My mother-in-law is a baker extraordinaire. She worked for several years as a caterer’s assistant and is talented and creative. Her cakes are stunning confectionery creations.
I am not that baker.
One of Tim’s favorite desserts is his mom’s Black Forest cake. I’m not particularly fond of cherries myself so it isn’t a recipe I have ever tried. This, however, not being my birthday I decided to make Tim a special treat. I began an extensive search online and ended up at the Taste of Home website. My goodness, pages of delicious recipes, most complete with gorgeous pictures. As a faithful subscriber (I’ve gotten Taste of Home and Simple & Delicious for years and years) I have access to the website’s collection of recipes.
I spent almost as long looking at pictures and recipes as I did in making the actual cake. Of course, looking at the pictures of my creation and the Taste of Home’s original, one might suggest I spend a little more time working and less dreaming.
Here’s the cake I was striving for:
Not my actual cake.
Really, how hard could it be to make a ‘little’ chocolate cake?
Here’s a shot of my work in progress:
Yes, the cake slid, slipped and took some sort of a nose dive during the chilling portion. True, I tweaked the recipe along the way, but I didn’t see any warnings about potential cake earthquakes.
Ah, it reminds me once again that I will never be a truly excellent chef. I’m afraid I don’t have patience for the details. I used a cake mix rather than making the cake from scratch. I relied on canned cherry pie filling instead of mixing my own. While I was cutting the cake into layers I had a child help me hold it. Sadly, the knife didn’t cut evenly and we ended up with a nice, jagged tear in the top half. The recipe called for cherry filling only in the bottom layer (look closely at the Taste of Home picture and you’ll see what I mean), but I put the filling on two of the four layers.
I’m just a rebel that way.
I tried to follow the directions for the cream and chocolate fillings; here are the ingredients and assembly instructions:
6 tablespoons butter (no substitutes), softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 to 5 tablespoons half-and-half cream
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, beat cream filling ingredients; cover and refrigerate. In a mixing bowl, beat cream, syrup and vanilla until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.
To assemble, split each cake into two horizontal layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; top with 1/2 cup cream filling. Place 1 cup cream filling in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; cut a 1/2-in. triangle in one corner of bag. Make a rim of filling 3/4 in. high around outer edge of cake.
Make a second rim 2 in. from edge. Spoon cherry filling between rings. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spread chocolate filling over second cake layer; place over cherry filling. Spread remaining cream filling over third layer; place over chocolate filling. Top with fourth layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls, cherries and mint. Store in the refrigerator.
It’s okay. My family ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ over the cake. Tim was touched that I would take the time and effort to make one of his birthday favorites. I may never win any culinary awards, but I have a solid fan-base here at home.
If you are a Taste of Home subscriber, I heartily recommend popping over to their website and browsing through their recipes. Yum and double yum.
For other Works for Me Wednesday posts, stop by Rocks in My Dryer.