It's a busy time this late summer harvest season, what with berries to be harvested for jams and jellies, fresh tomatoes and beans falling off their stems in the garden, herbs to be made into 'potions' for the winter and of course, the sunshine to enjoy!
But... here! A new entry for you all!
Now, as with so many of my creative cooking endeavors, this particular project started because I had discovered something I didn't know I had. This time it was a bag of sour cherries at the back of my freezer. I don't know exactly how they got there and don't ever remembering buying them. But... they were there and asking to be, well, you know - eaten.
I started off by making a little cherry jam which was delicious.
It was even more delicious when spread on top of some 'nut-butter-brownies' I'd made the week before and it was around this time that the cogs in the cooking part of my brain started whirring. "What,..." they said,"if you were to make a cake a bit like this brownie - or even better - 3 layers of cake like this brownie - then spread the cherry jam on them?."
"...you could then add cream and perhaps a little alcohol", they continued, warming to their theme,..."and then call it a 'not-quite-black-forest-gateaux!"
I had to admit the idea sounded like fun.
It also sounded like fun because I happen to live in a place that is 'kind-of-like-the-black-forest'.
Except of course cos it isn't.
But it is in Germany and it is in a witchy, foresty, hilly, up and downy area - full of little streams, cute cottages, goat farms, and steeped in stories, magic and mystery.
The nice thing about it 'not-being-the-black-forest' is that it isn't very famous, so I can quite happily go out in the early morning and have the world of forests, hills, lakes and meadows all to myself. All that despite living close to the most heavily populated areas in the land. :-)
So yes, this is a 'not-quite-black-forest-gateaux'.
And the reason it's 'not-quite' is because the cake is made...wait for it... with a jar of nut butter!
Not a squeak of flour in sight.
Oh yes, and no butter either.
It's sweetened with coconut sugar and the chocolate element comes from chopped 70% good quality chocolate.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's super healthy - especially once you've added all the cream. It's also not vegan as you do need the eggs to hold the whole thing together.
However, the brownie cakes in themselves are for sure a sugar free, gluten free happening. And totally yummy to boot.
The inspiration for the cake bases comes once again from the wonderful Sarah B over at 'My New Roots' and was inspired by her 'nut-butter-blondie' recipe.
This recipe stands alone in making the most delicious brownies I know.
However, make the mixture into cake bases, add cherries and cream then pour over a little cherry sauce spiked with a slosh of sherry... and you've a whole new story going on!
So, enough gossiping - here's the recipe:
for the cakes
1 normal jar of nut butter ( think hazelnut, or almond or a mix of the two)
2 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
a large and generous pinch of sea salt
1 normal bar of dark chocolate grated
1 teaspoon baking powder
either... 100 grams coconut sugar... or 5 tablespoons maple syrup
for the fillings
2 cups of frozen sour cherries plus 4 tablespoons of sugar
a few nuts and mint leaves
one normal tub of whipping cream
for the cakes
- heat your oven to around 150 degrees C
- grease 3 10cm shallow cake tins if you have them. Otherwise, improvise a little. You can also use one small but deeper cake tin and then cut into 3 once cooked.
- mix all cake ingredients together except the chocolate. It's going to be a heavy sticky mess. ( don't forget the salt)
- gently fold in all the grated chocolate.
- pour into your cake tins / tin
- cook for around 10 - 15 mins ( or a bit longer if you are using a deeper tin). Basically your cake should be cooked on the top but a tiny bit soft in the middle.
for the fillings
- save around 15 cherries for the top and sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar on them
- add the rest of the cherries and the 3 remaining tablespoons of sugar to a pan
- bring gently to the boil making sure all the sugar has melted. Then simmer until the mixture reduces to a nice juicy jam.
- remove from the heat and allow to cool
- whip up the cream and put in the fridge until needed
putting it all together
- bottom cake layer + half the jam + 3rd of the cream
- middle cake layer + half the jam + 3rd of the cream
- top cake layer + rest of cream + decorated with cherries, mint, nuts and sprinkled with icing sugar if you have it.
That's it for the cooking part dear friends!
Now, before I sign off, I wanted to pass something by you.
The thing is, over the last month, there's been a feeling coming that at some point in the not too distant future, I might change a little what I do in this blog.
Up to now, it's been a cooking blog with recipes and photos and a fun place for me to share the latest must cook things I've been busy with.
But, it can be that in the future, while the blogging and photo part will remain, the focus might move a little away from all things food and kitchen related.
What do you guys think?
Just to say, the recipes would remain, even if the blog slightly changes it's course. And for those of you who love cooking and making things, I'm planning and slowly working on a cooking book so do write to me if you might be interested.
Whatever your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you so if you can, please do write me a message here.
I really appreciate your feedback!
Enjoy wherever you are.