For my husband’s 30th birthday I was determined to make something extra special to mark the occasion. After suggesting a number of different cakes he mentioned he rather fancied a black forest gateau so I started working on an entremet recipe that would embody all the flavours but in a more delicate form. It came out pretty damn well all things considered! You really can’t go wrong with chocolate, cherry and vanilla – it’s a match made in heaven.
Black Forest Entremet
Makes: 10 portions
Time: 6-7 hours + overnight chilling/freezer time
- Extendable cake ring or 2 cake tins (1 x 8″ at least 3″ deep and 1 x 6″)
- Handheld mixer
- Digital thermometer
- Piping bag
- 2 layers of Alhambra chocolate sponge
- Cherry jam (best quality you can find & approx 1/2 jar)
- Kirsh soaked cherries (approx 1/4 jar)
- Chocolate mousse
- Vanilla bavarois cream
- Dark chocolate mirror glaze
- To decorate:
- Fresh cherries
- Edible gold leaf /gold dust
Alhambra Chocolate Sponge
- 200g whole eggs (roughly 4)
- 50g egg yolks
- 80g caster sugar
- 26g flour
- 25g cornflower
- 30g cocoa powder
- 100g unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 190°C and line your baking tins/trays with a non-stick baking paper. You can either use 3 small trays or 3 round cake tins with the mix distributed equally between them.
Make a sabayon by putting the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a clean bowl and whisking the mix over a bain-marie to 37°C. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and continue to whisk until it reaches the ribbon stage (lift the whisk and the mix should fall back on itself and a trail will be left across the surface that should hold shape for a moment, before sinking back into the mix). Melt the butter on low in the microwave.
Carefully fold the sifted flour, cocoa and cornflour into the sabayon using a spatula. When it is around three quarters folded through take 2 large scoops of the sabayon and mix it into the melted butter. Then add the butter mix into the sabayon and fold through until fully incorporated. Pour the mix onto three lined baking tins/trays (spreading evenly with a palette knife if using trays) and bake in a pre-heated oven for 8-10 mins. You’ll know when it’s done as the sponge will spring back when pressed gently. Leave to cool and then use immediately or freeze for up to a month. You’ll need two layers for this, you can freeze the 3rd or making mini versions in ramekins with the remaining sponge and mousse/cream etc.
- 150 ml whipping Cream
- 45g caster Sugar
- 25ml water
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 egg white
- 2g gelatine leaves
- 110g dark chocolate (70%)
Whisk the whipping cream until it reaches soft peaks. Place the gelatine in a bowl of cold water until it softens and then remove excess water and put aside. Melt the chocolate with the sugar in a bain-marie over a simmering saucepan of water, stirring frequently until mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and add the gelatine, stirring until mixture is smooth and glossy. Whisk in the egg yolks and then leave to cool for 5 minutes. Fold in the whipped cream.
Finally whisk your egg whites until they reach stiff peaks and then fold in your chocolate, mixing gently until fully incorporated. Use immediately.
Vanilla bavarois cream
- 375ml milk
- 3/4 vanilla pod
- 60g egg yolks (about 3)
- 60g caster sugar
- 9g gelatine leaves
- 340ml whipping cream
Start by making a custard: Put the milk into a saucepan, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and then put this as well as the pod into the pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl start whisking together the egg yolks and sugar until they are well combined and light in colour. Pour half of the boiled milk mix onto the eggs and mix well. Return this back to the saucepan of milk and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until it thickens (coats the back of a spoon) and reaches a temp of 82-84 °C.
Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes until it softens. Squeeze out excess water and add to custard. Strain the custard into a bowl and then pop in an ice bain marie and whisk for a minute. Once the custard has cooled down take it out of the ice otherwise it will set too fast. In a separate bowl whip the cream to ribbon stage and then fold this into the cooled custard. Use immediately.
Dark chocolate mirror glaze
- 12g gelatine leaves
- 155ml water
- 200g caster sugar
- 112ml double cream
- 33g cocoa powder
- 33g dark chocolate finely chopped (I used 70%#0
Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 3-4 minutes until it softens and then squeeze out the excess water. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer for 3-4 mins. Add the chocolate, sifted cocoa and cream into the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatine until fully incorporated. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and then leave to cool down to 33-34 degrees (anything higher will melt the mousse!). At this point stir gently, don’t whisk otherwise you’ll get air bubbles.
I used the left over egg whites to make mine but you only need a few meringues to decorate with so I’d suggest you either freeze some of the egg white, or use half to make bigger meringues or a small pavlova.
- 4 egg whites
- 220g caster sugar
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 110 degrees. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then add the cider vinegar and sugar bit by bit until fully incorporated. When you have nice glossy mix you can pipe small kisses on baking parchment and then bake for 45 mins. Leave to cool and store in an airtight container. Use just before serving as they may go soggy in the fridge.
- For the insert:
- You’ll need two layers of chocolate sponge, cut these to size of your smaller cake tin or ring and place one in the bottom.
- Soak the first sponge with some of the kirsch liquor from the cherries.
- Warm up 1/4 jar of cherry jam in the microwave for 30 seconds and then spread this over the sponge.
- Pour over 1/2 of the chocolate mousse.
- Place the second sponge on top and soak with more of the kirsch liquor.
- Place kirsch soaked cherries over the sponge.
- Pour over the remaining mousse.
- Cover and leave to rest for 30 mins in the fridge.
- Warm up a 1/4 jar of cherry jam in the microwave until liquid and drizzle over the mousse.
- Cover the insert and freeze over night.
- Remove the insert from your ring or cake tin. You can use a warm towel around the tin to loosen it.
- If you’re using an extendable cake ring: Line the bottom/outside with clingfilm and then place within a larger cake tin. If using a larger cake tin make make sure you use a spring form tin and line it with clingfilm too.
- Place the insert in the middle and fill with the vanilla bavarois cream until the insert is covered and you have a nice smooth layer. Pop any air bubbles and smooth out with a palette knife before it sets.
- Cover and place in the fridge for 30mins and then move to freezer for min 4 hours.
- Take the entremet out of the freezer, de-mould from tin/ring and gently brush off any ice that may have formed. You can use the warm towel method to help de-mould.
- Cover a can or a baking tin that has a smaller circumference than the entremet with cling film and sit it on top.
- Pour the glaze over the frozen entremet and leave it to set for 10 mins. Run a sharp knife around the bottom edge of the cake to trim the excess glaze (any leftover can be scraped into a Tupperware and frozen). Remember the glaze will need to be at room temperature before use so if you’ve made this in advance and stored in the fridge you’ll need to melt it down again in a saucepan on low heat and leave to cool on the side until it’s reached 33-34 degrees.
- Sprinkle over some edible gold dust/leaf and then carefully move it onto your serving plate and leave in the fridge to defrost for 6-8 hours.
- Just before serving decorate with fresh cherries, mini meringues and some edible gold dust/leaf.