The Wicked Black Forest
Is it too late in our relationship to declare that I’m not into chocolate? Should I have said that on the first date along with things weighing the same importance like “I have 10 children”… or “I have herpes” (just for argument sake… I totally don’t btw). Well, to me the thing with chocolate is that instead of being mystified with grand illusions like “indulgent”, “decadent”, “sinful”, “love~” (more?) “AMOoUUR~~” or whatever, it just tastes sort of… bitter to me.
So growing up, it was always strawberry milkshake and not chocolate. Chestnuts birthday cake and not chocolate. Oatmeal and raisins cookie and not chocolate chips. BUT (stop with the stoning)!! I do have a weird exception which is something mysteriously named – the black forest cake (woooh black forest~… is it the Fangorn forest~?)(Com’n, Lord of the Rings? Ents? ok…). I mean it’s weird. It doesn’t get more chocolate than this – chocolate cakes layered with chocolate ganache and covered with chocolate shavings – but it has something else that nudges it into a different territory in my brain, and that is the addition of cherries. It’s SO the WEIRDEST thing I’m telling you because I’m not into cherries EITHER! But I don’t know what is it with the two together that… works for me.
Well I said it works for me. I didn’t say it was the ONE CAKE THAT RULED THEM ALL~~ (Com’n! The greatest movie ever!!). So if I, the non-chocolate lover were to bake a chocolate cake at home, it has to be something stress-free. Something super easy. A recipe that balances the effort in the making with the outcome, and boy I found it! And it has outdone itself. More accurately, Martha did it (high-five! No? OK) in her Feb-issue of Living Magazine when she featured a cake batter that requires no machine/attachment/creaming/alternation of dry and wet ingredients or whatsoever, and guess what else? NOT THAT MUCH FAT EITHER! Did you know that this exist in this world?! So I’m doing this just for you guys, the chocolate lovers out there… I baked a chocolate cake.
After not-so-much effort, the beautiful cake came gloriously out of the oven. And you see, the apartment was sooo cold and I had to warm my hands against the warm chocolate cake… see? See what I have to do for you?
And I have to make this 2-minute microwave ganache to accompany the cake with tons of chocolate shavings done with a fruit peeler. All the stirring and shaving… so much chore…
And of course I didn’t have patience to wait for the cake to cool down completely before applying the ganache so it drooled and spilled… moving ever-so-slowly down the side of the cake dragging chocolate shavings with it… OOOh WHAT a MESS!…
Then I have to slice the cake and try to find a perfect shot for its mysteriously dark and moist interior, and so I got chocolate ganache over the board and my hands… and I have to lick ALL these WARM CHOCOLATE ganache on my fingers and my palms…. Look what I have to do for you? Ooooh, this blogger life is hard…
Servings: 8 generous servings
To streamline the recipe, I added the cherries into the batter instead of layering it after the cake is baked. I originally used 1 cup of frozen pitted cherries but I think it could use more, so I increased the amount to 1 1/2 cup in the recipe. The ganache is a 2-minutes microwave version out of my own test kitchen and frankly I don’t understand why people prefer the mega-effort double-boiler thing… You would be able to get a LOT more ganache onto the cake or EVEN cover the side of it if, unlike me, you have the patience to wait for the cake to completely cool down. I trust that you do.
Cake batter: adapted from Martha Stewart Living’s chocolate coconut sheet cake
57 g (4 tbsp) of unsalted butter (the original recipe calls for 3 tbsp of safflower oil which I didn’t have, so I used 4 tbsp of butter instead)
3/4 cup of strong brewed coffee
3/4 cup of buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of unsweetened coco powder
1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
3/4 tsp of baking powder
3/4 tsp of coarse salt
- 1 1/2 cup of frozen pitted cherry, roughly chopped
- Chocolate ganache: from my own test kitchen
- 100 g of milk chocolate chips
- 50 g of dark chocolate chips
- 1 tsp of coco powder
- 1 tbsp of heavy cream
- 2 tbsp of strong brewed coffee
- 1 tbsp of sweeten condensed milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp of unsalted butter
- Chocolate shaving:
- 50 g of milk chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate in chunk
Preheat the oven on 350ºF.
In a large bowl, combine butter and hot coffee. Stir until the butter has melted, then whisk in the buttermilk, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Sift coco powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt directly into the bowl. Fold the mixture until the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Add the chopped cherries and fold to combine. Viola!!! That. Is. It!
Line a cake pan with parchment paper (I’m using a 8″ round cake pan). Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the oven for 30 min. Then lower the temperature down to 325ºF for another 20 min, or until a cake tester comes out clean. If you are using a larger pan resulting in a shallower batter (a 9″ x 13″ pan is used in the magazine), this would even take less time (25 min as told in the magazine).
Make the ganache while the cake is baking. Combine chocolate chips, coco powder, heavy cream, coffee and sweeten condensed milk in a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave the mixture on high-heat for 20 seconds, then take the bowl out and stir to let the chocolate chips melt. Repeat until the chocolate has fully melted, approx 1:20 min (6 times). This will be quite a thick ganache. You can adjust the thickness by adding more cream or coffee at this point. Then add the unsalted butter, stir to let it melt into the ganache. The mixture will become very shiny.
Shave the chocolate chunk into tiny flakes using a vegetable peeler.
Let the cake cool down completely on a cooling rack. Smear the ganache on top (or on the side as well) and top it with the chocolate shavings.