Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Happy 4th blog birthday!
I can hardly believe it, but it's been FOUR years. Four fun-filled years since I started this blog - isn't it incredible? Let's hear it for four more years - at least!
As is my tradition, I'm serving up a somewhat classic Swedish cake for you. Previous years, I've made a Princess Cake, a Budapest Rolled Cake, and then Oscar II:s cake, and today, let me tell you about the Swedish version of a black forest cake. In most other countries, this cake has chocolate and cherries. In Sweden, it's meringue, hazelnuts and chocolate, with whipped cream. No chocolate sponge cake, no cherries. It's what I grew up with, and I absolutely love it - you can find it in most Swedish bakeries, and there's even a frozen version at the grocery store which isn't half bad. But making your own is easy!
I added a bit of Punsch, sweet Swedish liqueur that tastes of Arrak, to the cream. It's not traditional, but it sure is tasty. You can add something else - say, Amaretto or Frangelico for example - or just a little vanilla. I also happened to have a bit of praline paste left over from a Daring Baker's Challenge, and I added some of that to the filling as well. Delicious!
Black Forest Cake, Swedish Style
200 g hazelnuts
4 egg whites
300 ml (180 g) powdered sugar
400 ml heavy cream (35-40% fat content)
3-4 tbsp Punsch, see above, or other liqueur (more or less according to taste)
praline paste (optional)
200 g dark chocolate
1/2 tsp neutral oil (optional)
Start by grinding the hazelnuts - either in a nut grinder, or in a food processor until they're very fine. Mix with the powdered sugar. Beat the egg whites into a stiff meringue, and fold in the nut mixture. Spread (or pipe) the batter into three evenly sized circles on parchment paper. Bake at 175°C for 10-12 minutes, or until they look dry. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, before carefully removing the paper. (If it's stuck, try brushing the back of it with a little water.)
Beat the cream and add Punsch according to taste. Add praline paste if you'd like. Spread the cream in between the layers, and on top of the cake. If you want to pipe it, you need more - say, 5-600 ml.
Melt the chocolate for the decorations, either in a bain-marie or in the microwave. Add a drop of neutral oil, like corn or canola, if you want to: it'll make it a bit shinier. Spread evenly on a parchment paper, then place it on top of a baking sheet or large cutting board and place in the freezer for five minutes. Remove, and by now the chocolate should have started to set but still be a little soft. Score a square pattern in the chocolate with a sharp knife, then slide it back into the freezer to set completely. Snap the squares apart, and decorate as prettily as you can.
Serve fairly soon, this isn't something that holds up very well.
Recipe in Swedish:
Schwarzwaldtårta med punschgrädde