This decadent dessert made with cherry syrup and brandy is sure to impress friends and family.
In small jug add 190mls hot water to cocoa powder and coffee. Whisk till dissolved. Place in medium saucepan with butter and sugar. Heat till butter melts and sugar has dissolved. Add bicarb; watch it doesn’t froth over the saucepan. Put into a stainless steel bowl and sit this bowl over another bowl with ice and water to help the mixture cool down fast.
When cooled, add eggs that have been well beaten; whisk till incorporated. Add dash of vanilla extract. Put in flour; use spatula to mix slowly; the mixture is quite wet so incorporate the flour with care. Use a whisk to beat quickly and remove any lumps that may have formed. Pour into a 20cm (base measurement) greased and lined tin; bake for 35-40 mins at 170C.
Sit on baking rack for 5 mins before removing. Turn out; peel off paper. As soon as cake can be handled; carefully use serrated edge knife to split the cake by cutting in half.
Place bottom half of cake onto serving plate. Spoon all the cherries from the syrup*(see below) over this layer reserving some of the syrup. Spoon cherry syrup onto the underside of the top layer. If still warm, put into fridge to cool before sandwiching with fresh cream.
Using electric beaters whisk cream, caster sugar and brandy till firm peaks. Using a star nozzle and bag; pipe cream over the cherry layer cake taking care not to go too close to the outside edge of cake. Place the top layer onto the bottom and press carefully; the cream may be pushed to the edge by doing this.
Spread icing over top of cake; for best results wait for icing to firm up a little or it will drizzle right over the edges. Some drizzle is fine but if it’s too runny the top icing layer will be too thin. When set arrange chocolate shavings onto centre of cake.
To make cherry syrup: drain cherries through a strainer and place canned liquid into a small saucepan. Over low simmer heat till liquid has reduced by half. Take off heat; whisk cornflour, icing sugar and brandy. Put into syrup; place back onto heat and mix quickly as it will thicken in no time. Remove; add cherries and mix well. Put onto a plate to cool down.
To make chocolate icing: Put all icing ingredients into a small glass bowl; ensure it sits in a small saucepan over simmering water. Stir till butter melts and icing forms; add more milk if necessary but be careful not to make icing too runny.
Chocolate shavings: melt dark chocolate; spread over a marble slab or any appropriate flat surface. Spread out evenly; allow to set. Using a sharp long knife or cheese slicer; shave chocolate.
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