June 5, 2009

A Cheery Cherry Chocolate Cake Affair.

It looks as though my Tomato Relish has been delayed yet again. The recipe will be on my next post. Promise! And the reason for the delay is because a lovely lady from across the oceans on the other side of the world has seen fit to present me with an award. Yes, you heard me right. An award. A Sisterhood award to be precise. Golly, I have always wanted a sister. Looks like I have one now and her name is Debora from Love and a Licked Spoon .

Debora began her very entertaining, witty and delicious blog on March 11th of this year and yours truly began her blog exactly three days later. The stars must have been aligned in the universe to bring us together and to this day we maintain a connection. It is this very connection that drives me to keep posting and putting my best effort out there and then looking forward to answering a question, hearing words of affirmation or knowing that I made someone smile for a moment.

I also like the idea of having a collection of stories and recipes. Most of this blogging business began because my daughter left the "nest" and I felt it would be a nice way for her to feel not so far from home. The best part is that I have met some really nice people who are happy to openly share their lives; past, present and future. So from thinking this blog would be all about food, it has become so much more. I look forward to my "connections" with familiar friends, newest friends, unknown friends just around the corner and of course my new sister.

So if I understand correctly, it is now my turn to send the Sisterhood Award on to recipients that I feel deserve to be recognised. To quote Debora "The Sisterhood Award is given to bloggers by bloggers in recognition of attitude and or gratitude".

I haven't been blogging for that long and I haven't done as much networking as I should have either. However I would like to hand this award to the three people I have acknowledged below. Do yourselves a favour and check them out.

SISTERHOOD AWARD goes to........

1. Kylie from Stampin' up card ideas. She was my first follower and I was very excited to see that someone felt me worthy enough to "follow". Apart from this, Kylie is one very creative lass and she is pursuing her passion by conducting workshops and selling products. I really admire her courage to put herself out there. I personally know her and she is one bubbly, gorgeous, enthusiastic young lady.

2. Linda from Linda at Bellavista. Another fellow Aussie who is so enthusiastic I sometimes get exhausted just reading about her day. I cannot believe how much one person can do in a day! I feel like I have accomplished heaps making one batch of jam, while Linda has made two batches, baked bread, done the gardening and then attacks the dinner. She also leaves me feeling very validated and appreciated with her funny and warm comments.

3. Mary from One Perfect Bite. This lady is amazing. The recipe posts she keeps churning out day after day are extraordinary. And they are all beautiful offerings attached to heartwarming stories that can't help but make me smile. Her recent blueberry recipe marathon left me reeling and squealing with delight. She sounds like a wonderful lady and the blogging world is so much better for having her in it.

Fellow recipients, apparently there are rules to follow with this award so please pay attention as I pass you over to Debora again. "Put the logo on your blog or post. And it's your turn to nominate up to 10 blogs. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post and let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog, or sending them an email. Remember to link to the person from whom you have received your award". Thanks Debora; sis; and for a truly wonderful read I highly recommend you all visit Love and a Licked Spoon.

Well, now that all the awards have been handed out, let's celebrate. If there is one food that spells out celebration to me, it has to be cherries. When I think of Christmas and I look at our gorgeous Christmas table spilling over with all kinds of fabulous offerings, it is the cherries that stand out. There is something so luxurious and alluring about them.

For past Melbourne Cup lunches I have always made a Black Forest Chocolate Cake, allowing it to soak for days so that when it made its piece de resistance entrance everyone would literally groan at the aroma and sight of this chocolate and cherry extravaganza.

Well, I haven't made one. Nor do I have beautiful, fresh, red cherries. It's just not the season. Sorry. But, I have done the next best thing. With limited time I have replicated something that I do in one of my cooking classes. The class is only three hours and dessert is only one of five recipes on the menu. So it's a challenge, but it is doable. What I love about this is you can create your own version and put it together how ever you fancy. The cake is very easy, no beaters required. If you need to cool down the boiled mixture simply sit over iced water and change a couple of times. This is my authentic recipe and the cake is light and moist making it ideal to receive all the extras. On with the rewards.......

