Black forest celebration cake
Photo by Tam West
This cake has a flavour combination that almost everyone loves — I have served it at kids’ birthday parties and at weddings. For this version I have used cherries, but as we’re at the very tail end of the season you might like to use another seasonal fruit or even leave the fruit out altogether. If you can get hold of freeze dried cherries or raspberries, they make a lovely addition to the vanilla cream layers.
This recipe requires a little more work than my usual ones, and contains a few ingredients you may not have hanging around in the pantry, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort, and is a fun way to discover new ingredients and techniques. I have made this in a small cake tin with many layers, but you could also opt for making this in a larger cake tin with fewer layers.
For the wet ingredients
|1 cup||Dates, soaked for 2-4 hours|
|⅓ cup||Almond milk|
|1 tsp||Vanilla extract|
|¼ cup||Melted cold-pressed coconut oil|
|3 Tbsp||Cacao butter, melted|
For the dry ingredients
For the vanilla cream frosting and to serve
- Strain the soaked dates, then place in a blender with the water, almond milk and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Slowly add the melted coconut oil and cacao butter, and blend again until smooth.
- Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Lightly mix until well combined and there are no lumps of almond pulp.
- Add wet ingredients to the dry, and mix with a fork, or whisk until well combined but still fluffy. You don’t want to overmix it, it’s essential to keep as much fluffiness in the cake mixture as you can. Set aside.
- To prepare the coconut cream frosting, strain and rinse the soaked cashews, then place in a high speed blender with the coconut flesh, almond milk, vanilla extract, agave and salt. Blend, adding enough water to get a smooth consistency. With the blender still running, slowly pour in the coconut oil and set aside.
- To assemble the cake, line a 15cm round cake tin with plastic wrap. Press ¼ of the cake mixture into the bottom and pour ⅓ of the frosting on top. Add a few cherries over the cream, pressing them in. Place in the freezer for 30–40 minutes to set the frosting, then press the next quarter of the cake mixture on top, followed by another ⅓ of the frosting and cherries, and leave to set. Repeat for the next layers, finishing with a layer of the cake mixture. Leave to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours or until the cream has set.
- To serve, dust with extra cacao powder, top with chocolate curls and serve with whole fresh cherries. This will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days, or alternatively you could leave out the fresh fruits and store in the freezer for several months. Defrost before serving.
Almond pulp People often ask how to use leftover pulp from making almond milk and this recipe is a great way of doing that. When you make almond milk, you basically blend soaked almonds with water (it’s that easy), then squeeze it through a nut milk bag or muslin cloth to remove the pulp. You can store pulp in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer.
Young coconut flesh This is the white flesh you find inside a young coconut (the white or green-husked coconuts, not the hard brown ones). To get 1 cup of coconut flesh you will need 2-3 coconuts. The best way to learn how to open the coconut and get the flesh out is to Youtube it or, if you have my first book The Unbakery, there is a step-by-step guide. Not up for the coconut opening mission? Just substitute cashews for the young coconut in the vanilla cream recipe.