Friday, July 6, 2012

Blackforest Gateau

Last weekend, C and I hosted another one of our afternoon teas at our place.  We’ve taken to hosting these events once every so often as a nice way of having an intimate catch up with friends as well as using it as an opportunity to practise my baking. 

C and I take our afternoon teas seriously! We don't just have a few finger sandwiches and scones, no, we go all out! Four different variety of finger sandwiches, scones, and five different petite fours. Needless to say, I had a mammoth week of prepping and baking for this afternoon tea using baby girl’s naps as my chance to do much of the needed prep work.  Unfortunately, there were days where baby girl would only take to having half hour naps which makes for baking a REALLY difficult task!

So the majority of the desserts I decided to make have already featured in my blog, these included the salted caramel macarons, the lemon meringue tarts and the coffee éclairs.  I wasn’t very happy with how my lemon meringue tarts turned out on the day – having just boasted about them in my blog, I got over confident with the meringue and ended up overbeating it causing it to weep over my lemon tarts :( Aahhh meringue, I will show more respect next time!

So the other desserts on the menu was a blackforest gateau and well, I've decided to be cheeky and not reveal the rest and save it for the content of upcoming blog posts! I think with all the baking I’ve done of late, I might just take a mini break!

So let me explain the inspiration behind this blackforest gateau.  Since starting this blog, I’ve become quite taken with the blogging world and have often stumbled upon various dessert blogs.  Let me just say, there are some AMAZING baking bloggers out there, which have my total respect.  One of them is Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings (R-E-S-P-E-C-T sister)! She makes entremets that would rival professional chef patissiers.  Through her blog, I’ve learnt about the amazing Hidemi Sugino, who with Pierre Herme has now become a hero of mine.  One of Sugino’s dessert books is published only in Japanese  (and part in French) so I’m very thankful that Evan translated one of the recipes in English so that I can attempt to recreate it. 

So the layers of the blackforest from the bottom are chocolate joconde sponge, dark chocolate cream with soaked cherries, another layer of chocolate joconde, and a lighter chocolate cream decorated with chocolate shavings and tempered chocolate.  C thinks I'm too harsh on myself but I wasn't entirely happy with the middle layer - I used too strong a dark chocolate (70% strength) which made the middle layer cream have a very strong cocoa powder type taste.  I might have to play around with the strength of the dark chocolate to get the right consistency next time.  The other thing I wasn't entirely happy with was that the cherry flavour didn’t really come through.  The sponge is meant to be soaked in the cherry syrup although I only brushed the sponge with it (generously but not enough), rather than give it a good soaking, as I wasn’t sure how absorbent chocolate joconde is, I didn’t want to risk turning the sponge into an oozy mess. 
And yay, I tempered chocolate! Chocolate tempering and I have had a shady past.  The first time I ever tempered it worked beautifully, and I thought tempering chocolate was soooo easy, I didn't quite understand the mystique surrounding it.  That was until the second and third time I tried it and I ended up just melting chocolate.  So this time around, it worked again.  Phew! I think the secret is not to rush it and to just let the chocolate melt over a very low heat.  I've never been one for patience but it seems to be the key!

Oh, and yes, there’s a bit of flour dusting and fingerprints on the tempered chocolate as I was still trying to bake everything else for the afternoon tea,  I didn’t have time to perfect the photo shoot!

And thank you to C, who thoughtfully bought fresh cherries for me as he thought I could somehow use it to decorate the blackforest.  Isn't he the best?! I wanted to top each entremet with a fresh cherry but given the size of these entremets, the cherry just looked too big!


  1. hi,
    i have tried to make this blackforest too, but when i combine the whipped cream with the melted chocolate, it didnt incorporate. I melted the chocolate and let it cool until body temperature. And i whipped the cream until soft peak. The cream was cold as i kept in the fridge.
    Appreciate if could you tell me what went wrong?

    1. Oh how frustrating, I'm sorry to hear! It sounds like you're doing everything right! What % chocolate are you using? I found that when I used 70% dark chocolate, the mixture wouldn't incorporate very well and would split (no matter how many times I adjusted the quantity) whereas when I use a lesser % like around the 45% range, the mixture was fine (and you can see this reflected in the pics in the middle (70%) and top (45% chocolate) layers). What quantities are you using? Generally, whipped cream to chocolate should be 2:1, although when the % chocolate is very high, I reduced the amount of chocolate which seemed to help but didn't prevent it from splitting. Perhaps also try folding the chocolate a bit at a time to see if that makes a difference? I hope this helps. Let me know how it works out!

  2. Hi,
    I love your blog thank you so much for sharing all your beautiful pastry images I really appreciate it but I wish you can share the recipe! I was wondering do you own Le Gout Authentique Retrouvé by Hidemi Sugino?

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! No, I don't own Le Gout Authentique. If you email me at, I will send you a copy of the recipe I used. Apologies if you have already emailed me, I don't check the account that often (shameful!) but I will do so from now on!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for answering my questions I really appreciate it I think you are a awesome and talented baker! I was wondering do you know anymore of Hidemi Sugino recipe?

  4. Aww, thank you so much, that's so kind of you! Unfortunately I haven't tried any other Hidemi Sugino recipes but if you google them, there are a few out there that other bloggers have adapted and published! Good luck with the baking!