Sunday, 19 July 2009

Donauwellen (Waves of the Danube)....sort of

I have two options here:

· Be pretentious
· Be honest

If I was being pretentious I’d say this is my ‘deconstruction’ of the German Donauwellen cake and, rather than serve it as it’s meant to be with the custard layered between the cake and the ganache, I decided to serve it on the side, thus giving a classic a modern twist....made it my own....put my stamp on it – you get the idea.

If I was being honest I’d say that the custard recipe I followed didn’t work and, desperate for my bed, I decided to abandon the custard, get the ganache on the cake and go out the next morning and buy ready-made custard.

You decide which version you prefer.

Custard disaster aside (curses, have I given away which of the two scenarios was the truth?), this is a lovely cake and the ganache is stunningly silky and rich. I have a sweet tooth and am not usually a fan of the more bitter chocolate, but here it works like a dream. This ganache will definitely be added to my “classic components” list and used in future recipes. It’s nice to have a stockpile of great components – the perfect Genoese sponge, vanilla biscuit, Swiss meringue buttercream and cupcake sponge, etc that you can use time and time again.

Look how shiny the ganache is:

The cake could’ve done with more cherries as the slightly tart morello cherries ‘pop’ deliciously against the chocolate. In the recipe below I’ve set out the volume I used, and the volume I’d use next time.

The “waves” part of the name is represented by the two tone sponge. I am always fond of two tone sponges and it reminded me of the Polish Babka I made a while back.

As is often the way, the cakes that prove the most “challenging” and have you pulling your hair out in despair late at night, actually turn out to be the tastiest. It’s like the cake rewards you for your troubles!

Incidentally, thanks for all your comments re:Blogger problems. I think I've solved my problem with uploading photos - it was because I'd upgraded to Internet Explorer 8; it seems there are all sorts of problems caused by this - particularly with regard to Blogger. I'm now using Google Chrome and, touch wood, all is ok.

For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g caster sugar
5 eggs
375g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30g cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons milk
175g morello or fresh cherries – next time I’d use loads more – possibly as much as 400g

For the custard:
Had a disaster so ended up using 1 pot (500g) of good quality ready made custard

For the ganache:
200ml whipping cream
250g dark chocolate – I used a mixture of 50% and 70% cocoa solids
30g unsalted butter

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

- Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper. If you’re planning to top the cake with custard, I’d recommend using a 23cm tin, otherwise it might all get too tall.

- Start by making the cake: beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

- Beat in the eggs one at a time; measure the flour and baking powder out as you may need to add some should the mixture start to curdle.

- Fold in the remaining flour and baking powder.

- Gently stir in the cherries.

- Spoon approximately 2/3 of the batter into the prepared tin.

- Add the cocoa and milk to the remaining batter and stir until well combined.

- Spoon over the plain batter and swirl slightly so the colours integrate and marble.

- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out cleanly. Mine took 50 minutes.

- Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

- Now make the ganache: bring the whipping cream to the boil and then remove from the heat.

- Break up the chocolate and drop into the cream. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes.

- Stir until the chocolate is melted and you have a thick, glossy mixture.

- Whisk in the butter.

- Leave for 5 minutes before pouring over the cake.

- The choice is yours – you can pour the custard onto the cake, and then top with ganache or, like I did, pour the ganache over the cake and serve the custard on the side.

- Refrigerate until needed, remove from the fridge an hour before serving.

- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


trasha said...

Mmmmmmmyummmmm. That one looks pretty good!

Joy said...

What a mouthwateringly delicious gorgeous cake! I don't mind where the custard is, so long as it is on the plate!

Katie said...

Wow that looks good and full of yummy things. Not heard of this cake before. Love the cherries added into the cake. Never mind about the custard, we all have our kitchen mishaps.

Margaret said...

I want to eat that cake right now!
Love the cherries and chocolate combo.
Another hit CC.

Yankee in England said...

Never admit you mistakes! It was always ment to be the way you made it HAH. I have that problem I serve a dessert I have had to do some creative rethinking on and I say, "it would have been better but I screwed up x." Really no one knows and it taste good anyways!

pigpigscorner said...

THe combo sounds wonderful and it looks so good!

Wonk said...

That looks amazing! I don't like cherries though, maybe raspberries or something instead, even though that's not very Danube-y, hehe.

BIg Boys Oven said...

the cake itself looks so rich, I love the chocolate topping! :)

Anonymous said...

This cake looks amazing!!! just wondered how the custard was supposed to be made, was it messing around with eggs etc`? in which case i would probably do it like you did nikki

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Anonymous

The custard was supposed to be made pretty much exactly how it says to on the Bird's custard powder tub. I've always had success with this method before so I suspect the fault lies with me!

Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

thankyou! have just made the coffee and walnut cupcakes that recipie is inspired! very good cheers nikki (they must be good they are over half gone since made yesterday!

Maria♥ said...

Wow, this looks really yummy! A great combo of flavours and textures.


Katie said...

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Sophie said...

So many yummy things going on here! Delicious.

Anonymous said...

DROOLING! need I say more? lol

Maria said...

Boy does that look good!

C said...

It looks really good! Sour cherries and dark chocolate partner so well!

Sam said...

I love the chocolate/cherry combination, this cake looks seriously good!

glamah16 said...

It makes fantastic presentation!