Birthdays are a big deal in our house and this Blackforest Chocolate Birthday Cake went down particularly well at my eldest daughter’s Birthday party.
Even though my kids are all grown up, when it comes to birthdays, they wouldn’t want to miss out on a family celebration and that means a great cake! The inspiration for this one started with those adorable little toad stall candles. I knew instantly that I had to get them as my daughter’s still in love with fairy tales even at the grand old age of 26.
The next thing I knew it had to have was cherries, always her favourite and such a gorgeous treat in the middle of winter. A January birthday can be bit of an anti-climax coming so soon after Christmas so it’s nice to make it special and it’s a great excuse to brighten up a dark winter’s night.
When it comes to the recipe, there are some healthy options you can take keeping those New Year resolutions in mind, but sometimes there’s no substitute for the real thing. I always think it’s better to push the boat out on special occasions and get it out of your system, there’s plenty of room for discipline on all the other days in between. Have a good slice of cake and enjoy it, cut it up and share it and then give everyone a slice to take home!
- Cake ingredients:
- Use the following ingredients to make one layer of the cake at a time in a 26 cm cake tin.
- 1⅓ cups plain yoghurt
- 2 cups self raising flour
- 1 cup ground almonds
- ½ cup organic cocoa powder
- 1½ cups golden caster sugar (or honey if preferred)
- 2 eggs
- 1⅓ cups light olive oil
- (this quantity is for the filling and the topping)
- ½ pot of good quality black cherry jam (homemade if possible)
- 2 x 100g bars of dark 80% chocolate
- 300ml pot of double cream
- 30ml fruity liqueur ( I used some of my delicious homemade amaretto! )
- Fresh cherries to decorate the top.
- This is a very easy cake to whip up, but to make this big birthday beauty you do have to do it twice! If you only want to make a cake of more modest proportions just measure out the ingredients above once and divide it between two 20cm sandwich tins.
- First whisk the eggs together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the sugar, oil and yoghurt and whisk together into a light frothy mixture.
- Sift in the flour, ground almonds and cocoa powder, gently folding it into the mixture without losing too much of the air.
- Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven at gas mark 5 for 25 mins.
- The cake is ready when it's springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin before decorating.
- Place the lower half of the cake on the stand you will be serving it from, and spread half of the jam on each side.
- You need to make the filling and the topping in two batches, so that it doesn't harden too quickly, making it difficult to assemble the cake.
- To make the ganache, chop or grate the chocolate (one bar at a time) into very small pieces or blitz in a food processor.
- Gently heat the cream (half a pot at a time) in a small pan but don't allow it to boil and then pour it over the chocolate, allow it to stand for a few minutes while all the chocolate melts and then stir in the liqueur (allow it to cool until it thickens a little)
- Spread the first batch of ganache on the lower half of the cake and carefully place the second half on top (remember if it cracks, chocolate ganache can glue and hide a multitude of sins!)
- Make up the second batch of ganache and drizzle it on the top of the cake (if it's too runny, let it cool a little until it starts to thicken and if it gets too thick just stir in a little hot water from the kettle to loosen it up)
- Once the topping has cooled sufficiently decorate the top with the cherries.