Black Forest Sponge

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Prep 11/2hr (+ macaron prep)Bake 18-20min (per batch)Makes 10 serves

Created by Make Me a Baker student, Allen Au for his graduation, this cake is certainly a show stopper.

Before starting the program Allen had always found making sponge cakes challenging and had almost given up on ever making another again. But, he set himself the challenge of perfecting a sponge and creating a version of Black Forest cake that his wife had always wanted him to. The result was a modern cake bursting with flavour and showcasing Allen's newly-acquired baking skills!
The sponge cake in this recipe is a version of the one students learn to make during the Make Me a Baker program. 


    Chocolate Sponge Cake (2 layers)
    Melted butter, to grease
    4 eggs, at room temperature
    150g caster sugar
    60ml milk
    30g salted butter
    110g self-raising flour
    30g cocoa powder

    Chocolate Sponge Cake (1 layer)
    Melted butter, to grease
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    75g caster sugar
    30ml milk
    15g salted butter
    55g self-raising flour
    15g cocoa powder

      Kirsch Syrup
      80g caster sugar
      90ml water
      60ml kirsch

      To Assemble
      900ml thickened cream
      200g cherry jam
      1½ x 680g jars pitted Morello cherries, drained

      To Decorate
      Chocolate bark (see Baker's tips)
      10 Maraschino cherries with stems, drained
      2 Cadbury Cherry Ripe double-dipped chocolate bar, cut into 3-4 pieces
      1½ Cadbury Flake bar, broken into fine pieces
      3 cherry macarons (get Allen's Cherry Macaron recipe HERE)

        Chocolate Sponge Cake Layers

        1. To make the Chocolate sponge cake layers, place the oven rack in the oven so that the cake tins will sit in the middle of the oven and then preheat to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush two 20cm shallow cake tins with melted butter to grease and line the base of each with a sheet of non-stick baking paper. You will need to reuse one of the cake tins to make the third sponge layer later.
        2. To make the first two layers of sponge, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed to whisk the 4 eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until the mixture is very thick and pale (this will take about 8 minutes). Lift the whisk out of the mixture and draw a figure eight. If the trail stays on the surface long enough to finish drawing, then the mixture is ready. If not, continue to whisk for a further minute.
        3. Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the warm milk mixture down the side of the mixing bowl. Quickly sift the flour and cocoa powder together over the egg mixture and then immediately whisk again with the electric mixer on low speed briefly until the flour mixture is just incorporated (be careful not to overmix). Scrape the base of the bowl and then whisk briefly again, if necessary.
        4. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins (see Baker’s tips) and gently tap the tins on the benchtop three times to settle the mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched in the centre and start pulling away from the sides of the tins. Remove from the oven and immediately use a small palette knife to loosen the sides of the sponges from the tins and turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
        5. Repeat steps 1–4 using the ingredients to make one more layer of sponge.

        Kirsch Syrup

        1. Combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Stir in the kirsch. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

        To Assemble

        1. When ready to assemble the cake, use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Place one of the sponge layers on a serving plate or cake stand. Use a pastry brush to generously brush the whole top surface with about one-third of the kirsch mixture. Spread half the jam over the top and then spread with enough whipped cream to create a layer about 1cm thick. Sprinkle with half the drained morello cherries. Repeat with the remaining sponge layers, kirsch syrup, morello cherries and cream layer, finishing with a sponge layer and kirsch syrup.
        2. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the sides and top of the cake to cover.
        3. To decorate, attach the chocolate bark to the outside of the cake. Decorate the cake with the Maraschino cherries, chocolate bars, and macarons.

          Baker's Tips

          • To divide the mixture evenly between the tins, weigh the tins with the mixture in them to make sure they are the same weight.
          • To make chocolate bark, spread melted dark chocolate thinly over a piece of baking paper, making sure the width is similar to the height that your final cake will be. Place a second piece of baking paper over the chocolate to cover. Roll the two sheets of baking paper together into a thin cylinder. Secure with bulldog clips or pegs on both ends. Place in the fridge until set and ready to use. To use the chocolate bark, carefully remove the baking paper and break to desired widths.