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13 October 2015

Landslide in the Black Forest

I didn't finish my gardening yesterday so I'll write about it tomorrow. Instead, this is a sad and sorry tale about my recent experience with Hanno's Black Forest birthday cake. Someone asked me to post the recipe and while I'm not going to give you a recipe for a disaster, here is the sad tale of the cake. :- )


I wanted this cake to be the best Black Forest cake I'd ever made and yes, it was memorable but not in the way I wanted it to be.  My downfall began when I decided to use a different recipe. I'd always made a chocolate butter cake in the past but the new recipe, from a German site, advised making three layers of chocolate sponge. I only had two round cake tins the same size and one slightly bigger so I baked three cakes in those tins and when they were cold, I used the smaller cake tin to cut the larger one to size. I made three light, text book sponges. They were perfect but I was about to descend deep into a dark pit.


I made a chocolate ganache, whipped the cream, thickened the juice the cherries were packed in and started assembling the cake. I used one of the uncut cakes as the base, added a layer of ganache, topped that with cherries in thickened juice and added the cream. Then I used the cut layer. I repeated the process of adding the layers, and I descended deeper into the darkness. When the final cake layer had been added with its ganache, cherries and cream, slowly but surely, the middle layer collapsed and slid sideways, then ganache, cream and cherries started to waterfall off the sides of the cake plate. Hanno and Kerry stood and watched as it happened. I put the cake onto a larger plate and then into the fridge. As I cleaned up the spillage I wondered if I'd hit rock bottom yet. Clearly, the sponge was too light for the filling and with the walls of the middle layer removed, the forces of gravity took over and there was a landslide in the Black Forest.

Leaving the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours allowed it to firm up and stabilise. Hanno couldn't wait any longer so I cut two slices and with a cup of tea to brace me, we had our cake. It was delicious - a delicious disaster. As we worked our way through the cake over the following days, I discovered that by adding raspberries it looked okay, even good! So when we shared the cake with others, they got a helping of raspberries along with their cherries.

I have said many times before that mistakes are gifts that allow us to learn lessons we don't forget. So what did I learn from this? 
  • Don't use a new, untested recipe for anything important.
  • One more spoonful of ganache will NOT make it better. 
  • Never cut the edges off a cake that will be filled. The walls are there for a reason, Rhonda!
  • No matter what it looks like, raspberries will save even the worst disaster. :- )


38 comments:

  1. Well, it looks delicious and if it tasted delicious.. maybe it's not such a disaster, Rhonda :-)

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  2. I too have learned the hard way not to use a new recipe for a special occasion. It does look delicious though. You could throw it in a bowl cover with whipped cream and call it a trifle :-)
    Barb

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  3. My German son in law makes this cake and it's wonderful...And I would rather have a delicious disaster than a cake that looks perfect but lacks flavor any day of the week! And you are absolutely right about raspberries!

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    1. That is right on--the taste is the important part!

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  4. I love that you shared your less than perfect cake experience, and the tips too. If it tastes good, it doesn't necessarily have to be beautiful :o)

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  5. Oh that is too bad, Rhonda but it certainly looks delicious !! My hubby would love it.. Caved in or not.. Happy Birthday although I am late in saying so..
    Thanks for the recipe.. xo

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  6. Live and learn, right? And add raspberries! Excellent post, Rhonda. Its good to know we've all been there.

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  7. But it looks so lovely! Many moons ago I made a blackforest gateau for my son's first birthday Now I can cook but I have no idea what I did wrong. I swear it would have made a good brick. My son's great grandma was a very nice, discreet lady but even she burst out laughing when she saw it. In fact, I've never tried it again. Ah well, he was only 1 so he won't remember (he's 28 now). Anna

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  8. Oh Rhonda do forgive me but I smiled at your "disaster", you told that story well! Hanno looks pretty satisfied with his slice in the photo.

    Talk about imagination on my part" I read the title in Feedly and thought there was an environmental disaster in The Black Forest!

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    1. I set the scene well then Rose. ;- )

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    2. ROFL! i loved so hard at that Rose
      thanx

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    3. I did that too and worried as its where my sil's family live!

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  9. I had to giggle. The only time I made a Black Forest Cake was for a man I wanted to marry in the worse kind of way. It took all day to make that and the crab/ shrimp casserole for our dinner. Everything was perfect, except I had an allergic reaction to the crab! Never had one before or since, so I have to think it was because it was canned and not fresh... I spent the night in the loo tossing my cookies.... and, sadly, we never married... The cake, however, was perfect and I sent it home with him! LOL I sincerely hope no one else ever made that for him! I haven't tried since... :O

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  10. Well at least it tasted good!!! ;o) And you learned a lesson. God bless
    Kelly

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  11. I beg to differ, ganache could surely save ANY disaster in the kitchen :D

    I got a bit excited last night, my Dad has been giving me lots of old Burke's Backyard magazines, and I was reading one from October 2008 (could have been 2009), and lo and behold I found myself reading an article written by you :) It was funny, I felt partly like I'd spotted a celebrity, and partly like I'd spotted a friend in a crowd! :)

    Have a lovely day, shepard's pie and black forest cake sound like a wonderful lunch ;) I'm off to plant some strawberries and construct some arches over my new veggie beds to cover them over with bird netting!




