Every year, for my fabulous Husband of 22 years’ birthday, I create a cake for him.
It is always based on a “fake” Black Forest style, made with a cake mix, cherry pie filling and whipping cream.
And I try to make it interesting every year that I have the time to do so.
This year, we had watch the movie, Grabbers, and I had already been thinking “tentacles” for the 2020 version, so I was inspired!
I knew I needed cake, and last year I had used a great brown sugar cookie recipe for the face hugger from Alien, so I knew that would work for the tentacles… I did some baking and chilled all the bits.
I spent some time on Friday afternoon looking for images of the Maher’s Pub and did a quick acrylic painting of it, while FaceTiming with my niece – who created a lovely piece as well! I then popped a photo of my painting into Procreate – and added the tentacles for the finished illustration!
The following is a photo journey through the process I spent 3 hours completing this morning…
I was searching online for some Norwegian finger foods/snackables that might complement the theme of an upcoming scotch /whiskey tasting evening.
I don’t go for the scotch. I may have some other beverages of interest, but not scotch. That being said, the evenings are usually an enjoyable mix of conversation, nibbles and generally an excuse to take a break for the evening.
So in my adventures for ideas, I found Norwegian Cinnamon Thumbs – what a great name for a cookie!
Please go here and find the original recipe: https://luluthebaker.com/2015/04/norwegian-cinnamon-thumbs-huge-news/
Here are pics of mine…
And the other item of interest:
Never tried it but apparently we will slice it thinly and it will have a caramel taste…
Will let you know!
Oh – and I got my hair trimmed today and styled… much needed break from sewing as my arms are unhappy! Thanks to Melissa at Lucas Nault salon – and even chatted with the man himself as I was heading home! #supportsmallbusiness
I’m using that recipe as inspiration…I don’t have all the spices, nor vegetable broth.
Crockpot Sweet Potato Lentils ( my version)
• 3 large sweet potatoes, diced (about 6 cups) • 3 cups water • 1 onion, minced • 2 teaspoon each ground coriander, curry powder and chili powder • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1 1/2 cups uncooked red lentils (masoor dal) • 1 can coconut milk • 1 cup water
1. Place the sweet potatoes, water, onion, and spices in a crockpot. Cook on high for 3 hours, until vegetables are soft.
2. Add the lentils and stir once. Replace the lid and cook on high for an additional 1 1/2 hours.
3. Stir in the coconut milk and as much water as needed to get the right consistency.
It’s fall here and Sweet Potatoes are on sale, so a bag was purchased!
And I wanted to make something different but simple… I like making things with the least number of ingredients possible, but that still tastes good etc.
So after I steamed 4 medium sweet potatoes and puréed them, what to do next came as I progressed through the other baking I was doing and what I had on hand.
I was making turkey wontons, and had some wrappers left over so I created little tart shells with those by draping them over greased inverted muffin tins. I baked them until crunchy and golden at 350- maybe 10 minutes.
Sweet Potato Cheesecakes
4 sweet potatoes ( each was about 1.5 inches thick by 4-5 inches long
1 250 gram block of cream cheese ( I think vegans could use soft tofu)
½ cup maplesyrup ( or to taste)
1 tablespoon each cinnamon and ginger powder
Pinch of salt
30 wonton wrappers 3 inch square or round ( or tart shells)
90 mini marshmallows ( optional but fun)
Pre-bake the shells/ or make shells by draping the wonton wrappers over greased inverted muffin tins and baking at 350 until golden brown( maybe 10 minutes).
Steam or microwave or cook the sweet potatoes however you like. Peel them and purée.
Beat in the cream cheese and add the maple syrup and spices, taste and see if you want to adjust the flavours.
Beat until smooth then spoon into the cooled shells.
Top with marshmallows ( 3 each seemed good).
Chill or freeze until ready to serve.
Fun serving option: let defrost for a few minutes then place in 300 degree oven for 5 minute to melt the marshmallows or use a torch on unfrozen ones to brown the marshmallows.
I’ve made piecaken/ Cherpumple in the past and this smaller version has one other difference- the Lemon Cake with Blueberry pie baked into it.
It is also Dairy free, with the substitution of lactose free margarine in the buttercream icing, coconut oil melted with the dairy/nut free dark chocolate drizzle, and reduced fat in the cakes, using apple sauce instead of oil.
The gallery shows the stages- the concept being to have 3 pre made and baked pies, mix 3 cakes up and put cake batter and a pie in each cake pan.
Bake for longer than recommended, about 20 minutes extra.
Chill each layer completely for at least 3 hours before assembling.
Apply a crumb coat to the cool cake.
Chill again and then frost fully and decorate as you wish.
The spiderweb was created by melting coconut oil and dark chocolate together and drizzling it onto the surface, letting it drip.
The gnarly cake bits were cut off from the overflow that happened when the cakes were baking. I thought there might be some spillage, so I put each tin on a cookie sheet, and the overflow looked like cooled lava! Great fluke that added to the finished look!
Somehow, over the past couple of months, this link came through my social media feed – and I clicked through and thought – yeah, that does sound perfect.
