First Commission! Black Forest Gateaux

Things have been a little silent on the cakey front recently; between disobidient wisdom teeth and an unfortunate case of dry rot (that’s the house, not my…er, anyway) I’ve not really been in the mood to make anything – until this weekend just gone.

A standard work tradition is for whomever’s birthday it is, they bring in cake or other treats for the rest of the office. Seems a little backwards as surely you should be the recipient of delicious things on your day? Regardless, one of my co-workers, Deb, asked me to make a cake for her instead of getting a shop-bought one.

This was both extremely flattering – my first commission?! – and a little stressful, as the pressure is there to deliver.

She decided (eventually!) on a Black Forest Gateaux which is another thing I’ve never tried to make. I used the recipe from Caroline Bretherton’s wonderful Step by Step baking book which, for an idiot like me has an array of pictures guiding you along how to make the cake.

The cake itself was pretty simple (whip together eggs and sugar, then add the flour, chocolate, melted butter and vanilla essence and off you go). I was nearly caught out by how much egg and sugar multiply when whipped but got away with it with a cheeky bowl (that’s BOWL) change.

Decorating it was far trickier – first cutting it into three pieces was nerve wracking (trying to get it the same height all the way around and then making sure it was cut all the way through to avoid any tears). I didn’t put any kirsch in as work has a strict non-alcohol policy, and although the recipe called for grated chocolate to be pressed against cream-laded sides of the cake, as the sides were vertical this seemed mostly impossible. So I now have a box of grated chocolate in the freezer for use at some point.

Here is the final result! Deb seemed happy with it which was the main things, and it has made me excited to get baking again – which is handy, because the latest installment of the Cardiff Branch clandestine cake club was held today – so another update with plenty of cake porn will be forthcoming!


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