Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How Mamma made her first Black Forest Cake.

My dear Peeps,
Since I haven't made a decent post in months, lets start on a sweet note.

"Black Forest Cake"- A mysterious name, for a dessert which gives no hint or clues to whats in there, to someone who haven't tasted it. And to someone who has tasted it, the name uttered gives an instant flashback of the  sensory explosion that makes this dessert unforgettable! The creamy, sweet, frosting, the heady perfume of cherries exploding in your mouth, and the lush cake which melts into warm sweet nothings like a lovers breath.(Darn, did I just wax poetic about a cake???)
Well, there was a reason to all this cheesy wax and eloquence. It was that time when Romance was in the air, and media emotionally blackmails you into buying loads of chocolates and coffee mugs at the last minute for your valentine.
Forget the Media,  Romance was what came to my mind, whenever I used to think Black Forest. So making an ADD -prone recollection short, I decided to make this Cake for my Valentine (of a decade and then some years) as my way of showing I still love him; (despite discarded socks in the living room, despite him attending more calls from office than from my cell-phone, despite him being more lazy around home than I'd prefer....well! You get the idea! :-D)

 The original Black Forest Cake is made with a light, airy chocolate sponge cake, and the frosting is heavy whipped cream . Its stuffed with Cherries in heavy dark syrup. We are not talking about just a light and heavy dessert, but a heavy-duty sinful one that will send us straight to guilt hell. As a couple we both hate heavy desserts and our sweet tooth happens to be pretty microscopic too. Silver lining?? We do have them.
Gray Area?? We couldn't order one or refer to one off a chef's site and try making it. I had never made one before, so if I had to make one, it needed a spanking new recipe to suit our delicate tastebuds, or an existing one needed major improvisation!!!
 Fishing around for a base recipe, I saw loads of American versions, with cream cheese frosting (too heavy!!!) butter-cream icing (too sweet!!!!) and chocolate fudge (yuck!!!). After imagining the combinations, I couldn't even bring myself to bake one of those. My vision of a perfect B.F.C. was an airy chocolate cake weighed down by fresh cherries soaked in liquor, layered and topped with light cold whipped cream.

The Icing I chose to go with it was a store bought whipped Butter-cream Icing, which I realized was not enough, halfway into the icing. Random vent: How come you have more than enough when you make it at home and fall short when you buy it from store? Grrr.

And thus started coming together my Black Forest Cake: The base- my very own spongy chocolate cake- and not a cake mix.
 I usually HATE ready cake mixes, except Angel Food Cake mix. That is something I don't mess around with. The respect comes from *NOT* being able to achieve the lightness with the recipes I came across and tried.
So for the cake, I whipped up my favorite original recipe moist chocolate cake, in two 8" cake pans.
All the versions of BFCs usually had a cream filling and only a few of the authentic German ones had real Cherry filling, and I desperately wanted that special touch in my cake.

 The filling I used was a mix of canned Sweet red Cherries and home-made cherries in brandy and syrup, that I made just for this occasion. Grocery Independence....though it was in part, Yay Me!
(BTW, Its easy- Make hot sugar syrup and add washed, pat-dried, seeded cherries to it. Cook until tender. Stir in brandy, for pure adult enjoyment and a little germ-killing too. I cant say about shelf life because I just make it for cakes as and when needed and the leftovers get licked!) And use the leftover brandy sugar mixture to drizzle on the cake.

And I slathered on the Icing generously between layers and on top (as much as my meager can would let me.)

And after an attempted stunt of creating chocolate sculptures as in Top Chef (Thjs image up there^^^which looked totally abstract, btw), my cake was ready (or had I given up trying any more?)
Melted chocolate, spread thin on plastic wrap and thrust into freezer for 5 minutes gave me enough thin sheets to stick onto the icing to give me that chocolate stone-wall kind of image I had in mind (as you can see, not quite!)
Finally, I topped it off using cherries and some store bought white-icing-in-a-tube-thingy supposedly used to ice decorative cakes. For color,  I added some amazing Indian Cherries (which is not a cherry at all...they are Bush Plums or Karandas that are closely related to the plum family, and used in a lot of bakery products in India. Want to read more about it, then go to for some nerdy light reading. )
Then in went the cake to the chilly depths of my refrigerator to be emerged as a surprise dessert after dinner. The surprise was all out by excited, giggly kids, who couldnt wait to tell Dad about it. But so what, the cake was a hit, and I felt the warm fuzzies as we digged into it, amidst Mmmms and Hrrrmmms. Or maybe it was the chocolate and brandy mixture.
Anyways, it was good enough to try making it again with the kinks straightened out. And stay tuned for the recipe. It will be posted here....where else?

Love ya all,

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