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MasterChef New Zealand


Episode 2 - Donna Hay's Little Black Forest Cake

MasterChef New Zealand on TV ONE and TVNZ Ondemand

Donna Hay's Little Black Forest Cake


110g butter, softened

1 cup (220g) Caster (superfine) sugar

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

1⁄4 cup (25g) cocoa, sifted

1 1⁄4 teaspoons baking powder, sifted

1⁄2 cup (125ml) milk

1 x 425g can pitted cherries, drained and syrup reserved

1/3-cup (80ml) kirsch (cherry-flavored liqueur)

1 cup (250ml) double (thick) cream

1⁄2 cup (120g) sour cream

1 jar stone house cherries


To Decorate:


Chocolate shards

400g dark chocolate (70%), chopped

Chocolate ganache

1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream

300g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 10−12 minutes or until pale and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well to combine. Fold through the flour, cocoa, baking powder and milk until combined. Divide the pitted cherries into 2 portions and place in the bases of 2 x 12cm-round lightly greased cake tins lined with non-stick baking paper. Divide the cake mixture evenly between the tins and bake for 60–65 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow cakes to cool in tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are baking, make the chocolate ganache. Place the cream and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Place in the fridge to set. Make the chocolate shards and refrigerate until ready to use.

Carefully slice the cakes in half horizontally. Place the reserved cherry syrup and 1⁄4 cup (60ml) cherry- flavored liqueur in a bowl and mix well to combine. Spoon the syrup mixture over the cake halves and set aside to soak. Place the double cream, sour cream and remaining liqueur in a bowl and, using a hand-held electric mixer, beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the cakes, spread the cherry-based cakes with 1⁄4 cup of the ganache and the cream mixture. Top with the remaining cake slices and spread the tops and sides of the cakes with the remaining ganache. Arrange the chocolate shards around the sides of the cakes, gently pressing into the ganache to secure. Top with the fresh cherries to serve. Serves 6–8.

How to: make chocolate shards

Place the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Cut 4 x 40cm x 30cm sheets of non-stick baking paper. Lay 2 sheets flat on a clean bench top and divide the melted chocolate between the sheets. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate in a thin, even layer, leaving a 2cm border.

Top chocolate with the remaining sheets of non-stick baking paper and use a wooden ruler to gently smooth out the chocolate and remove any air bubbles. Starting from the shortest side, roll the sheets into a 2.5cm tube. Place the tubes, seam-side down on a baking tray and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Take firm hold of both ends of paper in one hand and unroll the tube with the other (this is what breaks the chocolate to create the shards). Remove the top sheet, transfer the shards to a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and refrigerate until ready to decorate the little black forest cakes.