Black star forest cake with maple cashew cream

The spark for this recipe came during BC’s late cherry season and around the time of the Vancouver Folk Fest, where I had the chance to see Gillian Welch and David Rawlings perform a stunning nighttime set.

It was a professionally and personally demanding time of year, and after the fruit’s time with us came and went, I made peace with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to implement my slightly odd cake recipe vision until next year’s cherries started ripening. As one might expect, I was more than a little pleased when I came across a flat of local firm, scarlet cherries this past week.

Musical inspiration: Radiohead’s Black Star, especially as covered by Welch and Rawlings.

Black Star

Maple cashew cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 Tbsp organic, virgin coconut oil (optional)

Cover the cashews with water in a deep bowl and soak for 24 hours. Drain the liquid, and scoop the nuts into a food processor. Add water to 1″ below the top of the cashews, along with the maple syrup, cinnamon and coconut oil. Blend until creamy.

Chocolate cake

Largely based on this recipe by Sue on allrecipes.com. Makes about a dozen cakewiches.

  • 3/4 unbleached white flour
  • 3/4 whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 Fair Trade sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened FT cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 cup halved, pitted cherries, plus a handful of cherries for garnish (I’ve had good success with the DIY fork pitter, although a paring knife or modified paperclip work fairly well, too).
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients, and then slowly mix the wet and dry components together using a spatula. Scoop into an oiled 9×15″ casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for another 30 minutes.

Using a cookie cutter or sharp knife, carve out star shapes from the cake. This may involve some intensive palpating of the cake in order to form recognizable star shapes. Use a serrated knife to slice the stars laterally, and spoon some of the cashew cream into the center to form sandwiches. Scoop a dollop of cream and a stud of sliced cherry on each cakewich, and garnish with extra cherries.

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