This is my twist on Black Forest Gateau - it's a dessert rather than a cake and uses French glace cherries.
I was invited to take part in a competition to create a new recipe using French glace cherries, which can be used for far more than just decoration, as they hold their texture, flavour and shape throughout the baking process.
Black forest gateau was the first thing that came to mind when I thought about cherries. The cake was very popular in my 80s childhood (I think Sara Lee had something to do with that) and I remember eating it at an aunt's wedding. The cake is lovely and light, with a bit of a kick from the kirsch, and uses black cherries or morello cherries in the filling and to decorate.
This time of year is a bit hot for cake so I decided to change the recipe to a cool dessert, and to incorporate French glace cherries instead; the candied cherries have a lovely sweetness that means you don't need to add any sugar.
My dessert is a kind of deconstructed cake, in that it has a layer of airy fourless chocolate cake, a layer of cherries, a layer of cream, then repeat - a layer of cake, cherries and cream. All topped off with some more French glace cherries and chocolate cravings.
I made this dessert to serve two, but you can easily double the quantities.
French Forest Gateau- An Original Recipe by Caroline Makes
For the cake:
3 eggs, separated
75g soft brown sugar
30g cocoa powder
For the cherry layer:
200g French glace cherries
2 tbsp kirsch
For the topping:
250ml double cream
French glace cherries to decorate
Chocolate shavings or sprinkles to decorate
Preheat oven to 175C and grease and line the bottom of a loose-bottomed cake tin. I used a 9-inch square tin then cut out circles of the cake to fit the serving glasses I was using. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and the cocoa powder, then fold in the egg whites. Spoon into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, first in the tin then on a cooling rack.
To make the cherry layer, place the French glace cherries in a small heavy-based saucepan along with the water; bring to the boil and simmer until the cherries have softened. Add the kirsch and stir until you have a thick jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
When you are ready to assemble the dessert, whisk the double cream until thick.
Choose a pretty serving bowl, or individual dishes or glasses. I cut out a circle of the cake to fit the size of my serving glass. Place a layer of cake on the bottom of the dish, then a layer of the French glace cherry mixture, then a layer of double cream. Repeat, finishing with cream; top with a few French glace cherries and a sprinkling of chocolate shavings.