Bat Forest Cake

If I'm going to have a chocolate cake, I'm going to make sure there's Amarena Cherries nearby. Fabbri is the brand I know and love! These tiny tart cherries are sourced from Emilia-Romagna and preserved in an incredibly rich syrup made from their own juice. A decadent cake, sweet soaked cherries, and light whipped cream is all you need for a classic Black Forest Cake. In this rendition, I took the theme a bit further by using SKORDO Black Cocoa Powder to really deepen the color as well as flavor. And since we are heading towards Halloween, I added some paper bats to the top and dramatically drizzled extra cherry syrup around the cake, declaring it a Bat Forest Cake. This would be just as adorable as cupcakes or torn up and layered into a trifle. 

Makes 1, 9" Bundt Cake, or 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup SKORDO Black Dutch Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped

For the ganache:

For the whipped cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Amarena Cherries, as desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F + prepare your baking pan. I coated mine in a light layer of oil, then sprinkled cocoa powder to keep the color dark and even.
  2. Whisk together your eggs + water.
  3. Add your buttermilk, oil, + vanilla to egg mixture. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add your sugar, mix again.
  5. Stir together your flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet mixture, with SKORDO Black Dutch Cocoa. Gently combine, being careful not to overmix.
  6. Fold the chocolate through, then pour batter into prepared pan. 
  7. Bake 45-50 minutes, checking throughout the last 5 for doneness. Remember it's a black cake so the color may be deceiving. The goal is for the middle of the cake to bounce back when gently pressed, or a clean toothpick for good measure. 
  8. Cool cake in pan for an hour, then invert to remove, allowing cake to cool completely. If you have the space, I'd suggest putting a clean mixing bowl in your fridge/freezer now, to chill it and help your whipped cream whip quicker.
  9. Make your ganache by heating heavy cream until just before boiling. Remove from heat, add the chocolate and cocoa powder, then quickly stir in very small circles, allowing the chocolate to emulsify + the cream not to splash. It may look broken at first, but it will come together with more mixing and darken over time. Set it aside at room temperature.
  10. Make your whipped cream by whisking cold cream in a cold bowl until slightly thickened, then added your sugar + vanilla and whisking until peaks form. I like a loose whipped cream, but it should still hold its shape on the surface of the cake.
  11. Once cake is cooled, spread the room temperature ganache across it, then top with dollops of whipped cream. I added the cherries around the top, and then shaved some extra chocolate + topped with the bats.
  12. Enjoy! Because of the whipped cream, you'll want to keep this one in the fridge, or not add the topping until just before serving. 

I would love to see your final product + talk some more about other uses for the Amarena Cherry on SKORDO Cooks! Besides chocolate cake, I love adding them to bourbon cocktails or mascarpone cheesecakes and will truly not let my pantry go without them. 

October 07, 2021 — Shannon Mahoney

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