Summers in the black forest: a layer cake

Black forest cake reminds me of a ton of things. Most specifically, season 9 of MasterChef when Emily, who in my eyes was the strongest cook there, got sent home over one. Truthfully, seeing her go out on one is a general reason why I stay away from them. Seeing somebody who I personally would be intimidated to go head to head with being sent home over a cake, it hit a very real place for me. That being said, I like to face my fears. Plus, I have a pretty good record with chocolate cake, so I figured, why not? So for my version, I did not have any whipped cream when I was making this for my parents’ family friend’s dinner party(yeah, I tend to cook for that general audience a lot), so I actually improvised with what I actually did have in my pantry. I had gelatin, eggs, milk, and cream cheese. And from that, I knew I could make a creamy mousse component instead. So for the cake, we have a chocolate chiffon cake, blood orange-cherry compote, a vanilla cheesecake Bavarian, tempered chocolate shards, and elderflower-blood orange glazed cherries. While I knew that the cream cheese was not traditional, cheese and stone fruit work, so that’s my argument for doing this. The blood orange just helps with tying together the fruit and chocolate that much more, and to give a summery feel to it.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

For the chiffon cake:
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 egg whites
2 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons canola oil

Whip egg whites, baking powder, salt, and half of your granulated sugar together until it forms stiff peaks. Whip the rest of your sugar with cocoa powder, milk, canola oil, salt, and vanilla until stiff and fluffy. Sift flour. Fold everything together and spread on a lined sheet tray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. Cool down completely before removing from the tray. Cut two 6 inch rounds and reserve the rest for the bottom layer.

For the blood orange-cherry compote:
1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and diced
juice and zest from 2 blood oranges
a pinch of salt

Reduce down until the cherries are completely tender and softened and the liquid is next to nonexistent. Stir occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom of your pot or pan. Cool down before using to assemble.

For the cheesecake Bavarian cream:
8 oz cream cheese
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet gelatin powder + 3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine egg yolks, flour, sugar, and salt. Melt gelatin into milk. Temper together and whisk over medium-high heat until thickened. Pass through a sieve and allow the mixture to cool slightly before pouring into the cream cheese. Whip together until smooth and chill down before it is time to assemble, reserving some for a piping bag attached with a star tip for the top decoration.

For the tempered chocolate chards:
1/2 cup dark chocolate
a pinch of salt

Heat up (all but 2 tablespoons of your) chocolate to 100 degrees F. Take off heat and stir in the rest of your chocolate and bring down to about 75 degrees F. Pour onto either parchment or acetate and refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, or until set.

For the blood orange-elderflower glaze:
juice from 4 blood oranges
1 tablespoon elderflower liquor
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cook to a simmer to remove the alcohol content. Cool down. Toss your cherries in the glaze. Reserve the rest to soak the cake with.

For assembly:
Line a 6 inch ring mold with parchment or acetate. Start with the remnant pieces of your cake. Drizzle on the glaze, then half the compote, then the cheesecake mixture. Repeat with the following layer and with the top layer, finish with the glaze and a thin layer of the cheesecake mixture. Allow to set for at least 2 hours before unmolding. Once unmolded, garnish the sides with the chocolate shards and the top with pipings of the remaining cheesecake mixture. Top with sliced pitted bing cherries that were tossed in your glaze to finish.

To garnish:
Bing cherries, pitted and sliced

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s