Thursday, July 6, 2017

Black Forest Cake

I capped off my Independence Day meal with this beautiful Black Forest cake. Let's see how I made it.

I made the cake layers from a recipe out of King Arthur Flour's whole wheat cookbook---more on that in a minute. The cake is a genoise, a technique that predates modern double-acting baking powder. The cake is fluffified by mechanical whipping, not chemical reactions. This bowl holds seven eggs, three egg whites, vanilla, salt, and sugar. I whipped it, or more precisely my KitchenAid mixed it, for about 6 minutes. This technique also predates the electric mixer; can you imagine doing this by hand?

The next step is to fold in the flour, doing so carefully to minimize the deflation of the egg mixture. The flour is almost entirely whole wheat. King Arthur rightly points out that whole wheat makes a great complement to chocolate.

Next comes the melted butter. At least as much care is required here to avoid damaging the egg foam.

The three layers wentinto the oven to bake.

Once the layers have cooled, I assembled the cake. First, I soaked each layer in a simple syrup of sugar dissolved in water. Each layer then received a topping of whipped cream followed by a coating of cherry preserves. These are fresh cherries that I pitted myself, then prepared with a little sugar and tapioca powder to thicken.

If I had been more industrious, I would have piped some decorations using whipped cream. Nonetheless, the cake was successful on several fronts. I think that fresh cherries improve the result. Canned cherries are softer and don't give the snap of the fresh ones. The old fashioned genoise is denser than a modern cake would be which gives the impression of intensifying the eating experience. I used King Arthur's triple blend cocoa in the layers which I think added depth of flavor. The cake was a rich, complex ending to a wonderful family day.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made it possible. Men and women of all colors and creeds fought, bled, and died over many years to create this peaceful country. I offer my grateful thanks for this bounty of freedom.

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