12 April 2015

Baking With Spirit: Black Forest Gateau [Low Fat]

It's just as well that this cake is low fat, because I decided to serve it (i.e. try to get rid of most of it so I can't eat it all) at a Monopoly evening that I hosted for some friends this weekend. Not only was there cake, but there was cheese, guacamole (plus crackers) and beer. As always, the Monopoly game was just there as an excuse to get together, and I'll come clean with you all and admit that I cheated. I am not at all competitive, so while those who are competitive got tense and serious, I cared less and less about the game in hand. I freely admit that I stole from the community chest. Judge me as you see fit.

I've decided that frozen pitted cherries are my new best friend. Cherries are probably my favourite fruit, but are often very expensive to buy in abundance (usually £10/kg, approx £5 for 1lb) and are painstaking to pit by hand. Frozen cherries are comparatively cheap, and available year-round to boot. As an added bonus, because they can be bought pre-pitted, all the hard labour has been done for you. I should probably have found a way to get this post sponsored by frozen cherries (but, alas, I didn't have the forethought), because I am just so damn excited about them right now.

This Black Forest Gateau was inspired by one of the last Baking With Spirit Challenge entries. Siobhan from Tastyrecipesandotherstuff entered a Black Forest Gateau into the Fun challenge, and ever since I have had the desire to make something similar.

The Black Forest Gateau is made up of three layers of fatless chocolate sponge, whipped double cream and black cherries, then it is coated in a dark chocolate and rum ganache. It is light, chocolatey and delicious. The spreading of the ganache over the sides got a bit messy, but I liked how the cake stand then reflected this, so didn't try to clean up too much afterwards. I also like how the cream from the layers got swirled into the ganache towards the base. It just goes to show that the best results are not always planned!

I think we can also call this cake low fat, since the sponge doesn't contain butter of any description, and the cream is half fat. Hooray!

  • 6 Medium Eggs
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Cocoa Powder
  • 200mL Elmlea Double Light
  • 400g Frozen Pitted Dark Cherries (or fresh, if you prefer!)
  • 300g Dark Chocolate
  • 75mL Water
  • 75mL White Rum
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, and line three 9in cake tins with baking parchment, greasing the sides.
  • Take the cherries out of the freezer, and allow to defrost on the counter.
  • Separate the eggs.
  • Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar until a stiff peak forms when the whisk is pulled out.
  • Fold in the egg yolks and cocoa powder, making sure they are well combined.
  • Divide the mixture between the cake tin and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  • While the cakes bake, make the ganache: break the chocolate up in a bowl, and add the water and rum. Microwave for 40 seconds, stir and then repeat. The chocolate will not be fully melted at this stage, but the surrounding liquid should be hot enough to continue the melting. Stir occasionally, and allow to cool.
  • When everything is cool, whisk the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
  • Dot a bit of ganache on the dish you wish to display your cake on. 
  • Place one cake on top of the dot. Spread half of the cream over the top, followed by just under half of the cherries.
  • Repeat for the second cake layer using all but a few of the remaining cherries, then top with the third cake.
  • Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake, spreading it over the top after each spoonful (to avoid adding too much my accident). 
  • When the top of the cake is sufficiently covered and the ganache has started dripping down the sides, use a spatula to spread it over the sides of the cake (a cake turntable is invaluable here). 
  • Fill any gaps between the cake layers with the ganache, again using the spatula to smooth it into the side of the cake. You might spread the cream as you do this, but it's all part of the cool effect, so don't worry. If you get a buildup of ganache at the base of the cake, scrape it off and spread it over the sides as well.
  • Decorate with the remaining cherries.

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