It’s dessert week! DESSERT WEEK! The one we’ve all (ok I’ve) been waiting for folks! Cakes are one thing, but desserts are quite another and as far as edible objects go, they’re pretty much my favourite thing around. You know how they say you’re either a savoury or a sweet person? The one that goes for a starter and the one that goes for a dessert? Well I’ve always, without question been a dessert girl (I find it hard to fathom why anyone would choose a starter over a dessert but that’s another matter), I’m the one who’ll judge a restaurant completely by its dessert options and always look at the back of the menu before the middle.
A few weeks back when I was going through some tummy troubles there was talk of a possible gluten allergy, and for a short time I had to cut the stuff out. Now you know what scared me most about having to keep that up long term? Not the fact that I’d have to give up pizza, bread or pasta (in case you were wondering you can get pretty great gluten free alternatives of these nowadays and sometimes you’ll barely notice a difference), it wasn’t even the fact that cakes might be tricky (I quickly found my way around that – did you see my gluten free chocolate cake? You’d never know you weren’t eating flour), no it was the thought of missing dessert. A warm sticky toffee pudding, a melting chocolate fudge cake, a fruit crumble on a winters day. Life, lets face it, just wouldn’t be as fun without dessert.
So it’ll come as no surprise that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this week on this #thegreatbloggerbakeoff challenge and I had one too many ideas of what I wanted to make. In the end I decided I wanted to create something of showstopper and make a dish I’d never attempted before. I also had the endless jars of leftover homemade jam from last week’s bread bake in the back of my mind, as I knew I couldn’t possibly spread the stuff on bread fast enough to use it up before it went off. It was only after I saw this masterpiece from Call Me Cupcake, that the Black Forest Gateau was decided upon and suddenly tiered sponges and layers of cream and ganache were where I found myself yesterday afternoon.
It’s definitely not my best work in terms of the actual bake, my sponges broke slightly when coming out of their tins and ended up all different widths, my jam was far too runny causing a berry leak that I couldn’t mop up quick enough, the more layers that went on the more lopsided the cake became and there is most definitely an extreme soggy bottom which I’m sure Paul and Mary would have something to say about. But, for some reason with this particular bake none of that seemed to matter to me. Despite it’s messy appearance and leaning stance, I can’t help but be utterly chuffed with it. I mean c’mon? There’s four layers of sponge, cream, fruit and ganache and it’s standing proud (albeit lopsided).
I haven’t yet tasted it as I couldn’t bare to cut through it before GB had come home and given me a celebratory hug, and I’m pretty sure that the moment I do, the leaning tower of gateau will be falling to it’s demise so I’ll keep you posted.
What you’ll need…
175g salted butter
200g of dark chocolate
300g plain flour
375g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g natural yoghurt
For the decoration…
425g cherries (canned or fresh depending on desire) and blackberries
2 tbsp cherry juice (from can or from jam if using fresh)
100g cherry/ berry jam
500ml double cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
fresh cherries for the top (if using canned)
How it’s done…
1. Preheat your oven to 180C and grease four small cake tins.
2. Boil the kettle. Place the butter and 75g of the chocolate in a pan and slowly heat until melted.
3. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb of soda and sugar along with a pinch of salt.
4. Whisk the natural yoghurt and eggs together and add to the flour mixture along with the melted chocolate and butter mix.
5. Add 100ml of boiling water and whisk briefly to get rid of lumps.
6. Pour evenly into the four cake tins and bake for 25 minutes, switching them over half way through for an even bake.
7. Once cooked, pour a little cherry juice/ jam juice over each cake and leave to cool.
8. While the cakes are cooling, mix your cherries (and any other fruit you want to use – I used blackberries – with the cherry juice or jam. (Here I used my homemade blackberry and raspberry jam and as I was using fresh cherries, heated the mix in a pan for five mins or so to soften the fruit, but to make things easier for yourself you could use canned pitted cherries. If you do heat the mix, make sure you leave it to cool for long enough before layering)
9. Heat 200ml of the double cream gently in a pan until just about boiling, then pour into a bowl on top of the remaining dark chocolate and mix until all melted together. Set both jam and ganache aside to cool slightly.
10. Whisk the rest of the cream with the icing sugar until softly whipped.
11. Layer your cake tiers by applying cream to the top of one layer, followed by piles of fruity jam (beware it will drip and you may get a soggy bottom) followed by another cake layer and so on until you reach your final tier.
12. On the top layer spread your chocolate cream ganache all over and then decorate with fresh cherries and blackberries.
I’d advise photographing and tucking in fairly quickly after assembling as only a few hours later and my cake is distinctly less upright than when I left it, I think that soggy bottom is causing a little havoc for the top layers.
So… have I convinced you to be a dessert person?