Chocolate Cake.
200gm caster sugar
2tbsp cocoa powder
100ml light olive oil
1/2tsp bicarb of soda
1tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
150gm sifted self raising flour
one 425gm can pitted black cherries, drained

Cherry Syrup
reserved liquid from the canned cherries
1tsp cornflour
1tbsp kirsch liqueur
1tsp icing sugar

Chocolate Sauce
100ml dark cooking chocolate
300ml thickened cream
1tbsp kirsch liqueur
1tbsp icing sugar

extra whipped cream
vanilla ice cream to serve
mint leaves for garnish

Whisk the cocoa powder with 185mls hot water; place in pan with sugar; heat stirring till the sugar has dissolved. Boil for about 1 minute; add bicarb of soda; remove from heat when liquid begins to froth. Put mixture into a large mixing bowl; whisk in the olive oil; set aside to cool.

The cooling mixture will develop a skin over time and that is quite normal. You can clearly see the skin in the photo and the vanilla extract when added has not been able to penetrate it. Using a whisk beat in the extract; followed by the well beaten eggs. Finally add the flour; mix well till thoroughly incorporated. All this can be done with a balloon whisk, large spoon or spatula. Pour the batter into a greased and lined tin; bake in oven for about 30 or 40 mins. Take out; place on rack for a couple of minutes before turning out; cover; set aside while you prepare other parts of the dessert.

Place the reserved cherry liquid in a small saucepan; bring to gentle boil; simmer till liquid has reduced by half. Remove the syrup; mix the cornflour, icing sugar and kirsch till it is smooth with no lumps; add to the syrup; allow to boil and thicken; remove; set aside to cool.

The cherry sauce should be just thick enough so that it coats a spoon without being runny. It is fun to decorate the plate making saucy patterns.

To make the chocolate sauce simply place all four ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl; place over a pan of simmering water; remove when chocolate has completely melted. Pour into a jug or glass and refrigerate. If you left this in the fridge overnight it will be very thick and gooey. Simply heat a little in microwave to make it slightly runnier or remove from fridge an hour before needed. Warning: this chocolate sauce is very addictive.

This is how I assembled our dessert;

Cut a piece of cake.
Split cake in half.
Place bottom half of cake onto a serving plate.
Sprinkle with some extra kirsch liqueur if desired.
Spread generously with freshly whipped cream.
Top with black cherries.
Place top half of cake over this.

Take some of the cherry syrup and brush generously over the top of the cake. Take another tablespoon and create a nice swirly pattern onto the plate to decorate it.

Carefully take a nice rounded scoop of vanilla ice cream and place on top of the cake; press a little to help secure it from sliding. Take another spoon and carefully drizzle some thick chocolate sauce over the ice cream and over the cake as well. I garnished with a small sprig of jasmine; but some mint would be ideal.

Take a moment to admire your culinary creation.

How long do I have to wait?

I couldn't help myself. Hope you don't mind.

Oh bliss.

All good things must come to an end.

After all that work, all that awarding and all that devouring, I am well and truly ready for a lie down. I hope you all enjoy making your own cherry chocolate creations and from me for now it's cherryio. I mean cheerio. I mean cheers!

Chow for now.


  1. What a wonderful award to be given I am so chuffed!!! Sisterhood award is going right on our mantle piece at home. lol.

    I love the photo's as usual with this blog and I am DEFINATELY trying this one. I think there will be a clean plate here too.

    Bruno STILL has cravings for your scones and gets very sad when I tell him that there is no cream in the house. You just can't have scones without the cream.

    Keep up the inspiring blog!!!

  2. Oh, you. I'm so touched by your post. I really believe that food is more than just dinner, it's a way of connecting people, it forms bonds, creates friendships and builds happy, delicious memories. With the internet, we can share our recipes and much more with a wider audience and that is a truly wonderful thing. I love to drop by and see what you're up to. We've never met and yet I do feel a sisterhood, with my fellow cook across the ocean, who writes so beautifully and generously about her family and farm, and serves up heaping plates of happiness like today's chocolate cherry extravaganza.

    Aren't we having fun?

    WIth love from your new sister in spoons...