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    1. Larissa, don't you dare egg me on with the ganache. I used to be a monthly columnist for Burke's Backyard back in the day. Funny how those things reemerge every so often. xx

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  12. Too funny Rhonda, I do this all the time! When there is a special occasion for some reason I get the urge to make something new and different and it is a stressful disaster. At least it still taste good as you spent money and time on it:)

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  13. The cake looks delicious to me, if not perfect in appearance. But these episodes are the stories we like to tell every year, aren't they?

    I just noticed the ad on the right - is that your Sunny's business? I like the way it looks - very retro-looking!

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    1. Yes Lisa, it's Sunny's business. She makes the best sushi I've ever tasted. If you're ever down that way, call in. Those patters in the ad are what she made for my birthday this year. :- )

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  14. Your story of this little misadventure made my day! And the end result looked so delicious. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  15. Happy Birthday Hanno. It sure looks mighty tasty.
    Coffee is on

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  16. Oh no!!! Lucky you are a seasoned baker as things like this are what stop people baking!!! :) Happy birthday Hanno, I bet it still tasted wonderful x Jan x

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  17. Just today there was an article in our newspaper about the Black Forest cake because it´s its 100th birthday! The accompanying recipe does not mention any ganache, and I cannot remember any Black Forest cake with it. So I suspect this was the reason for your landslide, becuse it made the filling too heavy. On the other hand, I agree with you that everything is better with ganache!

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    1. I'm sure you know by now, Hilde, that I change almost every recipe I use. I didn't want to use buttercream in the layers because I think it's too greasy with the cream. Ganache has a stronger flavour and goes perfectly with the cream.

      Zum guburtstag Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte!

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    2. I asked our village baker yesterday, and he told me that only the cherry filling and whipped cream shoud be used - he calls the Schwarzwädler a "light" cake! And of course, you also should add quite a lot of kirschwasser . . .

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  18. Well done Rhonda, what a disaster if you wasted the whole shebang!!!

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  19. May my successes be as good as your disasters Rhonda - that is all!

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  20. It looks absolutely delicious!

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  21. Which just goes to prove that the proof of the pudding is indeed in the eating. It looked delicious and I'm sure we've all been there - mine was the eggless birthday cake that came out as a pancake! At least your 'disaster' was edible.

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  22. If it tasted wonderful then that's all that matters imho. I have served up some weird looking dishes in the past, all got eaten tho', don't they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating.........

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  23. Couldn't help but chuckle, know the feeling well, even when it is tried and tested and somehow still seems to fail me. Nice to know I'm not the only one. Although I am still sitting here about to go to bed wishing I could eat some disastrous black forest landslide cake.....Even your words of failure taste yummo!

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  24. Both of these happened quite a few years ago. I was trying to make stuffed mushrooms, and the recipe called for adding flour when sauteing the stuffing, but it wouldn't thicken. Turned out I'd grabbed the powdered sugar. Didn't discover that was the problem until we tasted them at the table. At the same dinner, I was trying to make muffins which I'd made many times before, but they twice overflowed the tins in the oven and made a mess. Powdered sugar instead of flour again. We didn't have muffins, but I didn't figure out what the problem was until we tasted the mushrooms.

    The other involved a Schwartzwalder Kirschtorte - at least that was what my recipe was labeled. I made it, it looked great. When I tried to cut it at the table to serve - the filling between the layers let the whole shebang slide sideways. Tasted fabulous, but looked like it was assembled by a third grader.

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  25. But lit tasted good----that's the main thing. They do say the proof is in the eating.

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  26. I probably would have just cut it up and put it in a trifle bowl! Looks delicious anyway!

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  27. Oh, I feel your pain! Every layer cake I have ever made, I think, has had a disaster and the slide is the most common. The other disaster is a beautiful cake that cracks right through the center. It has become a family joke and now I only make single layer cakes. I did terrify our oldest daughter by telling her that I was going to make her wedding cake. :) I was kidding but I had her going for a bit.

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  28. You are a much braver woman than I. And hilarious. If I was there during your landslide, I'm pretty sure I'd be licking the cake off the counter ;-)

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  29. The most important point is (or was?) that it tasted good.
    Did you use a "Tortenring"? It's very helpful to stabilize the cake while putting the layer one over another.
    And.... as far as I know the cherries are placed under the ganache, so they don't press on it in the first place. On the other hand, the cake itself has a lot of weight and presses on itself. Hm.
    And by the way,
    Herzlichen Glückwunsch und alles Gute zum Geburtstag (nachträglich) für Hanno!
    Greetings from Germany
    H.

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  30. Hi Rhonda! You are fantastic... i enjoyed reading about your cake disaster! Not because it collapsed ,of course, but how you described all the process!
    I'm a new here and wonder if I'll be welcome... I live far away from your country, I'm Italian.
    I sincerely appreciate your blog and the topics you write about.
    Following with interest,surely.
    Have a great new week!

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