Chocolate “Forest” Cake

Tons of chocolate, tons of cream, tons of taste, tons of……let’s not mention calor..$*&”s

Makes: 10 – 12 slices

Time: Around 90 minutes + fridge/cooling time. (And extra for the trees unless you make them while the cake is baking)

Level: A step up from “easy”

Equipment: two 20cm (8”) loose bottomed round cake tins

Calories: Let’s not go there

Ingredients

Cake

  • 275g/9.5oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 250/g/9oz golden caster sugar
  • 30ml/1fl oz golden syrup
  • 250g/9oz self-raising flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 30g/1oz cocoa powder
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125ml/4.5oz milk

Filling

  • 200g/7oz black cherry jam
  • 20ml/0.75fl oz brandy or kirsch
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream

Coating and decoration

  • Enough apricot jam to coat the cake with a thin layer. About 3 tbsp
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  • 200g/ 7oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g/1.75oz each of white & milk chocolate (if you intend making trees)
  • Sprinkles or more chocolate for grating on top (optional)

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 190C / Fan 170C / 375F / Gas 5. Butter and line the base of the tins.

2. Put all the cake ingredients in either a food processor or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until creamed together. Take care not to overmix. Pour or spoon the mixture equally into the two tins. Smooth the surfaces.

3. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

4. Once fully cool, trim to neaten and flatten if necessary then set one cake on a board and place it on a turntable. Put the other cake to one side, flatter side uppermost.

5. For the filling, mix the jam and brandy (or kirsch) in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the cream until it begins to form soft peaks. Spread the jam over the base cake and then add the cream layer. Set the other cake on top. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

6. In a small saucepan, warm the jam with a tbsp. of water so that it’s fairly runny. Pass it through a sieve then spoon or brush it over the cake. Allow it to cool and set.

7. If you intend making chocolate trees, melt the white chocolate either over a bain marie or carefully in the microwave, using short “blasts” and frequent stirring. Pour into a piping bag either fitted with a small plain nozzle (e.g. Wilton No 2) or cut a small hole. Allow it to cool to the point where the chocolate can be piped in a controlled way.

8. Use a pattern placed under a sheet of baking paper or acetate to pipe tree shapes (or, if confident and artistic, do it free hand.) Repeat with the milk chocolate. You’ll need about 15 – 16 to encircle the cake, depending on size. Set aside to cool.

9. When the chocolate trees have cooled and set firmly, make the ganache. Break the chocolate into a heat proof bowl or jug then heat the cream in a medium saucepan. Before it reaches boiling point, lift the pan off the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Wait a few minutes then stir to mix.

10. Allow the ganache to cool to a point where it’s runny enough to be poured onto the cake but not so runny that it won’t “settle”. Encourage it down the sides. Before the ganache has set tidy up any that has over-run, then press on the trees around the side.

11. Options for final decoration include grating white chocolate over on top or use some suitable sprinkles.

I hope you make this cake and enjoy the process, also the product – i.e. eating it. If you’d like to see more lovely chocolate cake recipes then click here.

Of course, you might fancy a non-chocolate cake. Yes, people do occasionally, don’t they? Or maybe some other baked beauty. If so have a look here.