February 14th has never really been the day for lovers, but more the day for love in a different way, as it was my grandfather's birthday. A man I have more respect, admiration and appreciation for than I could never form into words that would not fall short to what he really deserves. A man who was kind and honest. Benevolent. A man who met not the fate in a way he deserved.
This day will always be his birthday but of course, Valentine's Day is becoming more important as well. Giving it a bit more thought, the idea of a day that reminds happy couples how great and valuable it is what they have is quite appealing in its essence. However, the execution fairly often somewhat questionable. When shiny things and expensive gifts become the main focus – and especially when the lack of such result in tears and tantrums – maybe the relationship is not so valuable after all. Like I said, mixed feelings on so many levels.
But yes, in the end, I have decided to think up something for Valentine's Day.
Something that I am sure you are happy to know is rather quick to make (considering the date, it is last minute, isn't it?) but does not come short in decadence and sophistication. The ingredient that certainly makes it a grown-up cake is red wine and you will only need so much that there is still enough left to enjoy along with it. Cherries and red wine go together perfectly.
Oh yes, before I forget. Over the week-end, I finally found some time to do minor additions to the blog that were more than needed. For one thing, there now is a 'About'-page where you can read a little bit about the author of this blog, who would be me. For another thing, there now is a Facebook page for this blog. So if you like what you see and read, feel free to like me on FaceyB and be informed about every update and maybe some tidbids that come to my mind. :)
The only tricky thing with this recipe is that you need to flip the first cake over.
Cherry & Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Makes 16 slices
For the cake:
As you bake two layers, you will need this amount of ingredients TWICE. I would not recommend making the double amount at once.
- 250g (8.8 oz) all-purpose flour
- 50g (1.8 oz) dutch process cocoa powder
- 150ml (5 fl. oz) oil (I used canola oil)
- 1tblsp. (15g or a sachet) baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 75ml (2.5 fl. oz) strong coffee
- 275ml (9.3 fl. oz) milk
- 250g (8.8 oz) sugar
For the filling:
- 150g (5.3 oz) sugar
- 200ml (6.8 fl. oz) red wine
- 4-16g (0.15-0.56 oz) agar agar (this depends crucially on the kind and brand of agar agar you are using. Best thing you can do is to read the instructions on the package. I used the amount needed for 1000ml or 33.4 fl. oz. The amazing thing about agar agar is that the process can be undone, which means that you can simply re-heat the mass and add some more of it in case it was not firm enough. So all you can basically lose is time but no ingredients!)
- 1 complete jar of cherries (mine had 680g including the juice which I used as well. The complete filling for the cake should make about 1000ml or 33.4 fl. oz, so when your jar contains more or less than mine, I would simply balance it out with red wine)
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients for the cake with a wooden spoon.
- Spread on a sheet pan about 42,5x36x3cm in size (the equivalent would be 13x18x1''. It does not matter much if the size of the pan is slightly different) lined with parchment paper. Bake on centre rack for 10 minutes or until a stick comes out clean. Let the whole pan cool down.
- In the meantime, repeat step no. 2.
- Remove first cake from pan, lay on a flat and clean surface.
- Use the now empty sheet pan again for step no. 3.
- While the second layer cools down, blend cherries along with the red wine until smooth either in a blender or with a hand blender (before you do this, you may want to check whether there are still some pits left in some of the cherries).
- In a medium pot, pour in mixture,combine with sugar and agar agar. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Pour over the layer of chocolate cake that is still in the pan.
- Let it cool off completely until it is firm (This will probably take way less time than you would expect).
- Carefully lay first cake layer on top of the filling.