Since the release of Portal 2 in April of last year, I have been dreaming of making a cake inspired by the game. For those that don’t know, Portal and Portal 2 are first-person, puzzle-platform video games. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, check out the Wikipedia articles for Portal and Portal 2. You can also check out the official website hosted by Valve, the company who released the game.
In the game, you are guided by GLaDOS. Throughout the game, GLaDOS offers a cake as a reward for solving the puzzles. The cake pictured in the game is designed after a black forest cake from a bakery near the development offices. Sadly, this happens to be in Washington as far away from Florida as you can get without leaving the Continental United States. They also don’t deliver. This fact didn’t worry me in the least, I was ready for a baking challenge.
This challenge was made a bit easier by The Geeky Chef. She (or he, the blog doesn’t say) already made the cake and was wonderful enough to share the recipe. I was delighted with the results. The cake was moist and fudgy, without being too dense or brownie-like. I also discovered that using powdered sugar when whipping cream turns our much better than using granulated sugar. Why did I never know this before?
Let’s begin with the cake. Due to the disappearance of my round cake pans, I used my 9-inch spring form pan. Going this route made it necessary to make two cake batters in order to have the four layers the cake deserved. It was delightful to make such a tall cake!
Black Forest Cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Kirsch (cherry liqueur). I used cherry syrup instead of liqueur.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans, or line with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, the cocoa, the baking soda and the salt. Set this aside. Beat the shortening and sugar together until they are fluffy. Add the eggs and beat thoroughly. Add vanilla. Slowly beat in the flour mixture, occasionally alternating with the buttermilk. Beat until combined. Pour the batter into the cake pans. Bake for about 35 or 40 minutes (or until a fork or a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted into the cake. Because of my pan, I baked it nearly an hour.) Let the cake cool completely. The cake will be easier to cut if you keep it in the fridge for a few hours before cutting.
¼ cup Kirsch (I used cherry syrup.)
2 cans sour cherries (I only used one can)
3 cups heavy whipping cream (I used 4 cups since my cake was going to be larger.)
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar (I used 1/3 cup.)
3 tablespoons cocoa (I used 4 T cocoa.)
After the cake has cooled, cut each layer in half (horizontally) to make four total layers. Sprinkle the layers with the 1/2 cup of Kirsch. Drain the canned cherries in a colander to remove most of the juice. Beat the whipping cream with confectioners’ sugar until it thickens to desired texture. Put a small amount of the cream/sugar mixture aside for garnish. Mix the cocoa powder into the remaining majority of the whipped cream frosting. Place one cake layer on the serving dish you wish to use. Spread about one 6th of the whipped cream on the layer, and strew a third of the cherries on top of the whipped cream. Add the second cake layer on top of the first. Spread one 6th of the whipped cream on the second layer and 1/3 of the cherries on top. Add the third cake layer. Spread 1/6 of the whipped cream on that and add the remaining cherries. Top with the last cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with remaining frosting.
1 semi-sweet chocolate bar
At least 8 maraschino cherries (no stems)
One white candle
Use a potato peeler on the chocolate to create thin shaves. Gently pat the chocolate shaves on to the sides and top of the cake, completely coating it. Use the whipped cream you set aside earlier to place eight small circles around the top of the cake. Place your non-stemmed maraschino cherries on each one. place white candle in the center and light.
As you can see from my photos, I gave up on the chocolate shavings with only the top completed. I had forgotten that we have a micro-plain that would have made the shavings much easier.
The game itself offers a recipe for a cake. It begins with a box cake mix and continues with semi-normal ingredients for some time before veering into the absurd throwing in such items as rhubarb, ethyl benzene, and sediment shaped sediment. A few people have made this cake. Someday it might be interesting to try without the crazy additives. For now, I am delighted with the cake!