So, I guess this is my first proper post of the blog.
I decided to write about my most recent celebration cake that I made for my colleagues and I at the end of our school term last week.
I started off with the idea of a Black Forest Gateau. I made chocolate and cherry macarons recently and found myself quite fond of the flavour combination. Normally I am quite averse to combining milk or dark chocolate with most fruits, but this was decadent and well balanced. Anyway, back to the cake.
I considered using a chocolate genoise sponge but decided to use my fall back, reliable and favourite chocolate mud cake recipe. This is the cake that I use to make fondant covered cakes and is especially good for tiered wedding cakes because it is moist, keeps very well for several days, and is sturdy enough to hold its shape. Perhaps sturdy isn’t the best word to choose when describing a cake, but I hope those of you who have tried, and failed, to ice a soft and crumbly chocolate cake will know what I mean.
Because the mud cake is so dark and rich I feel that a chocolate buttercream (or at most a buttercream and ganache mix) is most suitable, so I used a combination of buttercream and good quality cherry jam to fill the four layers. Each layer had been brushed with a Kirsch sugar syrup for extra flavour and a wee kick. I crumb coated the entire cake and put it in the fridge to firm up, then gave it another, more generous and smooth layer of buttercream before returning it to the fridge.
Then came the really fun bit: the decoration. I had previously made a chocolate bark with glacé cherries, gold sugar and gold sprinkles. I had also decorated some beautiful, deep red and glossy fresh cherries with edible gold leaf. I don’t think using this product will ever get old for me. I made up a chocolate ganache (half milk, half dark chocolate) roughly 1:1 ratio with double cream and gently poured it on the chilled cake once cooled and coaxed it over the edges to for the side drizzle effect with a cranked palette knife. I then broke up the chocolate bark into shards and placed them into the cake, followed by the fresh cherries and more gold sugar and sprinkles. I could kick myself though as I had bought chocolate batons filled with Kirsch to add to the decor and completely forgot about them until afterwards.
And that, as they say, was that! I was proud of the finished appearance and I think it looked suitable celebratory and special. It was, however, tricky to cut (I removed the shards and fresh cherries) as are most very tall cakes. But it was moist, fruity and rich with chocolate and my colleagues seemed to enjoy it.
There really is no end to the flavour combinations that could be created with a cake like this. The bark would have been delicious with almonds in it too. The fruit could easily be changed. The cake flavour could be altered to suit personal taste too. I hope to make many more cakes based on this idea of a celebratory cake: it’s so much fun and adaptable.
Oh, and I almost forgot, this cake wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the inspirational talent of a fellow teacher and baker called Katherine Sabbath. She, quite simply, is the bomb.