Sunday, 28 June 2009
Happy Birthday To Me...
It's my birthday, so I thought I'd indulge myself with a "cookery" chocolate cake post... (alas, a virtual cake, not a real one!)
As a child, I spent many happy hours observing my mother, who was a very good cook. Alas, my attempts to copy her methods rarely succeeded in producing anything edible, and, on one memorable occasion, my Christmas mince pies were declared a danger to public health, likened to something embargoed under the Geneva Arms Convention, and duly transported, by my mother, directly from oven to bin.
To be honest, chocolate cake is rarely as good as it looks: it's generally too dry, and often sinks like lead into the pit of one's stomach. The exception is Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. It was my favourite for many years, and I would beg my mother to make it as a special birthday treat.
The bottom layer should be chocolate sponge (I've also seen it with a chocolate shortcrust base), soaked in Kirsch (a delicious liqueur) - and, since most English "Black Forest Cherry Gateaux" leave out this most vital part, they're always disappointing, as my family discovered when, one year, my stepfather tried to save my mother the hassle of making the cake by ordering one from Harrods. Not a good move.
On top of the Kirsch-soaked sponge goes a layer of cherry conserve - made by cooking the cherries (which have previously been soaked in Kirsch) - followed by a layer of whipped cream. A layer of sponge is then added (this may or may not have Kirsch added... it depends on how alcoholic you like your cake.)
More Kirsch-cherry conserve is added, followed by more cream. The last layer of Kirsch-soaked sponge goes on. Then the whole cake is slathered in whipped cream, and it's decorated with chocolate shavings (only proper Swiss or Belgian chocolate, the darker the better) and maraschino cherries to pretty it up a bit.
If you're a smoker, you might want to consider allowing a little time to elapse between consuming the cake and lighting up...