Hand in hand with Christmas excitement and the feeling of being truly festive is the indulgence in an array of festive foods, and (even though Christmas Dinner will always be the pinnacle), a delicious home baked dessert is key to complete the day with a scrumptious twist.
This week, we have taken inspiration from Katie Quinn Davies from her ever impressive ‘What Katie Ate‘ recipe and photography blog to bring you a home baked recipe that is sure to become a favourite every festive season, whilst also looking beautiful at any Christmas gathering or dinner party.
The Black Forest Style Christmas Berry Gateau is a sweet treat that you don’t have to be a baking enthusiast to enjoy making. Opt to bake the cake from scratch or, as we all know Christmas is a manic time, there is the choice to make this recipe from a cake mix and then garnish as normal. Sugar coated with cherries, fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and redcurrants alongside mascarpone and whipped cream, frost with dark chocolate, pouring cream and a tablespoon of Kirsch liqueur for a unmistakable Yule tide flavour. To finish this dessert in ultimate style also sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar to create a rustic look!
Sure to make a delightful dessert this festive season, simply follow the step by step recipe below and set off Christmas day in delicious home baked style…
6 free-range eggs
220 g caster sugar
350 g good quality dark chocolate
~ 200 g broken into small pieces, the rest set aside in the fridge
75 g plain flour, sifted
4 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
4 tablespoons Kirsch liqueur
For the filling:
200 g mascarpone
150 ml cream, whipped
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
50 g good quality milk chocolate, very finely chopped or shaved finely
400 g morello cherries, drained
400 g fresh black or red cherries, pitted
100 g fresh raspberries
100 g fresh mulberries (optional ~ if you can’t get them don’t worry, omit or use raspberries/blackberries etc)
100 g fresh blueberries
For the frosting:
350 g good quality dark chocolate
250 ml pouring cream
Splash of milk
1 tablespoons Kirsch liqueur
Icing sugar for dusting
1.Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan forced, grease and then line the base and sides of two 20 cm round spring form pans with baking parchment.
2.Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs for 5 minutes on medium speed until pale and frothy. Add the caster sugar and continue to whisk until thick and pale. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and melt the 200 g of chocolate in a small heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan without touching the water, stirring occasionally.
3.Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the flour and cocoa into the whisked egg and sugar mixture, followed by the melted chocolate, and combine well. Pour into the prepared cake tins and bake for about 20-25 minutes of until a skewer comes out clean. (Timing of the baking will depend on your individual oven, they may take a little longer than this 20-25 min guideline, so just keep an eye on them once they go into the oven).
4.Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool a little before removing from the tins and transferring to wire racks to cook completely.
5.When cooled, drizzle 2 tablespoons of Kirsch Liqueur (Kirsch is cherry flavoured liqueur) over the base of each sponge and allow to soak in (you can add more if you like). If you want you can bake the cake sponges the night before serving as overnight the liqueur will really get a chance to flavour the sponge.
6.To assemble the cake ~ place one of the sponges onto a serving plate. Add the mascarpone and whipped cream to a mixing bowl, stir to combine then add the chopped chocolate and vanilla bean seeds, carefully combing before dolloping onto the top of the sponge on the serving plate. Spread the cream out evenly, but leave a 2cm gap around the edge so when you place the second sponge on top, all the cream won’t ooze too much out around the sides. Top the cream with the drained morello cherries and half the fresh pitted ones. Then follow with half the raspberries, mulberries, blueberries etc. Place the second sponge on top.
7.To make the ganache: chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat-proof bowl. Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat until almost boiling then simmer over low-medium heat for a minute or two. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Note ~ it’s super important you do not touch the mixture until 4 or 5 minutes have passed, if not there’s a good chance the ganache will split. If it does, you can normally rectify it by beating with a Bamix or regular stick mixer.
8.After 5 minutes, stir the chocolate and cream together until thick, smooth and glossy, add the milk and the Kirsch then pour over the cake. If you do indeed use a packet cake mix and they include a pouch of chocolate frosting, add it to the ganache now.
9.Scatter all the remaining berries on top of the cake and dust with icing sugar. Serve.