Black Forest Cake: A CCC post

Black Forest Cake: Childhood Sweethearts

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

This post comes a couple of months late, but by heck have I been busy! Another post will explain all…

For my most recent Clandestine Cake Club meet up the theme was ‘Childhood Sweethearts’ which made me instantly think- “Blackforest Gateaux!”

I think I’ve said this on previous posts but basically my favourite cake is ‘Blackforest’ as it is the cake I always remember from childhood birthday parties. Back then it was the Sara-Lee frozen kind and more recently, home baked creations by my mum. It’s something about the way the sour cherries cut through the sweetness of the cake and the whipped cream balances out the bitterness of the dark chocolate… or am I over-thinking this? 😀

It’s not the first time I’ve made this recipe, in fact I made mini versions for a Christmas afternoon tea (not Christmas themed, but it took place on Boxing Day!). Despite making up the recipe as I went along at Christmas, the turned out quite well. This time, it wasn’t so! After a couple of attempts at the chocolate sponge, I ended up with something passable but not my best baking to date. What can I say? For me, baking under pressure does not result in a tasty cake!

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients:

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml milk
  • grated chocolate to decorate
  • 1 can or jar of cherries (use fresh pitted cherries if in season), saving some for decorating
  • 3 tbs sour cherry jam
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 750ml double cream
  • 1 tbs icing sugar

Method:

  • Butter a 20cm round cake tin and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3.
  • Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat.
  • While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml milk
  • Pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the cake is baking, warm through 3 tbs cherry jam in a saucepan and add the whole cherries. Stir in 1 tbs cornflour to help thicken the mixture, ensuring there are no lumps of flour remaining. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Whip the double cream with 1tbs icing sugar until soft peaks form.

To build the final cake:

  • When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into two or three layers depending on how much it has risen and how confident you are that it won’t fall apart!
  • Using just under a third of the whipped cream, evenly cover the bottom layer of sponge then add a third of the cherry jam filling
  • Top this layer with another layer of cake and repeat the previous step. Do this again if you have a three layer cake, ensuring you have enough cream and cherry filling for each layer.
  • Decorate the top with piped cream and grated chocolate. Decorate the cake with the saved cherries as you see fit. I took inspiration from Sara-Lee’s classic frozen Black-forest Gateau for mine!
Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

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Afghan Cream Rolls

Afghan Cream Rolls

Afghan Cream Rolls

Afghan Cream Rolls with Cherry

Update: Afghan Cream Rolls with Cherry

This recipe is courtesy of Amalkitchen.com who posts the most amazing recipes via videos on YouTube. Her food always looks amazing and really inspires me to try new things. So When I saw this post for the Afghan Cream Rolls I decided to head down to the supermarket to buy the basic ingredients needed; puff pastry and double cream!

We had an Afghan guest visiting over the weekend and I wanted to make a dessert that would be easy but bring the flavours from home. This recipe is similar to ‘cream horns’, fairly straight forward, although a little fiddly!

Check out the video to see how simple this recipe is to make. The basic ingredients are; ready rolled puff pastry, icing sugar, ground cardamom, whipping cream.

Puff Pastry Rolls

Puff Pastry Rolls using make shift foil ‘cones’

The tricky bit of this recipe is using the aluminium foil ‘cones’ to shapes the pastry rolls. As you need to wrap thin pieces of pastry around the cones, and I had made the mistake of flouring the work surface to roll out the pastry a little thinner. This meant that the pastry did not stick to itself well and began to unravel! I also found it a little difficult to get the foil out of the cooked pastry without crushing the delicate cones… 😦

Pastry Rolls

Pastry Rolls

Once the rolls are cooled and the cardamom cream is piped in, the cones hold well. They should be filled just before eating to avoid soggy pastry, but they’ll still be fine after a couple of hours.

Afghan Cream Rolls

Afghan Cream Rolls

One packet of pastry makes quite a few rolls. I’d forgotten to sprinkle icing sugar on mine but I like that they weren’t very sweet! This is a simple dessert to make for when guests come around. Serve as a snack with a cup of tea..

Update

Afghan Cream Rolls with Sour Cherry

Afghan Cream Rolls with Sour Cherry

I tried this recipe again but added some sour cherry jam to the filling, yum! 🙂

Basically follow the recipe as above but use a teaspoon of sour cherry jam inside the cones before piping in the cream. With this addition in mind, there are no end of extra fillings to try! Enjoy… 😀

 

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Cream of Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

When making Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese Bake as a side dish for my ‘Toad in the Hole’ I looked at the big pile of left over cauliflower leaves, tough broccoli stalks and thought to myself- “what a waste, surely these can be used and not binned?!”

I don’t usually buy or eat cauliflower, so wasn’t sure if the leaves were edible. A quick internet search later I found that they are an excellent source of Vitamin C! Who knew?… So there are several idea for recipes, one being making cauliflower leaf ‘crisps’ similar to the fashionable ‘kale crisps’, another is to use it like cabbage leaves. I decided to make a soup from the left overs as it is currently grey and miserable outside, so comfort food is necessary!

