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. :- )