I made a festive gluten-free Black Forest Cake for Christmas and it was absolutely delicious.
Okay, so truth be told, this Black Forest cake recipe was a disaster from the get go, from the moment I started preparing it to the final product after baking.
I debated whether or not to show the image I took of the final cake, or even share this recipe at all. But, I think it’s important to share the fails, don’t you? Even though this cake didn’t end up being a complete fail, I decided to share it, as it tasted delicious.
I didn’t take any before shots, or progress shots as I was making the cake. Only the finished product, as I was super impressed, after all the issues I had making it, it turned out okay. Except if you look real close to the cake, you will see that it’s slightly uneven.
Moving on. What were the fails?
1st issue I had: I decided on using a cake tin with a retractable side. My favourite type of cake tin. It’s just way easier to remove a cake from the baking tin after cooking. However, for some reason, whether the locking mechanism on the side hadn’t secured properly, or the bottom tray of the cake tin wasn’t locked in correctly, the moment I started pouring the cake into the tin, it began to leak from the sides of the tin.
2nd issue I had: As the cake began to slowly leek, I had to work quickly to find a replacement tin for the cake batter. The problem was, the cake was supposed to be poured into two separate tins. It was a Black Forest cake after all. My issue was as the cake was leaking over the counter slowly, I knew I would lose a lot of the ingredients on the kitchen counter. Meaning, the cake wouldn’t be even for each cake tin.
3rd issue I had: My only option now was to choose a cake tin that could take the entire bowl of cake batter, which was a lot. Remember, the batter was supposed to make two cakes, not one, so I needed a very large cake tin. Eek! As I was rummaging through the kitchen cupboard as fast as I could, so not to lose all the cake batter, all I could find was an average sized bunt cake tin.
4th issue I had: Now that I had my chosen cake tin, I now had to attempt to transport an already leaking cake batter into the new tin, and hope that it all fit. As I picked up the old cake tin, it was an absolute disaster, it went all over the kitchen counter (lucky I always clean the kitchen bench before I cook). I managed to get most of it in the tin from the previous tin, and then I had to use my hands (yes they were squeaky clean also) to scoop up the batter and pop into the tin.
5th issue I had: The batter filled the cake tin right to the top, meaning, there was not a lot of room for the batter to grow and expand. By now, I was so pressed for time, I had no choice but to just roll with it and put it into the oven. It was Christmas Eve and already early afternoon, and I had to get this cake cooking, so I could then move onto baking dinner in the oven whilst the cake cooled.
6th issue I had: As I watched the cake cook in the oven, it was overflowing and nearly spilling over the tin. I had pretty much given up, but thought I would just wait it out anyways and see if it would cook. I was doubtful though. I check it after 20 minutes and it was so jiggling, I honestly didn’t think any part of the cake was cooking at all. The recipe called for the cake to bake for at least 35 minutes in the oven. However, I needed around 45 to 50 minutes, to ensure it was baked right through. Which did the trick. Thank goodness.
7th issue I had: Okay, so the cake baked and as it cooled, I was now looking at something I just wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. Did it even taste okay? How would I decorate it? Can I still turn it into a Black Forest Cake, even though it’s now a bundt cake? I put the cake to the side and continued with dinner. I would worry about it later, as I had time between baking dinner for Christmas Eve, to eating dinner, to then worrying about dessert once everyone was ready for it.
The final outcome of the cake:
I opted to continue with my original plan of turning the cake into a Black Forest cake. This meant, I had to cut it in the middle, so I could fill with cream and cherries, and then top it with the same as well.
Success, the cake was perfect inside (phew) and I was able to cut it evenly through the middle. The only issue I had though, was the batter was obviously more dense on one side when it was baking in the oven, so there cake was a tad uneven, with a slight slant on one side. Not by much, but you could definitely see how uneven the cake was.
I filled the centre with chocolate butter cream, whipped cream and cherries, then finished the top of the cake with some extra butter cream, whipped cream, fresh cherries, and then dusted icing sugar all over it, before finishing the cake off with freshly shaved dark chocolate shavings.
Delicious. It was such a success, even though I didn’t think this cake could be saved. It was and it both looked and tasted amazing. If it weren’t for the finished product, there is no way I would have shared the recipe with you. As it was such a disaster, and a lot top deal with on Christmas Eve as well.
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to make the cake yourself.
What you’ll need:
- 2 x 9 inch cake tins
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 ¾ cups of gluten-free self-raising flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup soy milk
- ½ cup sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 large jar of pitted cherries
- Fresh Cherries
- Dark chocolate for grating
- Icing sugar
- 450ml thickened cream
Now, you can replace some of the sugar and non-vegan items with worthy replacements, however, as I have never made this cake before, I didn’t want to change the recipe too much in the event that it didn’t work. And after all the issues I encountered, I am kind of glad I didn’t alter the recipe too much.
Here’s how to make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
- In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin.
- Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
- My original plan was to use a measuring cup (1 cup) to event distribute the cake between the tins, but that didn’t happen. But I recommend you do this, so you can get even sized cakes to make your Black Forest cake.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick.
- Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Now it’s time to decorate – I will skip the procedure I did for my cake decorating, as I really had to alter what I was doing. I will instead give you instructions for what I was supposed to do, had the cake been a success from the beginning.
For the cherry and cream filling and topping:
Mix together 3 tsp of cornflour and 1 tbs of cherry juice from the jar of cherries, until combined. Place the remaining cherry juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, and add the cornflour mixture. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Set aside to cool. Combine the cream and icing sugar and whisk to stiff peaks. Set aside.
- Once you have your cakes nice and cooled, take whichever one you wish to be the bottom cake, and spoon out some of the whipped cream mixture onto the cake. Make it as thick as you want, just reserve some whipped cream for decorating the top of the cake.
- Then spoon onto of the cream the cherry sauce you made.
- Place the other cake on top and press down ever so slightly to ensure they stick together with the cream and cherries. It’s okay if some spillage happens at the sides, this adds to the look of the cake. Of course you can tidy if you prefer.
- Spoon some of the cream on the top of the cake. If you are after cream peeks, you can either use a piping back from the whipped cream to pipe peeks on the cake if you don’t want too much cream. Or you can just use a spatula to spread the cream over the top, making sure not to push into the cake. You want it too look a little messy and yummy with blobs of creams.
- Top with fresh cherries and then grate dark chocolate all over the cake.
- If you prefer to leave the cake as is now, then it’s ready to serve. Otherwise, you can lightly sprinkle icing sugar all along the sides of the cake to add a little festive touch, making the cake festive. Up to you.
It’s best to decorate the cake right before serving, because of the cream. But if you don’t have time to do this, then make the night before and be sure to refrigerate to ensure the cake does not go soggy from all the cream.
And there you have it – hopefully you will have more luck than me with your cake.