Gluten Free and Eggless Black Forest Cake

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Ignoring the sloppy frosting on the second picture (I’m a bit out of practice), isn’t she beautiful! This traditional black forest cake is so simple and delightful to make, that it surprises me that I hadn’t tried it earlier. Nowadays its a bit harder for me to bake, due to IB, College admissions, SATs etc, but being my source of relaxation, its still something I absolutely love doing. I baked this for my father’s birthday, and he loved it! Making this iconic cake gluten free and eggless was not that challenging, which means it should be great for you to make at home as well! Mind you, while making this cake there will be too many instances where you just want to stick your finger in the bowl and have a lick of whichever part of the cake you’re making, be it the rich chocolate cake batter, the delightfully sticky fresh cherry filling, or the light and airy whipped cream.

Cake recipe adapted from: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY’S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake

Ingredients:
For the chocolate cake:
1-3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Egg free equivalent of 2 egg
1 cup boiling water

For the fresh cherry filling:
1-1/2 cup cherries, pitted and halved
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the whipped cream:
2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For decoration:
1 bar of chocolate, refrigerated for at least 1 hour (so it has hardened)
8 cherries, with the stem

Procedure:
For the chocolate cake:
Preheat your oven to. 180C, and line and grease 2 9″ round cake pans.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl, and whisk well. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, milk, vanilla extract and egg replacer, and mix with an electric mixer (though an immersion blender is the best for this).
Add the flour mixture in 3 instalments, mixing well between each addition.
Stir in the boiling water (The batter will be rather thin at this point).

Pour into your pans, and bake for about 27 minutes.
Remove when an inserted toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached, or until the cake has started pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Let the cakes cool before assembly.

For the fresh cherry filling:

While the cakes are baking, prepare the cherry filling.
In a small/medium saucepan, cook the cherries on medium heat for about 15 minutes, until they have released quite a bit of juice.

In a small separate bowl, mix the cornstarch and sugar. Spoon around 2-3 tablespoons of the hot cherry juice into the small bowl, and mix with the cornstarch-sugar mixture. Then, pour this mixture back into the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking for a while until the mixture has thickened.

Let the mixture cool while waiting for the cakes to cool.

For the whipping cream and chocolate shavings:
While the cakes and cherry filling are cooling, prepare the shaved chocolate. Place the chocolate bar smooth side up on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, scrape the top surface of the chocolate, producing shavings. (Click here for a video demonstration). I made about 1-1/4 cup worth of chocolate curls. Place in the fridge.

For the whipped cream, place the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, using a stand or electric mixer, whip until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge if still waiting for the cake or the filling to cool.

Assembly:
Once everything has cooled (this is really important, as the whipped cream may melt if the cake is too warm), place one of the chocolate cake layers on your cake stand. Place some whipped cream on the bottom cake layer (about 3/4 cups, but this is just an approximate measurement). Top with the cooled fresh cherry filling, and spread with a serrated knife.

Place the second chocolate cake layer on top of this, and spread the whipped cream evenly around the top and sides of the cake.

Then, with your palm, cover the bottom half of the sides of the cake with the chocolate shavings, patting them in place gently.

Fill a piping bag with the remaining whipped cream, and pipe a decorative circle in the centre of the cake. Place the cherries on this circle, and fill the center of the circle with the chocolate shavings. (This is just how I decorated it, you should decorate it in whichever way you want – get creative!).

Enjoy!

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