Cauliflower Leaves and Broccoli Stems

Cauliflower Leaves and Broccoli Stems

This soup is made of left overs, from the vegetables to the cream! I often have left over vegetables in the fridge that end up chopped, bagged, then frozen so it doesn’t go to waste. Currently in the fridge I have celery (another veg I don’t usually cook or eat so had plenty left from a previous recipe) and peeled cloves of garlic. The garlic was on offer for £1 for about 8 from market but we obviously couldn’t get through them fast enough so I spent an hour peeling them and stored them whole in a tub in the freezer. They are great for using in curries and stews! The cream to enrich the soup was left over from making Caramel Profiteroles for Mother’s Day as I had bought 2 tubs of cream, just in case, but luckily didn’t need the second one…

Cauliflower Broccoli Soup

Cauliflower Broccoli Soup

So here’s the recipe, no proper measurements I’m afraid as I was making it up as I went along…

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower leaves and stem from one head of cauliflower- roughly chopped
  • Broccoli stems and any other left overs bits
  • Handful of chopped celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Cream as much as you like
  • Cheese whichever you have in the fridge
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • In a saucepan sauté all the vegetables together for about 10 minutes until tender
  • Blitz in a blender until smooth
  • Return soup into the saucepan. Add cheese, cream and salt and pepper to taste

I decided to serve with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and a pumpkin seeds to add crunch. Not bad for using up vegetables that would have ended up in the bin or compost heap!

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

 

 

Caramel Profiteroles: A stab at French patisserie

Caramel Profiteroles

Caramel Profiteroles: My attempt at recreating 

 

On a recent break to Nice in the south of France, I had the most delicious profiterole dessert from a local patisserie that was open until 10pm! Imagine if such an amazing thing existed in my home town?! I’d never have an emergency dessert baking moment again… Oh to dream!

So while in France, it’s obligatory to eat as much from the local patisseries as possible,from breakfast croissants to afternoon treats after a long day of sightseeing. Well that’s what I think anyway!

Caramel Profiteroles from Nice, France

This is a photo of the Caramel Profiteroles I had in Nice, France- doesn’t it look so perfect and delicious?

So as you can see this dessert was amazing and I haven’t seen it available anywhere since. The choux pastry was crisp and the creme patissiere not too sweet. The burnt caramel offset the cream perfectly and I was so sad to eat the last mouthful! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to go back and get another one as we left the next morning. So I have recreated it in my own kitchen as part of the Mother’s Day lunch for my family!

Caramel Profiteroles

Caramel Profiteroles

 

I have to admit that I don’t have a recipe to share as I kind of made it up as I went along, starting from a basic choux pastry mix and filling the profiteroles with creme patissiere. But here is a similar one if you want to give it a go yourself!

When working with the caramel, be very careful as I managed to burn my middle finger and a thumb on the burning hot sugar! Blisters alert! 😦

With only a photo of the original dessert on my phone to go by, I made a stab at reconstructing the dessert to look the same. The base is a disk of choux pastry that I had to squash down as it puffed up then I used some of the caramel to ‘glue’ three creme patissiere filled profiteroles onto the base. I decided that easiest way to do the profiteroles was to fill them first that dip them into the caramel, hence the burning of fingers as they were heavy and kept falling in! I topped the freshly whipped cream with some flaked almonds that I toasted then ground.

Caramel Profiteroles

Caramel Profiteroles- home made

 

I think I managed to capture the general essence of the dessert, not as neat I wanted but it was OK for a first attempt. Unfortunately I was pressed for time so was unable to take step-by-step photos. Maybe I’ll attempt this again and take photos next time! 🙂

 

 

Profiteroles: Ferrero Rocher inspired

Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles

Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles

This is round two of the profiteroles adventure after the success of yesterday’s mid week dessert of profiteroles I wanted to try a new flavour.

Rooting around the cupboards I found a jar of Nutella and thought about my favourite chocolates- Ferrero Rocher!

Just by combining a couple of table spoons of the naughty hazelnut chocolate spread with the whipped cream and toasting a handful of hazelnuts, the standard profiterole was transformed into a double chocolate heavenly dessert…

Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles

Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles: mid week treat after a difficult day…

 

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles

Today was a difficult day at work. Meetings back to back and all were pretty hard going! The thing I enjoy about my job is the variety that the day can bring. However it can sometimes be a little difficult to switch off and go home…

By the time I left the office at 7pm the only thought getting me through the traffic jam was the thought of the big pile of profiteroles that I could treat myself too. I think they refer to people like me as ’emotional eaters’! 🙂

Luckily I had these choux balls in the freezer from the Black Sesame Mousse Cake and the chocolate ganache left over from the Ultimate Chocolate Cake made a few days ago. The pistachios were toasted and crushed for a previous cake too! The only addition was some fresh whipped double cream with a touch of icing sugar to sweeten it up.

 

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles

I reheated the choux pastry straight from frozen in the oven for five minutes then left out to cool on a rack. With the oven turned off I put the bowl of ganache in the cooling oven melt down into a sauce. Whipped cream was then piped into the balls of crisp pastry before drizzling with the ganache then sprinkled with nuts. All in all this took 10 minutes to put together and 3 minutes to eat!

And if this wasn’t the perfect end to a challenging day, there is still enough of all the ingredients to have another round of profiteroles tomorrow night! 🙂

Not bad for using up left overs…