I mentioned in my last post, almost a month ago, that I had something big happening in a matter of days. Well I can now tell you that I have long left Nimes’s lazy and warm embraces behind, and I have been situated in Copenhagen, Denmark for exactly three weeks now! I’m actually studying abroad here for the semester so if all goes well, schedule wise, I hope to update you along the way with stories about foods that I both make and eat along the way!
This recipe is probably the first time where I actually baked a cake without a recipe, and I was quite surprised by how wonderfully everything turned out. It was also one of my first forays with Danish ingredients. I paired together the famous, local Carlsberg beer (which is actually surprisingly drinkable) with kirsebærsauce, a cherry compote of sorts which is traditionally served around Christmastime with the traditional dessert, Risalamande, a rice pudding whipped into an almost mousse-like consistency with the addition of whipped cream.
Needless to say, this cake was very much a play on the black forest cake that I usually make at home (hmm, I wonder what I must have been craving then). The beer actually does marvelous things with the batter. You don’t quite taste it in the final product, but it does intensify the chocolate flavor and adds a level of complexity that you wouldn’t quite be able to get without it. It also gives a lightness to everything. With each new bite, you can almost feel the cake melting in your mouth. While I typically like to stew my own cherries, I tolerated a store-bought variety this time because fresh fruit in Denmark can be exorbitantly expensive when it’s out of season (as cherries would be right now).
Now you’re probably looking at the pictures and wondering, “where is the frosting?”. Trust me, I would have made some, but let’s just say that my host family’s kitchen is not the biggest, let alone as well-equipped with all the appliances and go-to gadgets that make cooking back at home a snap. While it certainly takes longer to prepare food here, the end result is still just as rewarding, and best of all, delicious.
Inspired from a recipe I viewed on Smitten Kitchen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened, cocoa powder (Dutch-process/extra-dark is the way to go)
- 1 cup Carlsberg beer (stout also works well)
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cherry sauce
In a large bowl, beat together the vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs until well incorporated. Then mix in the beer. Add in the salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Stir in the flour in two additions. Finally, fold in the cherry sauce so that the cherries are evenly distributed throughout the batter. You are free to add more or less cherry sauce if you desire. Just go ahead and taste the batter along the way.
Pour the batter into a 9X13 inch baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, till a knife inserted into the middle comes out warm. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. Serve at the temperature of your choice alongside a scoop of ice cream and cherry sauce on top.