“Dark. Rich. And oh so bittersweet.”
So, today. For Christians it is “Good Friday”; for the Jewish community, it is Passover; and in the US today is National Garlic Day and tomorrow is Husband Appreciation Day… before I get lost down that rabbit hole, coming back to Canada and for me, today is the beginning of some cocoon time over this weekend, having even sent my furbaby off to visit her Aunt D.
And I suddenly wanted to make pie. And then I remembered the Schadenfreude Pie!
With it having been Aunt D.’s < Sprocket’s “Aunt”/ 2nd mom, not my Aunt> birthday recently, AND Happy Belated Kristine, <John Scalzi’s lovely wife>, I could make 1 for us, 1 for her and a mini so that I could make sure it was actually as good as the recipe sounded before sending a fresh pie off with her! The mini was amazing – will share our remaining pie with the hubby to show him appreciation… even here in Canada…
My modifications bring it across the border into Canada < northern US could use these variations too, I’m sure!> as well as being based on what I had in the cupboard.
The original ingredients < be sure to visit the World’s First Schadenfreude Pie post for the rest of the mixing and baking directions>:
What I changed:
1 cup dark corn syrup – 1 cup dark maple syrup – or any colour maple syrup
½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips. ¼ cup white chocolate chips and ¼ cup black cocoa
Along with the cinnamon, I added 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger
I skipped the booze as I did not have anything handy – but would try it in the future!
and I rolled out some previously made frozen pie crust – classic style- and split it into 2 smaller pie tins and 1 mini and I prebaked them for about 10 minutes before filling them.
Beyond that, I followed the original recipe and it is perfect.
Thank you, John Scalzi, for bringing more enjoyment to my world – he’s a fun writer too folks!
I would probably serve with whipped cream < Aunt D’s suggestion> and maybe have a shot of dark rum or the suggested booze with it, or just a nice dark coffee…
Oh, and if you are wondering what Schadenfreude is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schadenfreude
Mom is having a significant birthday in a few days, and for scheduling, the BIG PARTY was this weekend.
I offered to make her dessert. Upon asking her what she wanted, her quick response was Black Forest Cake – I got this!
We have a few varied dietary needs withithn the family realm though and so I also offered to bring something non-dairy/gluten free as a side snack for those folk.
Another awesome baker in the family, Sarah, offered to make a cake as well to cover the full-on healthy desssert option. Her cake is amazing:
My plans: cake, moulded roses as an accent, and a variant on my granny’s butterscotch cream pe – meringues …and then I went way off road for this “variant” – maple curd
Black Forest Cake :
3 layers of chocolate fudge cake – a box mix using the lower fat option – baked in 8 inch pans
500 ml Whipping cream with added Oatker Stabilizer as this puppy has to travel!
1 can cherry pie filing – ½ sugar very – but yes, in a can
1 block from a full size bar, shaved chocolate – I hate making shaved chocolate, but I had a lovely Lindt dark chocolate bar so I was able to shave the minimum I needed to cover the patchy whipped cream sides of the cake.
Once the alyers were baked, I shaved the domes off the layers to make them flat. Assemble: layering cherry pie filling on the bottom layer, then filling and whipped cream on the 2nd layer. Cover with whipped cream in the style of your choosing and sprinkle the shaved chocolate and few saved cherries on top to make it pretty.
4 egg whites at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup icing sugar – too much – I’ll use less in the future
Whip it up good, pipe onto parchment lined cookies sheets and bake for 55 minutes at 250 degrees, then turn off the oven and let them sit for another hour or more.
The big adventure…
In a sauce pan, mix together really well:
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons coconut milk powder
Then add and mix all together
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup water
Cook on medium heat until it boils and stirring constantly let it reach 105 degrees on a thermometer – maybe higher would have been better – that’s just what I did.
In a small bowl, beat
4 egg yolks
Then pour some of the hot syrup into the bowl, mixxing to heat up the egg yolks, then pour the mix back into the sauce pan and let cook for another 5 minutes.
Bring off the heat and add
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Stir well and pour into mason jars. Cool and store in fridge. Shake well before using.
This created a sauce that was drizzled over the meringues – giving a light sugar kick without dairy or gluten – but does have eggs.
Moulded chocolate roses:
Based on the method from my previous post about using moulded chocolate, I once again melted the chocolate and added the honey, then covered it with plastic and let it chill on the counter for a few horus while I did other stuff.
120 grams of white chocolate discs
1 ounce of honey by weight
I am canadian and thus bilingual when it comes to measurements – my scale has both
After kneading the chilled chocolate, I then played witha few ways to create the roses.
The first one was made by shaping small bits of chocolate into flattened petal shapes, but they had a lot of length to them and I wouold cut it off at the abse after adding it.
For the next one I tried rolling a tiny ball in my hand then squishing it with my thumb to create each petal, and placing them overlaping around a started bud/blob. This worked better and I continued with this method for the remaining ones.
Eventually, with both techniques, it built up a lot so I have to cut off the base on each one so that it was not too thick.
I think I did pretty well for a first time! *pats self on back*