Happy Monday Everyone!
My birthday is usually a rather quiet affair, as it falls just after Christmas and people are usually a little too down to do anything because of Post-Christmas Blues.
I decided this year that I was going to have a little party, and that hopefully that would help to cheer people up! I wanted to come up with a menu that was both fun and most importantly quick, because when I have friends round for dinner I usually end up in the kitchen all night, rather than socialising.
Some of my guests were Vegetarian, so I decided to make the menu entirely Vegetarian as well as Gluten Free so that no one felt left out. One of my guests was also Egg Free and as my Black Forest Gateau contained eggs, I made them an alternative Egg Free dessert.
My Birthday Menu:
Lime and Pomegrante Fizz Mocktail (Recipe at www.whatjessicabaked.com)
Toasty Cups filled with Spicy Five
Bean Salad & Salsa (Inspired by this recipe on BBC Food)
Paneer Cheese Bites coated in
Sesame Seeds with a Chutney Dip
Cheesy Nachos with Homemade Salsa
Gluten Free Black Forest Gâteau
Homemade Nutella Ice Cream (Recipe at www.whatjessicabakednext.com)
The party went off without a hitch because the majority of the food was prepared the day before, such as the cake sponges and the ice cream, meaning the hours leading up to the party were just for finishing touches, including assembling the cake.
What I was most happy with was that the food was suitable for everyone attending, proving that with a little imagination you can prepare a menu suitable for all sorts of different dietary requirements.
For the Sponges:
200g Butter, softened
200g Caster Sugar
175g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
25g Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
4 Large Eggs
3 – 4 Tbsp Milk
To Assemble the Cake:
2 tbsp kirsch (optional, miss out if you want a non alcoholic version)
600ml Double or Whipping Cream
400g Black Cherry Jam
200g Good Quality Milk Chocolate
A handful of Fresh Black Cherries to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C/160 Fan Oven/Gas Mark 4
2. Grease and line the bases of two 9 inch cake tins.
3. In a large mixing bowl sift together the GF flour, Baking Powder and Cocoa Powder.
4. In a separate mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.
5. In a small separate bowl add the eggs and whisk them throughly with a fork.
6. Using your electric hand mixture, beat the egg alternated with large spoonfuls of the flour mixture into the butter and sugar. Scrape the bowl down well in between additions and continue until all the egg and flour has been fully incorporated.
Then, gently fold in the milk until fully combined.
7. Carefully spoon the cake mixture into the cake tins, ensuring both tins contain equal amounts of cake mixture.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 – 25 minutes. If baking the sponges on separate shelves, remember to swap the sponges around towards the end of the bake to ensure they are evenly baked.
9. To test the sponges insert a skewer into the centre of both sponges. If the skewer comes out clean the sponges are baked.
10. Leave the sponges to cool in their tins slightly before turning them out onto cooling racks. Allow both sponges to cool completely before storing them in the fridge to chill overnight (or for a few hours, at least). This will help make the cake easier to assemble.
11. Once the sponges have been chilled you are ready to assemble your cake: Firstly, use a wire cake cutter or a sharp knife to cut each sponge half horizontally so that you are left with 4 sponges.
12. Next whip the cream with an electric hand mixer until it resembles soft peaks and gently sieve the jam so that it spreads onto the sponges easier.
13. Take your first piece of sponge and lay it flat onto your serving plate. Prick the sponge with a cocktail stick and gentle spoon over 1/2 tbsp kirsch (if using) then spread over a generous layer of cherry jam.
14. Using a palate knife gently spread a layer of cream over the the jam then place your second piece of sponge on top and repeat the steps until you have four layers of sponge and three layers of cream and jam. You should save some cream to decorate the top of the cake later.
15. Gently melt 175g of chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, saving the remaining 25g to decorate the top of the cake later.
15. Spread the chocolate over the top of the cake and leave to set.
16. Once the chocolate has set, pipe the remaining cream around the edge of cake to create a frame, then grate the remaining chocolate into the centre of the cake and gently place the fresh cherries around the the edge.
Voilà! One Black Forest Gâteau Showstopper!