Black Forest Cake/ 一直以来最想要的蛋糕

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Last Saturday was my husband’s birthday. I needed to be at work the whole day, so I wanted to make him a cake to make it up with him. He wouldn’t have mind really; it was more for me so that I wouldn’t feel so guilty of not being available. Isn’t it so that in order to show your sincerity, when giving something you must give something that is precious/meaningful to you? So I decided to give Black Forest cake. And I’m gonna tell you why.

My sister and I were raised by my grandmother in a village in our childhood and we met our mom a few times a year. She was occupied by her work, traveling around places to make money to support our living. We missed awfully much of her most of the times. I remember there were a couple of times when my mom was around to celebrate my birthday with me. And that was one of those times when I ever got out of the village. Standing in front of a selection of colourful, beautiful cakes in the bakery, how fancy! I was offered to choose what I like, and there was always this Black Forest cake that caught my eyes. It has always been there on the shelf, in any bakeries, looking elegant and expensive, very ‘grown-up’ as well if you know how I feel.

That was what i’ve always wanted, but I never dared to pick the Black Forest cake, because I thought that it would be out of my mom’s budget for my very small birthday party. Even though it looked extremely tempting as always; and as high priced as always. I ended up picking those spongy cakes with candied house on top, because I believed that those kinds are the ones for a kid like me. I was between 5-8 years old.

Life is so much easier when you are a grown up, definitely, at least now I can make my own cake! I don’t remember when was the last time I tasted Black Forest, for sure it was more than 10 years ago! But I remember when the cherry jam, chocolate and alcohol lingered in my month, wow it was so surprisingly good! My version of Black Forest is not as sweet as from the bakery, but I like it more this way.

Ingredients for the dough:

150g 70% Baking Dark Chocolate

150g Butter, keep in room temperature

150g All purpose flour

150g Sugar

2 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Salt

6 Eggs, placed whites and yolks seperately

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 175 Celsius. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave for a few seconds.

2) Beat in sugar, then mix in egg yolks one by one.

3) Add in flour and baking powder.

4) Beat egg whites with salt until shifted. Fold into the mixture with spatula.

5) Grease a baking container and place in cut baking sheet. Pour in the mixture and bake for 30- 40 minutes. (Poke with a wooden stick and make sure it comes out clean, that tells when the cake is ready)

6) Keep completely cool. Then cut horizontally into 2 layers.

7) Spread one layer of the cherry filling( see below) on the first layer of cake, and spread whipped cream on top of it. Then place the second layer of cake on top. Spread cherry filling and whipped cream again( and at the side if preferred). Decorate with whole fresh cherries.

Note: This cake is originated from Germany and it’s supposed to put in Cherry liquor, which I don’t have. 😛 Some people make thicker layer of the chocolate cake and scrambled some of it for decoration. You may also decorate it with grated chocolate. 🙂

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Ingredients for the fillings:

6 dl Whipped cream

3 tbsp Sugar

1 jar (320g) Cherry Jam

1 cup Fresh Cherries, reserved more for decorating

6 dl Brandy/ cognac

Methods:

1) Remove seeds from fresh cherries and cut them into smaller pieces.

2) Mix in brandy and cherry jam, set aside.

3) Whip cream until shifted and fold in sugar, set aside.

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Voila!

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IMG_0985Happy Birthday to Riku! ❤

Riku and his cake

It’s amazing that many of my Finnish friends and relatives have never heard of Black Forest cake before. For some reasons it is extremely popular in Malaysia. It must have been the European who introduced to us during the 15th centuries, I guess? Let me know if you happen to know about it! 🙂

Strawberry Curd Cake / A little piece of heaven from the strawberry farm

It was a very warm sunny day. In fact, it was the first day when my summer holiday started. I asked my husband to drive us to the strawberry farm, which is about 30 minutes away from our home.

He asked: ‘Why don’t we just buy it from the store?’. To him, it doesn’t make sense to use our gas to drive this far and spend our time for things like this.

I thought for a while, and then said:’ Well, next time when you go fishing, I will ask you the same question.’ I continued: ‘There is no sense in buying all those expensive lures when you can’t even get one fish!’

Ha ha ha, I got him. He was so sorry that he promised to bring me everywhere to pick this and that from now on. It’s about the process that makes it more fun, don’t you agree?

Strawberries have always been a precious thing to me, since it is so rare and expensive in Malaysia. Before I moved to Finland, I have only eaten no more than 5 times fresh strawberries in my life, and those were watery and tasteless. Therefore strawberry picking has become a little bit of heaven to me. 🙂 There are soooo many of them on the field like stars in the sky, those shiny red heads hiding under the green leaves. I would pick them up and put straight to my mouth and then the next one would go to my basket. (Everybody does that!) Hmm… it’s so sweet, fresh and juicy. Completely awesome!

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Inspired by my friend Laura’s unbeatable Mango Cake, I decided to use some of my 3 kilograms of freshly picked strawberries to make a cake for my summer celebration. This is quite light and healthy, therefore it is suitable for all ladies. It is not difficult, but you’ve got to be a little patient because there are some waitings in between.

Ingredients:

175g Domino cookies

50g Butter, left in room temperature

2 1/2 dl Vanilla sauce

4 dl Plain Curd

5 dl Strawberry puree

3/4 dl Sugar

1 tbsp Vanilla sugar

1/2 Lemon juice

7 Gelatin sheets, soaked in cold water

Methods:

1) Finely chop the cookies until crumbled and mix well with butter. Cut a piece of baking sheet for the bottom of a baking tray, and press the crumbled cookies to the bottom. Keep cool in refrigerator.

2) Whip vanilla sauce until foamed and then mix in curd, strawberries puree and sugars.

3) Heat up the lemon juice in microwave for a few seconds, put the gelatin sheets into the juice to melt completely. Pour the juice slowly into the curd mixture and keep stirring while pouring.

4) Spread the curd mixture into the baking tray and chill overnight before serving.

PS: I let the cake to set in refrigerator for about an hour before I decorated it with strawberries. So that the fruits stay nicely on top and would not drop into the curd mixture.

Strawberries Puree

I used about 10 dl of strawberry fruits to make 5 dl of strawberry puree. Store-bought is good also but it might be a little sweeter.

Whipped curd

Pecan nuts go well with strawberries!

Voilà!

A very refreshing and hearty cake, popular among all ages, just pick the fruits that you like and it will do! 😉