Saturday, 8 August 2015

Black Forest Bites - Bake Off inspiration Week 1

So what did you think of week 1? I enjoyed the Madeira (lemon with cherries is my signature), particularly liked the sound of Tamal's pistachio and rose version, and I thought it looked incredible.  The recipe has gone up on the BBC site so I shall definitely be adding that to my 'to bake' list.

The walnut cake was a good watch, but not really the accompaniment to my cup of tea, although they did look very nice.

But what really fired my imagination (as usual) were the show-stoppers. I love a good Black Forest gateaux, the best one I ever had was actually in the Black Forest in a small pub at the bottom of a waterfall, it was delicious, if a little boozy for my 14 year old self!

This weeks bake off versions were fantastic, I loved the chocolate trees and animals, was so impressed by the chocolate collar (what can I use that for?) and thought Alvin's shards were a really modern original.

I was all fired up with ideas of baking a gateaux, I could try something fancy like Ian's macaroon base (although maybe not after my last macaroon disaster) or just do a simple cake and go all out on decoration.  Then I realised, who am I kidding!  I don't have time to eat that sort of pudding, let alone make it, so here is my time saving version for those of us that wish we could spend the weekend baking, but can't.  Black Forest Bites.

These are not a fancy bake.  They are definitely not winning a show stopper, but they are quick to make and tasty, a manageable bake even if, like me, you are trying to fit too much into your very short days.

I kept my bites alcohol free, but you could easily replace the vanilla essence with kirsch wasser or cherry brandy.

Makes 9 large dessert sized bites.  If you want snack sized then use a teaspoon to measure out your bites rather than a dessert spoon.


100g unsalted butter
120g light muscovado sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1 tin of black cherry pie filling
240g flour
3tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder

for the filling
60g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
splash of milk

1. Melt the butter and sugar in a good sized pan, remove from heat
2. Empty the tin of pie filling into a sieve and stir until the cherries are separated from the syrup.
3. lightly beat the egg and vanilla then add to the pan along with 4 tbsp of pie filling syrup.
4. roughly chop the cherries and add to the pan
5. Add flour, baking powder and cocoa and stir until combined.  The mix should be a very soft sort of dough.
6. Use a dessert spoon to spoon 'dollops' onto a baking tray, bake at 180 degrees for around 15 mins, until the top is firm to touch and they come off the tray easily.

Make a butter icing for the filling by combining all ingredients until pale and creamy.  Then use a small amount of the syrup to ripple through it.

Use the butter cream to sandwich the bites together.

Eat and enjoy!

If I had time and was making these fancier, I would have liked to reduce the syrup into more of a jam and use this and real cream to sandwich the bites, then do some chocolate drizzle decoration.

But fancy was not what these were about.  It was about baking, quickly, while I had chance and with what was available in the house.  I managed to bake these (although not the topping) in the 30 mins both girls were napping at the same time, and that to me is far better than any fancy additions!

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