December 15, 2012

Black Forest Cake Gone Wrong

It's official. I'm a cook. I know my abilities and my skills and I'm a competent cook. There. Glad that's off my chest. Now. You may wonder what's up with me. Why this public disclosure and why now? It's my birthday today. Fifty three. A small relevation the other day has somehow made everything seem clear. I have clarity. How do I know I'm a good cook? What's changed? I've seen the light. Boy it's taken a while. However. Here goes. This is my new kitchen philosophy. This is my new quote. Mario Batali and Julia Child move over. Totally my quote so please don't nick it.

Mariana Gates, 15th Dec 2012

And that's exactly what happened on a few occasions in the last couple of weeks. A remake of one of Philomena's cakes was a total disaster. The cherries all sunk to the bottom. The cakey part was stiffish and rubbery. Awful. I nearly chucked it out to the chickens. Then I became excited. I have a challenge. How can I save this? A dish began to form inside my head. I layered the cut up cake over the base of a deep dish. Spooned Cointreau over the cake. I made a vanilla custard with orange peel to flavour; stirred in heaps of good cooking chocolate and ended up with a silky smooth chocolatey dairy delight. Poured over the liqueur soaked cake. Whisked cream with a little icing sugar, Cointreau, orange juice over the top. Hubby declared the best dessert ever!! Wow. And to think the chickens nearly scored the failed cake.

Yesterday I phoned Sue to tell her I'd bring a black forest cake to the party tonight. Instead of making a chocolate sponge, I made my regular chocolate cake, which I know is very yummy. Problem? It didn't rise evenly despite me adding half quantity plain flour to the self-raising flour. Too big a rise in middle - so big in fact that it cracked like a volcano about to spill out it's lava. Hmm. I imagined cutting bits out to level the cake but nah...just didn't feel like it. A little walkabout. A thought about Philomena's recent cake gone wrong. And yep. I became excited again.

Getting my hands on a beautiful presentation bowl was the first step. I imagined the look. I decided to stick to the black forest flavours. Layered the glass base with half the cut up cake. I gave the cake a good dousing with Kirsch cherry liqueur. In a frypan, the strained liquid from two cans of pitted cherries simmered for about five minutes. A teaspoon of cornflour, two teaspoons of caster sugar and two teaspoons of Kirsch went into the bubbling brew. Tossed in cherries and cooked till pourable but not runny (a good cook will know what I mean)-haha! Allow to cool.

I made a one litre batch of chocolate custard similar to the previous reparation dish.  Also added vanilla extract. The cherry sauce went over the first layer of cake. Another layer of chocolate cake soaked in Kirsch. Poured the choc custard over this. Set in the fridge overnight.  Today - whisk 600mls cream together with Cointreau and icing sugar. I wanted a contrast in the cream from the Kirsch. Sprinkle with grated good quality choc. Voila. My failed black forest cake has been transformed into a chocolate cherry liqueur infused dairy dessert.  Thumbs Up.


  1. Good work, good quote, I like it.

  2. Awwww thanks Glenda. So pleased to hear you like it! It's a funny thing; I never set out to blog about my new quote. But as I began to type about my failed cake my internal dialogue went in a totally new direction and voila - I've added myself to the world of cooking quotes. I love it!