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Mum's black forest cherry cake - Sat, 1st Nov 2008
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Serious chocolate, lots of grog and tonnes of cream: this one's going to leave a mark on your waist line, but don't let that stop you. My Mum's recipe originally, I"ve left it pretty much the same as she did it. OK, maybe I added a bit more booze!

You can make this a day or two in advance and just leave it in the fridge, so although spectacular, it's fairly stress-free in terms of "on the night" preparation. Try not to transport it though, as it's only held together by whipped cream, so it can collapse as you go around the sharp corners!

  Cakes: Syrup:
  1 tbsp butter 100 gm sugar
  50 gm plain flour 200 ml water
  5 eggs 150 ml Kirsch
  2.5ml vanilla essence  
  150 gm sugar Filling:
  50 gm cocoa 0.75 L whipping (Full fat - 35%) cream
  125 gm melted butter 50 gm icing sugar
    1 jar morello cherries. Drained, rinsed, dried and sprinkled with lemon juice.
  250 gm dark chocolate (I use a mixture of about 50/50 Lindt 85% cocoa and Cadbury dark cooking chocolate - the latter makes it easier to work.)
  Cherries (if in season)  

Grease 3 17.5cm round cake tins with tbsp butter, and dust the insides with flour to stop the cakes from sticking (I normally line the bases with baking paper, too, but that's optional). Preheat the oven to about 165C fan forced. Beat eggs, vanilla and sugar until thick an dfluffy. Sift flour and coca into mixture a little at a time and fold in gently. Pour in melted butter a tbsp at a time and fold in gently, making sure to avoid it pooling at the bottom of the bowl. Pour mixture into cake tins and bake for 12-15 mins (I normally do a little longer than this, but ovens vary a lot, so check after 15 and see how it looks). When cooked, remove from oven and leave to cool for 10mins before turning out onto wire racks. (It's worth running a knife around the edges as soon as they come out of the oven, as they'll contract as they cool and this will help stop them from tearing as they do so.)

While cakes are cooling, make syrup. Stir sugar and water in a small saucepan over moderate heat. When sugar is dissolved, raise heat and boil briskly for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool, then add Kirsch. While cooling, prick the top of the cakes with a fork (all over, so they look like a golf green after it's been aerated). Slowly pour syrup over the cakes, and leave to soak in for a few hours. It's important to support the cakes carefully during this step, as otherwise the edges may break. If they do, don't panic - you can patch up with cream later on.

Pick out the best looking cherries to decorate the top of the cake, and do a practise layout on a plate. Split up the remaining cherries into two groups, one for each middle layer of the cake.

Whip cream until slightly thick, sift in icing sugar and beat until fairly stiff. On your serving platter (you won't be able to move it once it's done), place one cake, top with a layer of cream and some cherries. Layer another cake on top, same again, then the final cake on top. Cover the cake entirely with whipped cream (including the sides), then top with the remaining cherries that you'd set aside, or fresh ones if they're in season.

To make the chocolate curls and wedges, melt the chocolate(s) over a gentle heat, then pour out onto a large plate or platter. Refridgerate until solid. Remove and allow to come to room temperature. With a sharp knife, firmly shave off curls. If the shavings don't curl or are too thin, don't worry, the chocolate will become more workable as it warms up. Top the cake with the curls, also covering the sides. As you near the bottom of the chocolate plate, you'll start to produce wedges as the chocolate becomes too thin and fragments. Use these on the top of the cake for a more dramatic presentation. Refridgerate until serving. Will comfortably serve 12, and strech to 14.

25th Apr 2018

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