I’m really not sure where this fascination with Black Forest cake started… but this year for his birthday, that is the cake that Noah wanted. We’ve been talking about Black Forest cakes for so long that it really may have started on his birthday last year, I honestly can’t remember.
Last year for his birthday we were able to spend a lovely day at Disneyland (see picture below), complete with a ride on Splash Mountain that left us so soaking wet, Noah woke up the next morning with a 103 degree fever and the flu! While we won’t be going to Disneyland this year and will only be having a small celebration, just the two of us, I wanted to make it special with this challah cake (and make sure he actually liked the flavors before I make a whole birthday cake this weekend)!
His birthday is not until this weekend, but I thought I’d continue the birthday cake flavored challahs with this chocolate, cherry and whipped cream cake. To make the birthday theme even more fun, I thought why not make a cake out of the loaves of bread? After all, bread is the main food group in Noah’s diet!
3 Teaspoons instant yeast (2 packets of active dry yeast works too but I have found instant yeast results in a fluffier texture)
¾ Cup sugar
½ Teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup butter, melted
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
½ Teaspoon almond extract
1 Cup warm water
3-4 Cups flour
½ bag Frozen cherries
Zest of ½ lemon
¼ Cup honey
1 Tablespoon gin
Whisk egg, salt, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, water, cocoa powder, and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the flour one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Using a strong spatula to mix at the beginning and using your hands to mix once it gets too difficult with the spatula.
Once the dough is fully mixed, turn onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes. (If you don’t knead the dough well enough, the challah will not hold its shape when it is braided.)
Grease a large bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and put in the oven to proof. (Make sure the oven is off!) Proof until the dough is doubled in size about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Once proved, turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 2 equal portions. Taking one of the portions, cut the dough into four equal portions and roll into logs.
Form a pound sign with the logs of dough, one vertical strand going over the first horizontal strand and under the second, the other vertical strand going under the first horizontal strand and over the second.
Starting with the vertical strand that is under the first horizontal strand pull it over the vertical strand to the left, moving counter clockwise, continue to do this until all strands have been moved. Now moving clockwise do the same thing again and fold any excess dough under the bottom of the bun. Complete the same process with the other portion of dough. Let proof again for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating beat one egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the top of the loaves. Bake the mini loaves for 25 minutes.
While the bread is in the oven, make the filling my placing the frozen cherries and all other ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over low heat for about 2 minutes and let cool completely.
To assemble, place one (completely cooled) challah on a plate, spoon whipped cream on top and then the cherry reduction. Place the other challah on top and repeat the process. Best if served right away.