Recipe: Blackberry forest cake

Berries and chocolate are hero ingredients of this cake.
MANJA WACHSMUTH

Berries and chocolate are hero ingredients of this cake.

This sizeable, slightly messy and gloriously over-the-top take on the German speciality is a magnificent way to showcase blackberries. Any leftover cake will keep covered in the fridge for a couple of days. 

INGREDIENTS

125g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa), broken into pieces
300g plain flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
125g butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 orange, finely grated zest 
250g sour cream
¾ cup boiling water

Chocolate ganache:

120g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa), finely chopped
150ml cream
2 teaspoons maple syrup

Filling:

¼ cup blackberry nip or Cointreau
¾ cup blackberry jam
500ml cream, whipped
250g blackberries (fresh or thawed) 
Extra blackberries to garnish (include leaves and blossom if available)

METHOD

Heat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the bases of 3 x 20cm round cake tins.  

Cakes: Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.  

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In a large bowl cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Gradually add beaten eggs followed by vanilla, orange zest and melted chocolate.  

Fold in a third of the dry ingredients then half the sour cream. Repeat, finishing with dry ingredients. When fully mixed, add boiling water and mix until smooth.  

Divide mixture between pans and bake 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes before turning out on a wire rack. 

Chocolate ganache: Bring cream to the boil. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, pour cream over and stir until chocolate has melted. Add maple syrup and stir until smooth. Let ganache cool and thicken to desired consistency before using.  

To assemble, place 1 layer of cake on a serving plate, drizzle with a third of the alcohol and spread with half the jam, half the blackberries and half the cream (if you want the cake to look a bit tidier, use a little less cream and save the rest to serve on the side). Add the second layer and repeat. 

Top with the final cake layer and sprinkle over remaining alcohol. Pour over and spread the ganache, letting it drizzle down the sides. Decorate with extra berries, leaves and blossom if available.  

Makes 1 x 3-layer cake, serves 12

 - NZ House & Garden

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