  3. Oh, my. This is a surprise. First, congratulations on receiving the award. You have a lovely blog and deserve it and more. Second, your dessert looks scrumptious and your pictures just keep getting better and better. Third, I'm pleased, honored and embarrassed by your, too, kind words. I so appreciate your thinking of me. I am really touched. Hugs...Mary

  4. Marianna, You have a lovely blog. I plan on spending some time today reading your past posts. When I find a blog I like it is such a treat to grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a marathon read. Your photos are great. I am still working on that aspect of blogging.

  5. Im so pleased you're pleased Kylie! I look forward to seeing more on the success of your workshops because a success I am sure they will be!
    Good to hear Bruno is getting some mileage from those scones. He better learn how to make them I think. We have gone from a neighbourhood relationship to a sisterhood one now. Funny isn't it.

    Well Debora all I can say is virtually everything you just said. I completely agree with your comments. One thing I must confess though. When I began this blog I secretly hoped that I would make some UK friends. Well I got more than I hoped for because I didn't expect to gain a sister too. Hehe. Yes I am having heaps of fun; but my family is a little disconcerted at the amount of time I am on the computer!

    If it makes you feel any better Mary I was "embarrassed" too. I certainly didn't start a blog for any "awards". I didn't even know they existed. So please accept this with the genuine intent that your blog is giving me loads of pleasure. It's as simple as that. Hugs right back at you....Mariana

    Oh Penny how lovely of you to drop in. I am thrilled to hear you a in for a marathon read. It is the ultimate compliment, so thank you.
    As for the photos I know how you feel. When I began my blog I didn't even know how to post a picture. My daughter is very handy with a camera and she has given me lots of tips. Im still learning!

  6. oh i just got my head around your new recipe, I was so taken by my award I didn't get to take in the method. I don't think I would attempt to drive after this one!! lol. I take it you used a square tin mariana?? Did put the cream and cherries on the whole cake or in portions?? I suppose if you did the whole thing it would be difficult to cut with the cream in the middle?? So cut then cream and cherries?
    The chocolate cake recipe sounds great - really moist and yummy!

  7. ps your new follower Bec is one of my friends that has obviously been looking at all these delicious desserts and had to join!! lol

  8. Food is a way to give love to others, to pass along your appreciation for them by satisfying the most intrinsic need and pleasing their senses. I always see it almost like a gift you're giving the others, like a trasnfer of energy and joy. Lovely post :)
    AND this recipe is making my tummy angry at me for not feeding it right now!!!

  9. Kylie I simply cut a piece out of the cake and then assembled it straight onto the plate. So yep, cut then cream and cherries. But be creative; there are no rules here; do whatever you please; gosh you are creative enough girl!

    So sweet of you to recommend me to your friend Bec. I tried to leave some comments on her blog but they didnt register. I shall try again later.

    Marta - your thought provoking comments make me feel like I have struck the right note. I so enjoyed watching my daugher eat this cake. She ate it slowly savouring each mouthful - I guess she felt the love (the transfer) from me to her. You are absolutely right.

  10. I found it really liberating really that you did it that way as I am always of the mindset, present the masterpiece (as in a whole decorated cake) and then cut and serve for everyone. So it was a real awaking for me that i don't have to prepare a WHOLE cake, I can do individual ones! Probably simple to you, but I think I got stuck in a mindset and you have snapped me out of it!
    My other friend Annette went on here yesterday, she said to me this morning at work "I went on that blog through my kitchen window, oh it looks so wonderful!! It is a great blog"
    Keep up the great work, the word is spreading!!

  11. I think I'm in love....with this cake. you are amazing!

  12. Well I am glad I have 'snapped' you out of it Kylie. Hehe. Mindsets can be very narrowing places to be. Good to see you have broadened your aspect at least on this front. Oh you are such a sweetie. Say 'welcome' to your friend Annette for me and tell her to feel free to drop me a comment whenever she likes. Mariana xxx

    And I thank you for your overwhelming comment Baking Monster.

  13. Note to viewers: It really did taste as delicious as it looks!

    haha, you really do spoil us ma =)
    nicka xx