A couple of birthdays, a colossal cake pop failure and a fantastic Black forest cake

Aadi madness is past (thank god!) and a couple of birthdays too. It was my birthday a week ago (thank Facebook! for the birthday reminders) and Yuvi’s the next day and like a good new-age momma I planned his cake, birthday favors for his class-mates and a small party at home. As if Yuvi would have minded giving his class-mates an alpenliebe instead. He couldn’t care less. In fact he was pissed off he had to go to school on his birthday. He wasn’t thrilled that he’d be sharing sweets with his friends and that they’d sing “Happy Birthday” for him. Turns out he was right after all – they did not sing “Happy Birthday” for him. I could not believe this! And his teacher had dropped a favour bag inside Yuvi’s bag too! Staying at home would have been a much nicer treat and he would have appreciated the break. I need to listen more to my 3 year old.

black forest cake

My birthday is no longer my birthday. It is the day before my son’s birthday and every year I spend my birthday elbow deep in flour and butter trying to make a decent birthday cake for Yuvi. This time around I planned a black forest cake for him and thankfully it turned out absolutely fabulous.

I picked the recipefrom sailusfood. 

black forest cake

Black forest cake is easier than you might think but it has multiple components and it takes time but it works well. Baking the cake is the easiest part. Bake and chill the cakes while you go about readying the rest. Use good quality tinned cherries. This is absolutely crucial. Prepare the cherry syrup and ready the cherries. Whip the cream and grate up some chocolate and you’re ready to assemble the master piece. Tropolite whipping cream worked perfect. Add in sugar and vanilla to the whipping cream and freeze the entire whipping cream set-up along with bowl and beaters for the fastest results.

black forest cake

The bigger story of the day was the colossal cake pop failure and second time in a row for me. I had planned to make cake pops for Yuvi’s classmates. I planned well in advance, made two loaves of banana bread and froze them. I then processed them in my food processor, mixed in the frosting and shaped them into balls. I even measured out each cake ball to make sure they were all uniformly sized. All perfect till this point.

Monogram favor bags,brown paper favor bags
Favor bags for Yuvi’s classmates

And then started to melt chocolate and I kept melting it and melting it and it took forever and it just wouldn’t melt perfectly. I first started with white chocolate because you see I wanted to colour it. It melted but was lumpy. And then thinking that it might be a case of old chocolate I pulled out another block of chocolate from above (I stow chocolate blocks all over the kitchen so that I can pull them out in dire situations like these just like they pull out the “Aruva” in tamil movies) and tried melting it, this time milk chocolate. It melted ok but the melted chocolate was too thick to coat the cake balls and when they did, the cake balls wouldn’t stand upright on the stick. They simply slid right down the lollipop stick. And the chocolate just didn’t dry hard. I realized then that chocolate and candy melts are not interchangeable. And that my friends, is my single biggest contribution to the world of cake pops. Please write this down somewhere. I thought then that Candy melts must be the kind of stuff they melt to dip the Vanilla softy cones into to make the Choco-dip shell, the kind that dries hard instantly. So cake balls it was for Yuvi’s classmates. I just threw all the melted chocolate into the fridge and started packing the cake balls for Yuvi’s classmates. 

I was already worrying about fridge-space for my cake. Aadi was just over and it was maddening crazy. You see Aadi is huge in our house and the fridge bore the brunt of all the Aadi cooking and now it was birthday time. The fridge was bursting at its seams already and my Maamiyaar had just turned on the grinder to make idli batter. That meant one whole fridge shelf. Explosive situation! My precious puff pastry dough (for Yuvi’s little birthday party that weekend) was tucked in somewhere in between the cake balls, which I’d pull out at random moments, roll out in a great haze of all-purpose flour, fold and then put right back into the fridge. I’d do this all through the week.
I went to office with little pieces of dough around my fingernails, a fine dusting of flour and smelling of butter all over. I wrote down every little detail – which to make first, which to make last, where I’d put it in the fridge and which kuzhambu to knock out of the fridge. If you’d called me that week I’d have ordered some more butter and eggs.
Prep time: 40 mins
Baking time: 30-40 mins per cake
Serves: 16 slices
Ingredients – Cake
Flour – 2 cups
Sugar – 1-1/2 cups
Cocoa powder – ¾ cup
Baking soda – 1-1/2 tsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Salt – pinch
Milk – 1 cup
Vegetable oil – ½ cup
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Instant coffee powder – 1 -1/2 tbsp
Hot water – 1 cup
Eggs – 2
Grated chocolate – ½ cup for garnishing
Ingredients – Whipped cream
Whipping cream – 2 cups chilled
Sugar – ¼ cup + 2 tbsp (adjust as per taste)
Vanilla essence – 1 tbsp
Ingredients – Cherry filling & syrup
Tinned cherries – 1 cup
Cherry Syrup – ½ cup
Sugar – ¼ cup + 2 tbsp (adjust as per taste)
Water – ½ cup
1.       Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius. Grease and flour 3 8 inch round cake pans. Set aside.
2.       Add coffee powder to the hot water, stir to dissolve. Set aside.
3.       Sieve flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together in a large bowl. Add sugar and whisk to mix.
4.       In another bowl, beat eggs till light and frothy. Add oil and vanilla essence and beat well. Add the coffee mixture and beat.
5.       Add this wet mixture to the dry mixture and beat on low just until incorporated.
6.       Divide the batter among the 3 pans. Bake for 30 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7.       Remove cakes from pan. Let cool. Loosen the edges of the cake by running a knife around the edges and then invert the pans and loosen the cakes by tapping on the underside of the pan. Cool completely, cling wrap and chill the cakes while you prepare the cherry filling and whipped cream.
8.       For the whipped cream, measure out 2 cups of whipping cream into a large bowl. Add sugar and vanilla essence and place the bowl along with the beaters in the fridge for 1 hour.
9.       Once cooled, remove the cream and beaters from the fridge and whip to stiff peaks. Refrigerate again till use.
10.   Separate the cherries and the syrup. Set the cherries aside.
11.   Transfer the syrup to a small pan. Add sugar and water, stir well and mix. Boil on low heat till the sugar dissolves and the syrup is slightly thick. Switch off and cool.
12.   Grate some chocolate and keep ready.
13.   To assemble the cake, remove the cakes from the fridge, trim the tops and set aside. Place one cake on the cake board, spoon some cherry syrup on the cake, spread all over the top of the cake with a spoon. Scatter 1/3rd of the cherries on the cake. Spoon some whipped cream onto the cake and spread gently to make a thickish layer – about 1 ¼ inch thick. Place the next cake layer and repeat with the syrup, cherries and whipped cream. Repeat with the last cake layer. Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the sides and top of the cake. Pipe a few stars or rosettes around the circumference of the cake and place a whole cherry on each star or rosette. Pat grated chocolate on the sides of the cake. Alternately you could pile some shaved chocolate in the middle of the cake too. Chill for 2 hours minimum. Serve.
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  1. Praba Arun says:

    Just wow! Can I rest the batter in room temperature till one cake is baked? what's the difference between 'baking as one cake and slicing them horizontally into two' and 'baking as two cakes'? Thanks.

  2. Padmapriya Pugazhendhi says:

    Awesome cake!!! The decoration looks neat and perfect and definitely tasted yummy I guess 🙂 . The dark red cherries and the chocolate shavings adds lot of beauty to the cake. And the idea of designing the favor bags with letter "Y" looks cool.

  3. smitha says:

    I really like the way you look at life, find humour in every situation and manage such treats for occasions. Keep up the spirited life.

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