From the Bakery, Winter
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Black Forest Gâteau with Morello Cherries and Whisky. Happy New Year!

black forest cake anna pettigrew
It’s the last day of the year, and although it’s not New Year’s Day yet, I have U2’s song of the same title on repeat in my head.
It’s cold, it’s dark and it’s blustery. But the darkness only amplifies the need for a celebration, and highlights the reason that our modern Calender follows the old winter celebratory dates of ancient times.

I’m getting ready to have some dear friends over to see in the bells with a bonfire and spiced mulled cider. I’ll be serving up a retro spread of Fondue and Black Forrest Gâteau!

Are we entering 2014 or 1980 you ask!

Traditionally Kirsch is used in a Black Forest Gâteau, but I had none at hand, so Whisky went in instead…a yummy substitution by the way.

In any case, Happy New Year to you all!

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Black Forest Gateau
Serves 8-10

400g morello cherries, from a jar plus a little juice
375g sugar
2 eggs
500ml whipping cream
2 tsp almond extract
250g good dark chocolate
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g morello cherry jam
30g organic cocoa
200ml buttermilk
175g butter
100ml hot water
A pinch of salt
A handful of fresh cherries, for the top
4 tbsp Whisky

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Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease 3 x 20cm cake tins.

Start by mixing the dry ingredients, flour, cocoa, sugar, bicarbonate and salt in a large bowl.
Melt the butter with half the chocolate in a small pan over low heat, stirring continuously.

Add the buttermilk to the melted butter to cool it. Whisk the eggs briefly then add to the melted mixture, alongside the almond extract. Pop that into the dry ingredients and whisk. Next add the boiling water and whisk till smooth. (boiling water helps keep things smooth)

Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 20 min, then swap the tins bottom tin with the two higher up, to get an even bake. Bake for a further 5 min. Push a skewer in the centre of the cake,  checking that it comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tins for 10 min, then transfer onto a wire rack.

Prick the cakes all over with a fork, then pour a little cherry juice and 4 tbsp Whisky over the cakes. Leave the cakes to absorb the liquid for as long as you have got time for. Min 30 min. Ideally 1 hour.

Meanwhile mix together the drained cherries and cherry jam. And chop the chocolate.

Pop 200ml of the cream into a pan and heat until just below simmering point.  Put the chocolate into the cream, and stir until melted. Set aside until thick, this takes an hour.

When the cakes are cool whisk the remaining cream until whipped. Spread the cream over two of the cakes, then spoon over the jammy cherries. Stack the cakes together. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top tier, and decorate with extra fresh cherries.

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