Black Forest Gateau

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There are many things that we happily left behind in the 1970s; flares, groovy sideburns and oversized lapels. However, there are some things that deserve to be revisited now and again.

One of those things being the decadence of a Black Forest Gateau. Rich chocolate sponge sandwiched with tangy cherry compote and vanilla cream, no one could leave that behind!

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I made this today for my boyfriend’s family, it was my first attempt and it turned out surprisingly well! Compared to the tragedies I’ve had with other “first attempts” at least…

Layer cakes are something that seem to send shivers down the spine of even the most talented and experienced bakers with fears of cracking, collapsing and uneven layers. The truth is, the only secret to perfecting these daunting cakes is to be fearless, the more you worry, the more damage you’ll do! Be confident when spreading and stacking and you’ll find your cake turns out better than you ever expected it would.

Firstly, preheat your oven and grease/line two 18cm cake tins.

Sift your flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl and add in all your other ingredients. Beat together until smooth and combined.

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Pour the cake mix evenly between your two cake tins and pop them into the oven for around 30-35 minutes until the cakes are springy to touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Once baked, cool your cakes in their tins for 5 minutes before cooling completely on wire racks while you prepare your fillings.

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Place your dried cherries and the whole jar of jam – it may seem excessive but you can never have too much jam – into a saucepan and heat gently for around 5 minutes until the jam has melted and the cherries are beginning to swell up. Leave this to cool for at least 15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, pour your cream, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl and whip until soft peaks form, careful not to make it too stiff!

Once your cakes are completely cold, cut them in half horizontally using either a large serrated knife or a cake wire. Try to keep the knife as parallel as you can so your four layers of cake are as even as possible. Don’t worry if they’re a little squint or cracked though, mine were, and I think it adds to the homemade charm!

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Now that your cakes are sliced and your fillings are cooled and prepared, it’s time for the scary part: layering!

Place three of your cake layers on separate plates, leaving the best-looking one aside to use as the top.

Spread your cherry mixture on three of the cakes, pushing the mixture right to the edges and covering the whole cake evenly.

Next, spoon the whipped cream on top of the cherries – leaving some in the bowl to use for decoration – and spread it carefully and evenly. Use a grater to grate some of the dark chocolate on top of the layers of cream.

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Now, be brave and place one layer of cake on top of the other, and repeat with the other topped layer. The easiest way to do this is using a cake-lifter or even a thin plate to slide underneath each sponge. As I said before, don’t worry too much about it looking perfect, it doesn’t matter if a layer cracks or some of the filling starts to leak out, everyone will be too distracted by the amount of cake and cream to care about how it looks!

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Once you’ve stacked the three filled layers, use your nicest-looking layer of cake to top it off with. You can decorate the top however you like, I opted for some simple whipped cream rosettes and some fresh cherries!

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To do this, just fill a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle with the remaining whipped cream and pipe some swirls around the edges of the cake. Then just place a fresh cherry in the centre of each little swirl for a lovely fruity finish.

And there you have it! A beautiful layered marvel straight out of the 1970s which is guaranteed to impress!

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Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau

A 1970s classic black forest gateau is brought into the 21st century in this simple recipe!

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 230g butter/margarine
  • 165g self raising flour
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    For the fillings and toppings:
  • 600ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 340g jar of cherry jam (I used Hartley’s black cherry kind)
  • 150g dried cherries
  • 1 bar of dark chocolate
  • A few fresh cherries

Instructions

    For the cake:
  1. Preheat your oven – 180 degrees for conventional ovens or 160 degrees for fan – and grease/line two 18cm cake tins.
  2. Sift your flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl and add in all your other ingredients.
  3. Beat together until smooth and combined.
  4. Pour the cake mix evenly between your two cake tins and pop them into the oven for around 30-35 minutes until the cakes are springy to touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Once baked, cool your cakes in their tins for 5 minutes before removing and cooling completely on wire racks while you prepare your fillings.
    For the fillings and toppings:
  1. Place your dried cherries and the whole jar of jam into a saucepan and heat gently for around 5 minutes until the jam has melted and the cherries are beginning to swell up. Leave this to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pour your cream, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
  3. Once your cakes are completely cold, cut them in half horizontally using either a large serrated knife or a cake wire. Try to keep the knife as parallel as you can so your four layers of cake are as even as possible.
  4. Place three of your cake layers on separate plates, leaving the best-looking one aside to use as the top.
  5. Spread your cherry mixture on three of the cakes, pushing the mixture right to the edges and covering the whole cake evenly.
  6. Next, spoon the whipped cream on top of the cherries – leaving some in the bowl to use for decoration – and spread it carefully and evenly.
  7. Use a grater to grate some of the dark chocolate on top of the layers of cream.
  8. Place one layer of cake on top of the other, and repeat with the other topped layer. The easiest way to do this is using a cake-lifter or even a thin plate to slide underneath each sponge. As I said before, don’t worry too much about it looking perfect, it doesn’t matter if a layer cracks or some of the filling starts to leak out.
  9. Once you’ve stacked the three filled layers, use your nicest-looking layer of cake to top it off with. You can decorate the top however you like, I opted for some simple whipped cream rosettes and some fresh cherries.
  10. Enjoy!
http://maverickbaking.com/black-forest-gateau/

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