Summer calls for food that is seasonal and light. When you google summer dessert you’re mostly overrun with fruit trifles and different (read: gimmicky) ways to make a watermelon look like a cake. Neither of these are among my favourite food trends for obvious reasons. Simplicity is in, kitschy is out. Use in-season produce (and local) if you can, but whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just throwing together dessert for yourself: overdoing it is never necessary and won’t impress anyone.
Traditional Black Forest Cake, known formally as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in Germany is made with fresh cherries, whipped cream topping, shaved chocolate, and a ton of Kirsch (cherry liqueur). It is not supposed to be made overly sweet or with any type of canned cherry pie filling. This is a cake you’re likely to see in your supermarket if you live in North America, but this supermarket version is not the real thing (shame on you and your maraschino cherries!). This is a lighter, simpler, and deconstructed version of the former dessert, perfect for summer and for those not wanting to scarf down excessive sugar and whipped cream.
It’s been two days since returning from my very first visit to Montreal, and I have to say it’s quite an impressive city with a ton of culture to offer. Though Toronto is a mammoth and more culturally diverse (49% of it’s population being made up of those born outside of Canada) Montreal is still known as the food capital of Canada. For good reason. Among many great places to eat and fascinating cuisines to try, are the years-famous traditional hot spots such as Schwartz’s for your smoked meat sandwich, St. Viateur for your morning bagel, and numerous hole in the wall joints for everybody’s favourite: poutine. All these are incredibly famous spots boasting heavy traffic for over 50 years- reason to go if you ask me! We hit all of the typical joints plus: Au Pied de Cochon, Jean-Talon Market, Maison Christian Faure, as well as a great Burmese restaurant dubbed Ruby Burma. All fantastic. All this anvil-like heavy eating paired with a mass load of walking and some incredibly blazing hot sun for the first few days- and we were rendered pretty much wiped out. All in all it was a fantastic trip and a great way to experience a new city: all by foot, and eating your way across it. There’s no way I’d rather do it!
Other ventures of note on this trip: the International Jazz Festival of Montreal, Montreal Botanical Gardens, the Old Port/Old Montreal, and block after block of fantastic street art.
Now it’s back to Toronto, ‘reality’, and of course some rain downpour. I can’t complain really, it’s a good excuse to stay off my feet for a day and just putz around the house. Today’s achievements include: laundry, from-scratch pizza (for my recipe click here), and of course… summery black forest cake for cheaters.
Black Forest Cake for cheaters: yields one 9 inch cake
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup + 1 TB cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup coffee or espresso
1/2 cup milk
vanilla, to taste
The Meringue: (use 1 egg white per 2 persons)
1 egg white @ room temp
2 TB sugar
The Cherries: (use one full handful per 2 persons)
1 full handful fresh cherries
1 – 1+1/2 TB sugar
-Preheat oven to 350 F.
-In a large mixing bowl whisk together the first 5 ingredients for the cake. Whisk together the remaining 6 ingredients in a separate vessel, and then gradually stir this wet mixture into the dry ingredients using a whisk to combine the two into a smooth, thin batter. Stir until there are no lumps.
-Pour the cake batter into a 9 inch round cake pan lined with a piece of parchment paper along the bottom, and bake for 10-12 mins. After the first 10-12 minutes rotate the cake and bake for an additional 15 mins or until the cake bounces back in the center when you press down with your finger.
-When the cake is ready remove it from the oven, rest for 5-10 mins and then unmold onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
-Remove the pits from the cherries, slice all in half, and place half of them in a small sauce pot with the sugar and a tiny spash of water, and cook over low heat until cherries are tender, have released their juices and a nice sticky sauce has developed. Be sure to stir frequently.
-Remove the cherries from the stove, cook to room temperature, and stir in the remaining half of the fruit. This creates a nice textural and flavour contrast: some sweet cooked cherries, and some tart crunchy ones. Rest cherries at room temperature while you prepare the meringue.
-In a large bowl whisk the egg white until it’s beginning to look foamy and white. Slowly add the sugar one sprinkling at a time, and whisk vigorously until shiny stiff peaks form.
-Spoon the cherries with the juices on top of slices of the chocolate devils food cake, and top with meringue. You can add a little vanilla to the meringue if you like as well.
Eh voila! Easy peasy.
Healthier than a trough of poutine at least, right?
Some shots from Montreal…
As you can see… a feast for the stomach and the eyes. Wonderful.
Ciao for now guys!