for decoration and refrigerate until ready to serve. It will slice more easily if it has been refrigerated!