Friday, July 06, 2012
Monday, July 02, 2012
All the flowers are edible, and again, I made them all myself. It's the first time I've ever put sugar flowers on a wire and I must say there is a trick to it, which I don't think I'm privy to. If you are every wondering why wedding cakes like this cost so much, it's because the handmade sugar flowers take many many hours to make. They can't actually be made in one go either - they need to be created layer upon layer, sometimes with a days drying time in between each. I spent a lot of time talking to my mum about making these flowers. I used pre-prepped flower moulding paste, and I really think it is a poor replacement for the pastillage my mum and Aunty used on the flowers they made for my birthday cake (when I was five!). Those flowers "clinked" like china. These ones just never dried to that point. But all in all, I am very pleased with this result.
Sunday, July 01, 2012
My sister made friends with a German girl in her school, who happened to live in a house kind of over our back fence. We had never met anybody from Germany before, and we were very lucky to be invited to afternoon tea, where Mum, my sister and I were served hot butter cake cut in thick rectangular slabs.
Not long after, my sister was given a piece of her school mate's birthday cake. She said it was called Schwartzwalder Kirsch Torte - Black Forest Cherry Cake. This type of cake was unknown in Australia at the time. Now it is a staple of any cafe cake selection. We loved it, and I requested it for my birthday that year. In fact it became the standard birthday cake in our home for the rest of my childhood. And of course, I made sure I learned how to cook it.
I was delighted recently when a good friend recently asked me to make a Black Forest Cherry Cake for her friend's birthday. I can make that cake with my eyes shut. She said she wanted the cake to be chocolate sponge, not chocolate cake. We were taught by the Germans to make a dense chocolate cake, but hey - I'm flexible! So chocolate sponge cake it was!
6 large eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup corn flour
3 tblsp fine cocoa powder
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease and line a 10 inch round cake tin.
2. Crack all the eggs into the bowl of your Kitchenaid and beat them with the whisk attachment on 10th gear until they are foamy.
3. Gradually add the sugar, then continue to beat for a further 10 minutes.
4. Sift the three flours and the cocoa together. Stir to combine then add to the egg mixture one third at a time, gently folding the dry ingredients through until they are fully combined. Take your time with this step - gently folding will produce a fluffier sponge.
5. Pour the sponge mix into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about one hour - or until the sponge springs back at the touch. If you are unsure if the sponge is cooked, insert a skewer through the middle. If it comes out clean the sponge is cooked.
6. Cool for five minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Filling & Assembly
200g high quality cooking chocolate
1.2L thickened cream
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp sugar
2x 400g tins pitted black cherries
60ml Kirsch (cherry liqueur)
16 fresh black cherries
1. Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave - about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn it! Try 30 second bursts then stirring until its ready.
2. Spread the chocolate along a sheet of baking paper that is about 15cm high and 1.2m long. Using a pen or the handle of a wooden spoon, carefully roll the paper up into a tube. Yes - the chocolate will be touching the paper as you roll. Trust me - this is a good trick.
3. Place in the fridge for an hour or until the chocolate is solid.
4. With the chocolate roll sitting on a tray, hold the leading edge of the paper and carefully unroll the chocolate. Shards will break into the tray as you go. Set chocolate shards aside.
5. Split the cake into three layers. Be very careful not to break the cake.
6. Pour all the cream into the bowl of your Kitchenaid. Add the vanilla and sugar and beat with the whisk attachment until the cream is whipped. Do not over mix or the cream will look buttery. I stop and check over and over as it approaches completion to make sure all the cream is whipped to the same consistency.
7. Drain all the cherries and retain the juice in a glass jug.
4. Add the Kirsch to the cherry juice.
8. Position the bottom layer of the sponge on a cake board or presentation plate. Spoon the cherry juice over the cake until it appears adequately soaked - about one third of the juice should do it.
9. Arrange half the cherries over the sponge and then cover them with about a quarter of the cream.
10. Place the second layer of sponge over the first and repeat the juice, cherry and cream steps.
11. Place the final layer of sponge over the second. Gently press down on the top to seal all the layers. Make sure the top is level.
12. Use a dinner knife to smooth any cream that bulges out around the sides. Continue to cover the sides with cream. Cover the top with cream, being careful to make a nice smooth top. Don't let any cake show through the cream.
13. Position chocolate curls around the sides of the cake. Arrange the fresh cherries on the top of the cake so that they are evenly spaced out around the edges. Pile any remaing chocolate flakes in the centre of the top of the cake.
14. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Makes 16-20 serves.