Friday, 15 February 2008

A Heart for my Valentine... or two

Celebrating Valentine's Day is not considered a German tradition. In recent years, it seems to have caught on a bit but you probably won't see many of the last-minute, rose-buying, desperate-feeling boyfriends storming into a flower shop. Whilst I understand that many men think it ridiculous to buy completely overpriced stuff just because it's the 14th of February, I still think it's never too late to have a bit more romance in your life!

When I saw Zorra's announcement of A Heart for Your Valentine , I knew that I had to participate. With my boyfriend coming from the Black Forest Area, I also knew instantly what to make for him. The only problem, I didn't have any kirsch which is more or less the crucial ingredient for a proper Black Forest Cake. However, love is all about ignoring little imperfections, right..;-)

With only a cookie cutter in heart-shape, this black forest cake comes in very small portions but it's entirely up to you how many you'll eat...

Zorra is posting the round-up continuously in two parts, so check-out all the wonderful heart-shaped creations!

Black Forest Cake

The ingredients

6 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
175g caster sugar
90g butter
140g dark chocolate, in pieces
150g flour
1 tsp baking powder (optional)
vanilla (optional)

For assembly:
canned cherries (I like to use the juice, too, slightly thickened with cornstarch, and a hint of cinnamon)
whipped cream, sweetened to taste with vanilla sugar

kirsch for dousing the cake
chocolate shavings

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius (no fan-bake).

Melt the butter. Once the butter isn't bubbling anymore, add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and evenly combined. Let cool until lukewarm but still liquid.

Using a heatproof bowl resting on a hot water bath, beat egg yolks and sugar until pale, creamy and voluminous. This will take a couple of minutes.

Using another bowl and clean beaters, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form.

Sift the flower and baking powder (if using) onto the foamy egg yolks. Pour the chocolate-butter mixture on top. Do not mix at this stage.

Add one third of the meringue and stir in to lighten the batter. Lightly fold in the remaining meringue.

Pour into a baking pan (26 cm in diametre or a baking sheet) that's buttered only at the bottom. To be safe, use baking paper, too. Bake immediately. A round cake takes roughly 35 minutes, a sheet cake a bit shorter. The cake is done when the top feels springy. Don't overbake or the cake will dry out.

Once cooled, cut out little hearts and assemble or fill one large cake with cherries and cream.

The source
GU: "Die grosse Schule des Backens"

The hint
Some recipes specify that you can also add kirsch to the cream. If you want to really taste the kirsch that way, you'll have to add a lot and I recommend stabilizing the cream with gelatin. Many, many years ago, I added too much kirsch, the cream wouldn't become stiff, I kept beating and ended up with kirsch-flavoured butter...


Katie said...

They sound the perfect Valentines treat. I love the combo of cherries and chocolate

Meeta said...

Oh Eva this looks sinfully good. Especially with the cherries on top!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Eva, what a beautiful way of presenting the cake!

Joy the Baker said...

Those hearts look darling! And I love the photograph!

Deborah said...

Your photo is gorgeous! This looks like such a special treat!

Y said...

How cute, Eva! Blackforest cake used to be my favourite cake, when I was a kid.

We don't bother celebrating Valentine's Day, so I didn't get round to making anything heartshaped for Zorra's event.

It was cute and amusing to see all these uncomfortable looking guys milling around the florist at the train station on the evening of Feb 14th, trying to decide what to take home with them.. let's see... roses, or.. roses.

LyB said...

How cute! I love how you knew right away what to make for him! Me, I make something chocolate, that makes all my darlings happy ;) Beautiful photo, by the way!

Judy said...

I really like the idea of the small cakes. Those look so delicious I can taste them even as I look at them!

zorra said...

A sweet sin, indeed! I have the same problems to find good Kirsch, so import from Switzerland. As I love Kirsch I soak the cake for 24 hours with plenty of Kirsch, so you don't need to add Kirsch to the cream.

Thank you for your participation, I hope you had a happy Valentine's Day.

Nora B. said...

Looks so pretty! I am still thinking about how yummy the cake was when you turned it into a triffle, even with peaches instead of cherries. I will have to wait for your wedding to taste the "real thing". :-)

Thanks again for the lovely picnic last night. I slept in till about 11am!

x nora

Eva said...

Me too, Katie!

Thanks Meeta! It was a little tricky keeping them there...

Thank you, Patricia!

Glad to hear that, Joy and Deborah, I took plenty of photos but that was the only one I liked.

Y - black forest is such a great celebration cake - afterwards I always tell myself to make it more often...

Lyb - That was an easy one for me as he periodically starts requesting this particular cake..;-)

Judy - I like them, too, however first I tried to stack them to form little tower. That didn't work out so well...

Hi Zorra - That sounds like a better idea. I like my cake to be very booozy..;-)

Half Baked said...

What a nice Valentine suprise! They look so good:)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

One of my favorite cakes! Very lovely!



Tartelette said...

Now that's a sweet sin in a few bites! I love how cute they turned out and fresh whipped cream always makes me weak in the knees! Hope you enjoyed the day!

Aparna said...

Kirsch is not available here and my husband and daughter love Black Forest Cake. Now I have a recipe I can try at home. Thanks.

Peabody said...

Absolutely gorgeous...and tasty too. I love black forest cake.

Kate / Kajal said...

Hey i've never seen bite sized black forest. Really sweet ! i'm sure your boyfriend adored these .

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, yes, chocolate and cherries are the quintessential Valentine's combo. I'll have to remember these lovely hearts for next year.

Eva said...

Thanks halfbaked - although they weren't that much of a surprise, I had to make the sponge one day ahead..;-)

Mine, too, Rosa!

I did indeed, Tartelette!

Aparna, I've always thought that dark rum would be a good substitute even if it has a different flavour.

Thank you, Peabody!

He did, Kate, and quickly asked for more..;-)

Do so, Susan! I'm sure you won't regret it!

Katy said...

that looks so adorable! i think that would be an excellent special dessert anytime, not just valentine's day!

Nora B. said...

It's 23 February now so...


Talk to you later,

xx nora

Eva said...

Thank you, Katy!

Nora, you're so kind! Thanks for the lovely lunch and the wonderful cake! I actually thought about taking a photo but T. had already eaten off some of the decoration..;-) We both enjoyed it very much (for breakfast!) and I'll have a little bit saved for later! Speak to you soon!

Aparna said...

Eva, I finally made the Black Forest Cake based on your recipe. No Kirsch or rum.
It turned out great and we loved it. The post is up on my blog.

Betty said...

these are so cute - and i love black forest cakes!