During my time in Norway, there were many things I missed. Excluding the obvious family and friends (yes, yes, you guys were number one), I missed being able to waltz down to the grocery store to pick up a Betty Crocker box mix in flavors other than chocolate, vanilla, red velvet or pop rocks (seriously Norway, there were four flavors of cake mix at our local grocery store and one of those was “pop rocks.” How is that the logical fourth option?!).
I missed having a selection of Oreos that went beyond original and double stuffed. International peeps: there is a whole world of Oreo deliciousness beyond original and double stuffed… LET ME SHOW YOU THE WOOOOOOOOOORLD! SHINING SHIMMERING SPLEEEEEEEEENDID… <— Is what you’ll be saying when you realize there are some 60+ Oreo flavors out there (seriously guys, I counted)
I missed having an entire isle of ice cream to choose from. That dinky 6″ x 3″ cooler with normal flavors like vanilla, chocolate and Neapolitan… That just wasn’t going to cut it! Where was my Ben and Jerry’s yo?!
As luck would have it one summer, the little convenience store in the center of town, in what was definitively the most touristy place, got several cartons of my best buds Ben and Jerry. It’s was like Christmas come early. Unfortunately they didn’t carry any of the hallmark Ben and Jerry’s flavors like Chubby Hubby, Chunky Monkey or Cherry Garcia (you’d have to drive a good 5 hours to find those) but stiiiiiiiiiiiiiill. It would have to suffice.
OR WOULD IT?!
It was around that time I started developing this Cherry Garcia inspired cake. Layers of moist, dark chocolate cake, tart bits of cherry, smooth buttercream frosting… somehow I never actually got around to making it (awful, I know). But I stumbled across it again a few weeks ago and decided it was high time this little gem made it’s debut!
- ⅔ cup boiling water
- 1 oz semi sweet chocolate (chips or coarsely chopped bars)
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 oz baking cocoa
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ cup water
- 1¾ cup granulated sugar
- 8 egg whites
- 1 lb. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup cherry compote
- 4 oz. dark chocolate (60% cocoa), coarsely chopped
- 4 oz. heavy cream (ultra pasteurized if you have it)
- To make the cake, pour the boiling water over the semi sweet chocolate, and whisk until smooth. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg until light and frothy. Add the vegetable oil and continue whipping until completely incorporated. Add the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla extract and water/chocolate mixtures, and whisk until just combined. Gently whisk in the baking cocoa, flour, and baking soda with a spatula until the batter is lump free.
- Divide the came batter evenly between two 6" cake pans (about 1lb of batter each), and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Once the pans are cool enough to handle, transfer the cakes to plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool and firm.
- While the cakes bake and cool, heat the heavy cream and chocolate for the ganache in the microwave until hot (about 30 seconds). Gently stir with a spatula (a whisk will create too many air bubbles) until smooth. Set aside to cool (about 30 minutes to an hour).
- To make the frosting, stir together the water and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until completely clear. While the syrup cooks, whip the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites. Increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture and bowl cool to room temperature. With the mixer on low again, add pieces of butter until all the butter has been added. Add the vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and whip until a smooth frosting forms.
- Once the cakes are cool, level the tops if necessary and split each cake in two. Begin stacking your layers of cake, alternating between layers of cake, cherry compote and frosting. Coat the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting (a crumb coat) and allow to set in the refrigerator (about 15 minutes, or until the frosting is firm). Frost the top and top third of the sides of the cake with a generous helping of frosting. Divide the remaining frosting between two bowls and tint two shades of red/pink. Fill a piping bag with each color. Starting with the lightest of the two reds, pipe around the middle third of the cake. Pipe around the bottom third of the cake with the darkest red. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smooth the sides. Allow to set in the refrigerator until the frosting is firm (about 15-20 minutes).
- Once your frosting is firm, it's time to add the ganache! Microwave the ganache in 5 second increments until it reaches a thin, spreadable consistency (it shouldn't be warm). Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of ganache out to the edges of the cake. Pour the remaining ganache into a piping bag, and moving around the edge of the cake, create drips down the side.
- Garnish the cake with leftover frosting and maraschino cherries.