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Challenge Accepted!

So Dana asked me to post her blog post today because she couldn’t get it to work, so Dad emailed me her post. What’s a girl to do? It’s not like I can’t not mess with her and her post. Smile

You know what’s awesome? (ME!)

Being on vacation. You know what’s…we’ll call it not as awesome? (Dana!)

Working in a kitchen that’s not your own.(Its true. I hate working in Dana’s kitchen) Don’t get me wrong, it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things, but there are always adjustments that need to be made when you’re not in your comfort zone. It all started when I asked my dad on the phone last week what he wanted me to make him while we were at the beach together this week. I thought he would choose something I’ve, you know, done before and was good at. Nope. My dad chooses black forest cake, which I have never made in my whole life. True, I did make the black forest cupcakes during my last trial in The Baker’s Quest. That’s not quite the same, though. With black forest cake you have tricky things like layers. Well, I do enjoy a good challenge, so I said yes.

Jenny’s Black Forest Cake
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 ¾ cups AP flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
  • ½ cup cherry liquor
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Make sour milk by combining milk and vinegar. Set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, coffee, and vanilla. Stir in the sour milk. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool completely before filling.
4. To make cherry filling: Combine the cherry pie filling and cherry liquor. Refrigerate cherry mixture until chilled, then fill cake.

Many thanks to my friend Jenn for finding this recipe for me. I will say that you probably should leave the cherry liquor out to make this a kid-friendly recipe as well.(Speaking as a person with kids – leave it in. The ½ cup will not hurt and maybe they’ll go to bed sooner! Of course my kids are a little older. The younger ones should probably stay away. :) )
The first step in this challenge was to not spend a fortune on ingredients in Nags Head, most of which I already had at home, including instant coffee. I also measured all my dry ingredients that I would have to sift into a large, plastic container. This comes in handy later, as you will see.
Here’s my loot, all packed up together in a large paper bag with handles. Pretty clever, huh? The only things I didn’t include were the refrigerated items. (Doesn’t loot imply gold doubloons or something?)
Okay, maybe not so clever. Five minutes into the trip, we hit a bump and the bag split open. Everything arrived safely, though. (LOL! Ok so I’m mean for laughing, but had it happened to me…I’d have still laughed)
Okay, time to cook! You can’t really see it here, but this was the milk after I had added the vinegar. It was…chunky. Ew. Reminds me of those times we would misplace our milk glasses as kids and then find them days later. Kind of gross…(What a delicious thing to discuss while sharing a recipe! Speaking of which…..where’s this morning’s sippy cup)
Mmmmmm, coffee. I feel like any cake with this in it is bound to be good…(That is not enough coffee. You need at least twice that much…or maybe it’s me that needs twice that much)
To prepare my pans, I melted some butter and poured it into the pans. Then I used a paper towel to spread it all over the pans. Finally, I used about a spoonful of sifted cake mix in each pan to coat the sides in powdery goodness. Using the cake mix instead of flour keeps your chocolate cake from having white flour all over the edges.(Why is it that you’ve never made me a cake?)
When mixing the wet and the dry ingredients, I spooned about three of four heaping tablespoons at a time of the cake mix into the egg mixture and then used my hand mixer to mix it in until just combined.
Tadaa! Cake batter. This smelled amazing all on its own. It tasted really good when I got to lick the bowl too. J(You know better. Raw eggs are not good for you. Lets not get the chillins’ drunk off a ½ cup but lets dig into Salmonella! You know I love you. I’m just bitter that I was stuck in VA while you were in OBX)
Everybody into the pool! I really do say things like that when I cook. I think I get that from watching too many cooking shows. They all tend to do that too. Or maybe it just comes naturally when someone is really into cooking.(Or maybe you’re all just a little off?)
While that cake was baking, I mixed up the filling. Like I said, just take the liquor out and this will be just fine for kids. This was also just before disaster struck. (I don’t possibly see how anything disastrous could happen with you in the kitchen) J
I managed to knock the liquor bottle over into the stove when I was trying to put the cork back in. I don’t know if you can see it here, but the whole middle section of the recipe got soaked.(Shenanigans! You were hitting the sauce to hard!)
See how well my cake mix preparation worked? The cake is completely separate from the pan.
Just cover the cake pan with a plate, hold on tight, and flip. It comes out beautifully.
Okay, so the filling got a little out of hand. I poured it all on…and it spread. Oh well, I had my mum help me get the cake into my hands—she handled the flipping of the plate while I held onto the cake—and then gently placed it on top.
I drained some of the filling and then poured it on top of the cake. What can I say? Waste not want not.
Beautiful! I just wish I had had some maraschino cherries to put on top, but I didn’t and it was dinner time. Also, the whipped cream eventually fell off of the sides because it is a lazy slacker of an ingredient! Oh well again, it was still delicious. Next time I will only put whipped cream on the top. (Next time get whipped icing and in your middle layer make a ring just inside the edges then put your cherries in. Instant cherry dam! You could also do the same thing with regular whipped topping, but it will eventually melt)

Let me tell you why this recipe is awesome. Number one, it’s delicious. Duh. Number two, it has coffee in it, which Mike hates, but he ate this up like there was no tomorrow. Number three, my dad, who is a black forest cake connoisseur, gave this an A+. Trust me when I say that he wasn’t just being nice because I’m his daughter. My dad is totally the type of guy to give his honest option no matter who you are. I think you know what you need to do: Make this, eat it, love it. (Get your sister to make it for you, since she has never made you a cake!)

Dana and Heather!

One of these days I'm going to teach Dana about labels. :)

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