Birthdays, Babysitters and Black Forest Cake
Well what a week I have had!
I’m looking to go back to work a few days week. Can you believe that in my local area of 7 Day Care centres and Council’s Family Day Care that there is not 1 spot available just a few days/week for Miss Z. The one and only thing I can find is a local casual child care centre that will give me a full day……of 9am-3pm. Great IF I can find a job inside school hours – however that’s like searching for hens teeth. Several people suggested getting a nanny. The going rate for in home help in Sydney at the moment is between $25 – $30/hr. So for an average day that would be $200/day at least. Um – how about No?!!!!!! Even the after school care for Miss N is full up. I’m honestly not surprised. Although I must say I do think Childcare these days is a goddam joke. Going back to work after a bubs is one thing, but spending upwards of half your salary on childcare hardly makes it worth it to me. With a shift working hubby and no ongoing help for free (like so many other people we know) it’s making the job market slightly harder to sift through and options for childcare harder to find and a hell of a lot more expensive! I used to complain about the cost when we had only 1 child in care…I hate to think of all those families with several!! HUMPH!! OK Rant Over…
Himself had a birthday this week. Its hard to believe we are getting so old!! 30-something, however that’s feeling pretty old these days to me!! The girls and I woke him (after his night shift and being out till 5 am drinking – bet he loved that!) at 8am with breakfast in bed, pressies and snuggles. His (carefully chosen) gift was a K’archer high pressure water cleaning thingo. PERFECT for him to do all those jobs around the place I need him too!!! I mean honestly – it’s why wives buy tools for hubbies isn’t it!!!???
I had origionally, grand plans of making him (The Home Brew Lover) a seriously funky cake that looked like a bar – complete with personalised beer bottle labels. It was not to be. I was told some weeks ago that he wanted a Black Forest Cake for his birthday. Kind of not in the same league as a personalised bar – however!! I duly hunted around for recipes and was amazed at how different they all were. I personally loved the one from from Martin Boetz – a chef here in Sydney of German decent who did a version for SBS’s Food Safari. (Strangely – he works in a Thai joint, but who cares right?!). Many comments at the bottom of the web recipe said words to the effect of “this is the worst recipe ever”. Reading through it – I agree! Whoever wrote it should be shot. It says things like ensuring you have 2 layers of each cake however tells you to stack 3 layers of each?? It also tells you to add layers of cream when assembling however the recipe makes NO mention of cream for this purpose at all! Can anyone say useless?? Someone at SBS had a hangover THAT day me thinks!! I decided to push on, and swap and change bits & peices of all the nicer recipes I found to create my own Black Forest Heaven.
BLACK FOREST CAKE
You will need to gather together the following:
Vanilla Cake (3 x layers)
Chocolate Cake (3 x layers)
Sour (Morello) Cherries in juice (or soaked in Kirch if you like)
Chocolate Shards and extra cherries to decorate
For the Cakes (1 x vanilla and 1 x chocolate) I used my tried and true cupcake recipe adapted for the addittion of chocolate and an 8″ tin. I figured if I could make a smaller diameter but taller tower of Black Forest Loveliness, it would look super spectacular..! You can check out that recipe from my cupcake post last Wed HERE.
Morello Cherries I found really hard to come by. No stores around us seemed to stock them and I was fearing having to go several suburbs over to the super fab gourmet deli to find some. ( Since I would probably get in lots of trouble…I simply canNOT go to this shop without spending money!!!). HOWEVER. Himself and I were strolling the supermarket doing our groceries this week when something caught my eye on the crowded shelf. Sour Cherries. At ALDI!!! CHEAP CHERRIES!!!. Flipping Awesome!.
The Chocolate Mousse Recipe was Martin Boetz (apparently c/o Heston Blumenthal? Share and Share Alike!!)
4 egg yolks
200g caster sugar
150g good quality dark choc
200ml whipping cream
Beat the yolks for 5 mins (or until stiff) with the sugar
Gently warm the milk in a small pan. Remove from the heat and stir in beaten egg yolks. Return to medium heat and cook for 2 – 3 mins, stirring freequently. When temp reaches 80 Deg C – remove from heat.
Finely chop your chocolate and place in a med size bowl. Pour over milk mixture and stir until chocolate has melted. Add the salt and leave to cool.
Whip your cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. (I found this needed to be chilled for about an hour before it was good to use).
For the Chocolate Ganache. Well – I cheated. I always buy ganache. My local cake supply shop makes a fabulous chocolate ganache that is cheaper and easier than me making it myself. One less thing to do in the mountain of cake – fine by me!!
Whipped Cream. Buy pure cream. Whip it good.
THE ASSEMBLY JOB:
Slice both your cakes through the horizontal twice so you have 3 layers of each.
Start by placing one layer of butter cake on your display plate.
Use a piping nozzle, pipe a circle of choc mousse around the cake, just inside from the edge. This will keep in the cherries.
Add the cherries to the inside of your mousse circle and drizzle with some juice/Kirsch if using.
Place a layer of the chocolate cake on top.
Add a layer of cream
The second layer of butter cake
Another circle of chocolate mousse and fill with cherries/juice
The second layer of chocolate cake
Another layer of cream
Last layer of butter cake
Last layer of mousse – no cherries on this layer so pipe the mousse all the way over.
Last layer of chocolate cake
Top with a layer of chocolate ganache
Add half a dozen cherries to the middle top of the cake for decoration, and sprinkle the whole thing with chocolate shards/curls.
Ensure you have an empty stomach and dig in!!!