Quick cocktail party appetizers #3 — Gluten-Free Black Forest Cakelets

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The layers are kinda hard to distinguish, but there are four layers of cake and three of filling.

Yes, yes — this isn’t an appetizer; that’s confession #1.  But this is Part 3 of my “series” about a not-so-recent bourbon tasting / cocktail party.  This was my dessert offering and it’s gluten-free!  Confession #2 — this really isn’t a Black Forest Cake.  Actually this is a version of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Chocolate Feather Bed, which is the background image of my blog.  One variation is that I have a middle layer of cherry preserves — so not a real Black Forest cake.  I do make a mean Black Forest Cake though!  And Black Forest Cake Day is on March 28th (which is my blogiversary in case I didn’t mention it before 🙂  And I think I’ve figured out my blogiversary give-away, but more on that later).  Confession #3 — it’s not exactly quick.  The cake itself bakes in 16 minutes, so that part is quick, but there is a lot of chilling involved, which takes time.

In my opinion, this cake is definitely better presented pre-sliced, as opposed to whole.  If it was whole, it would look like a giant chocolate slab covered with chocolate curls.  Which might not be too bad, if that’s what you’re going for.  But again — just my opinion.  It might be nice to have a giant chocolate block on your table; it could be reminiscent of the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001:  A Space Odyssey.  What a great theme party!!!  Everyone could wear space suits or ape suits, you could use one of those pod things as an entry portal, or maybe make one of those warp-light-tube thingies, and just play the Blue Danube on a loop.  But I digress, here’s what you need:

My ganache was a little bit grainy here. If that happens to you and you want to fix it, just re-melt the ganache and re-chill and re-whip. It's very forgiving. This is from a cake I made a while ago, but it stays truer to the original recipe (sans cherries).

For the cake:  (you will need 2 batches)

  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 c. sugar, plus 2 T.
  • 3/4 t. cream of tartar
  • chocolate curls (for garnish — I used dark, milk, and white chocolate just to add some visual interest)
  • Cherry preserves

1.  Coat a half sheet pan (17 1/4″ x 12 1/4″ x 1″) with shortening and line with parchment with a 2″ overhang.  Spray parchment with baking spray with flour (like Baker’s Joy or something like that).

2.  Preheat the over to 350 degrees F.  Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and allow to heat for about 20 minutes, which should be more than enough time to put together the batter.

3.  Melt the chocolate in a bowl (either in the microwave or over a double boiler).  Allow to cool until still fluid but no longer warm to the touch.

4.  Beat the yolks and 1/4 c. sugar in the bowl of a mixer on high for 5 minutes, until ribbon stage.  Scrape the chocolate into the bowl and mix on medium until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.  Transfer to another bowl.

5.  In a very clean bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  With the beater off, add the cream of tartar; beat on medium until soft peak stage.  Raise the speed to medium high and gradually add the 2 T. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

6.  Mix in about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten.  Gently fold in the rest of the meringue and when incorporated, scrape into prepared pan.  Level off with an off-set spatula.

7.  Bake for 16 minutes; until .  In the meantime, prepare the batter for the next cake so it is ready to go when the other cake comes out of the oven.  Cover with a dry towel and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

8.  Gently remove cakes from the pans using the overhang to lift.  Stack the parchment-lined cakes one on top of the other and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.  This makes the cakes easier to work with.

It's a sea of cake!

For the chocolate whipped ganache:

  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped fine
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 t. vanilla

1.  In the bowl of a food processor, chop chocolate until very fine.

2.  Scald the cream and with the motor running, gradually add the cream to the chocolate.  Process until smooth, just a couple of seconds.  Chill until cold, either in the fridge or in an ice bath.  Stir while chilling, about every 30 minutes; if using an ice bath you need to stir frequently.  Ideal temp is around 65 degrees F / 20 degrees C.  If it is too cold, it will not aerate well; if it is too warm it will not stiffen.

3.  In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer, add the vanilla to the cream and beat on low for about 30 seconds, being careful not to overbeat.

Assemble the cake:

There are a couple of ways that you can do this depending on what you want to do.  You could assemble this on a serving plate and treat it as a regular cake (hold it in place with some frosting and then assemble).  I just kept the bottom section on the parchment, trimmed it after I assembled it, cut it into slices, and then served it.  Rose trims the cakes before assembly; I do it after because I wanted that very very clean edge.  Again, all depends on what you want.

1.  Using a sharp knife, cut the cakes into equal rectangles so that you have four equal layers.  Dislodge the cakes using a long metal spatula.

2.  Spread a layer of the ganache about the same thickness of the cake on top of the first layer.  Top with a second layer of cake.  Spread with a layer of the cherry preserves.  Top with another layer of cake, followed by the ganache, and the final cake layer.

3.  Spread a layer of the ganache on the top of the cake.  I sliced it into servings / cakelets at this point and then covered the tops with the curls.  You could just keep it whole and cover everything with the curls.  Serve!

Be sure to visit my page on Facebook!  You get access to exclusive content!  Jeez, I can’t say that without laughing.  But I do some quick posts, share some links and resources, and share some local events / retailers that may be of some interest to folks.  My bakery has a page as well; stop by there for a quick visit too!

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12 thoughts on “Quick cocktail party appetizers #3 — Gluten-Free Black Forest Cakelets

    elitrope said:
    March 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I want to make this just because you called it a cakelet!
    This looks amazing and the gluten-free AND dark chocolate aspect piqued my interest. Do you have a suggestion for the type of dark chocolate? I’m not a baker, well, I used to make my own bread when I was a crunchy granola girl, but I’ve only baked a few cakes in my life. I’m more proficient with vegetables.

      Jereme's Kitchen responded:
      March 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      are you looking for %? i’d say anything in the 60% range. the higher the percentage, the more intense the flavor. as for brand, i typically use Callebaut in my baking. it’s a high quality chocolate which has very nice flavor. it’s not roasted as much as Vahlrona, but it’s also half the price. i can get block and pellet versions of the chocolate at my local Whole Foods. but use what’s readily available.

    thehungryartist said:
    March 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    These look amazing!!!! I’ll put it on pinterest — would love to make it some day 🙂

    I love 2001: Space Odyssey. I actually saw it in the movie theatre when I was a small child. All I remembered was the apes going crazy, then I think I slept through the whole thing. But I’ve seen it many times as an adult!

      Jereme's Kitchen responded:
      March 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      saw it when it was re-released on the original 70mm in the Michigan Theater here in Ann Arbor a couple of years ago. amazing film!

    sportsglutton said:
    March 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Before I read the text I was thinking to myself…I’ve seen that cake before. Now we have the recipe. Time to saddle up and give it a try.

    Have a great weekend.

    elitrope said:
    March 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Brand, yes, and thank you. No Whole Foods here, so will probably try another.

      Jereme's Kitchen responded:
      March 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      guittard is also very good. as is scharffen berger. those might be easier to find

    Karista said:
    March 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

    This looks fantastic! I’m always in search of wheat free desserts and I believe this will be on my list next to prepare. Beautiful!

      Jereme's Kitchen responded:
      March 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      it is surprising that this cake contains just eggs, sugar, and chocolate. very similar to a roulade

    Brin said:
    March 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    This looks amazing! I love anything with ganache. In fact, I have some in the fridge right now….hmmm?

      Jereme's Kitchen responded:
      March 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      i wish i had some ganache in the fridge. but i do have a couple cakes in the freezer!

    The Perky Poppy Seed said:
    November 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I just gave this link to a friend of mine who is GF:) great holiday idea:) Thank you:))

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