Friday, 15 February 2008
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
6 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
175g caster sugar
140g dark chocolate, in pieces
1 tsp baking powder (optional)
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
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.
GU: "Die grosse Schule des Backens"
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...