Black Forrest Gateau was one of the joys of a ’70s childhood. With its layers of chocolate cake, punctuated by cream and tinned cherries, then decorated with chocolate curls, it always stood proud on desert trolleys of the era during the infrequent times my family went out for dinner. My attempts at assembling my own variation on, what was for the time, perfection, were made with the assistance of a small cookbook that purported to show you how to cook everything possibly needed for Christmas well ahead of time and freeze it. I took this all very seriously and well remember myself piping trays of cream rosettes for freezing (and forgetting) in advance of the festive season. That Gateau wasn’t too bad but a recent attempt to bring the cake into the 21st Century was even more successful.
I started with Tessa Kiros‘ recipe for Moist Chocolate Cake in Falling Cloudberries (incidentally, watch out for her new book – Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found – due out soon), made it with Griotka cherry liqueur, still sitting around since my Berlin trip, and served it in slices with cream and dollops of the most divine sour cherry preserve. This deconstructed effort is a lot easier to make than the old BFG, no filling or decorating necessary, just slice – thinly, this is a rich, moist cake – and add your cream/cherry accompaniments.
Deconstructed Black Forrest Gateau
Good quality dark chocolate – 200g
Butter – 250g
Vanilla or caster sugar – 100g
Eggs – 5
Cherry liqueur – 100ml
Plain flour – 150g
Baking powder – 1 tablespoon
Sugar – 220g
Water – 300mls
Softly whipped cream, sour cherry preserve
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Butter and flour a 26cm cake tin.
Melt the chocolate, butter and sugar in a bowl over a saucepan of just barely simmering water. When the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Using a large bowl, whisk the eggs in a separate bowl until fluffy then slowly pour over the chocolate mixture, whisking all the time, until incorporated. Add the brandy and mix well, then sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl, whisking until everything is amalgamated. Pour into the prepared tin and cook for 45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the cake is firm and slightly shrunken away from the sides of the tin.
Meanwhile, make the syrup by boiling the sugar and water together for five minutes until thickened. Allow to cool. Using a skewer, make holes in the top of the cake and, while still warm from the oven, pour over the cooled syrup.
Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, remove from the tin and serve with softly whipped cream and sour cherry preserve.
Adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros.