Dark chocolate + sour cherry cake
My long-term man-friend (a.k.a Ampersand) has a great affinity for Black Forest cakes. Given that I (as the resident baker) have German heritage, you might expect that cakes of this kind would be a staple in our house. You would be wrong.
In fact, I take a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to Black Forest cakes and cakes of its kind. I think that this stance can largely be attributed to childhood memories of German folk dancing at various festivals (tightly braided hair, itchy dirndls, dire concerns that I would contract boy germs). The remaining blame can be squarely placed on the following:
- overly generous lashings of mock cream;
- heavy handed soakings of cheap brandy; and
- insubstantial packet-cake like sponges.
However, to save my relationship, I have had to make some concessions to Ampersand’s Black Forest guzzling ways. And so I created this Dark Chocolate and Sour Cherry cake. It pairs bags of cherry flavour with a decadent chocolate mousse and ganache. To coin a phrase, this allows Ampersand to have his cake and eat it too.
Makes 3 x 6 inch cakes. Serves 8 to 10 people.
Sour cherry compote
450 grams of frozen pitted cherries
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
Juice of one lemon
Dark chocolate and sour cherry cake
255 grams of plain flour
50 grams of dutch cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
115 grams of unsalted butter (softened)
300 grams of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
180 millilitres of pureed sour cherry compote
180 millilitres of buttermilk
115 grams of dark chocolate (melted and cooled)
50 grams of dark chocolate (melted and cooled)
400 grams of thickened cream
Dark chocolate ganache
75 grams of dark chocolate
75 grams of cream
A handful of fresh cherries
A handful of freeze-dried cherries
Gold lustre powder
Make the sour cherry compote
- Combine the frozen cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and cook them over a medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, ensuring to stir occasionally.
- Remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Take approximately half of the sour cherry compote and puree in a food processor or blender for use in the cake.
Make the dark chocolate and sour cherry cake
- Preheat your oven to 180C
- Grease three 6 inch cake tins and line with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, dutch cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
- Add the caster sugar to the butter and cream for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the vanilla bean paste and eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until combined.
- Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk, pureed cherry compote and dark chocolate until combined
- Evenly divide the cake batter between the three prepared cake tins.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out of the centre of the cakes clean. Set aside to cool.
Make the chocolate mousse
- In a bowl of a stand mixed fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until medium to stiff peaks.
- Fold a small amount of the cream into the melted and cooled chocolate.
- Fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining whipped cream.
Make the dark chocolate ganache
- Place the dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan until almost boiling.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 30 seconds.
- Mix the chocolate and cream together, ensuring there are no lumps.
Assemble the dark chocolate + sour cherry cake
- Once the cakes are completely cooled, level them to ensure that the tops of the cakes are flat.
- Using a small amount of chocolate mousse, affix one cake to a cake board or plate.
- Spread one half of the remaining sour cherry compote on the first layer of cake and follow with one third of the chocolate mousse. Repeat with the second layer of the cake.
- Spread the remaining chocolate mousse of the top of the cake and pile the fresh and freeze-dried cherries in the middle.
- Ensure that the ganache is at 30C and drizzle over the top of the cherries.
- If desired, add gold lustre powder to the cherries.