James’s jaunt around Britain: Chocolate & cherry gin cake
James Martin tasted the most mouthwatering local produce in every corner of the UK for his new TV series and book – and here you can try his recipes yourself
This cake is the definition of indulgence – a side of gin & tonic is of course obligatory
Cherries, chocolate and kirsch are in a Black Forest gâteau, a staple cake in British homes.This is an up-todate version using gin.
My favourite gin from my travels is Forager’s Gin from the Snowdonia Distillery in Wales. It’s great with tonic and ice.
They only make small batches but if you find it, tell me what you think.
For the gin syrup
- 100ml (3½fl oz) gin
- 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
- 300g (10½oz) cherries with stalks
For the jam
- 300g (10½oz) pitted cherries
- 50g (1¾oz) caster sugar
For the cake (makes 2)
- 9 eggs
- 250g (9oz) caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste
- 40g (1½oz) cocoa powder, plus extra
- 200g (7oz) self-raising flour
For the cream
- 750ml (1¼pt) double cream
- 50ml (2fl oz) gin
Line 2 x 20cm deep-sided cake tins with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
Pour the gin and sugar into a pan. Heat to dissolve the sugar, then add the cherries and set aside to cool.
James revealed his favourite gin from during his travels is Forager’s Gin from the Snowdonia Distillery in Wales
For the jam, put the cherries and sugar into a pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the fruit has cooked down and is jammy.
To make the cakes, whisk the eggs and sugar together in the bowl of a freestanding mixer until thick and mousse-like.
Whisk in the vanilla then add the cocoa and flour and fold in using a metal spoon until everything is combined.
The batter makes enough for two sponges, and they freeze well for up to a month, so you can have one ready for your next dinner party! Thaw overnight at room temperature, then make more syrup, jam and cream to serve
Divide the cake batter evenly between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn each cake out to cool completely.
Wrap one in clingfilm and freeze for up to a month (see tip).
Remove the paper from the other cake. Whip the cream and gin together until soft peaks form.
Spoon into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle. Put the cake on a board and use a serrated knife to carefully slice horizontally into three layers.
Spoon some gin syrup over each layer. Put the bottom layer on a plate, pipe cream all over and spread with jam.
Put the middle layer on top and repeat.
Put the third layer on top and pipe cream all over it, if you like. Dust with cocoa powder and top with the syrup-poached cherries.
James Martin’s Great British Adventure is published by Quadrille, £25. To order a copy for £20, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640, p&p is free. Spend £30 on books and get FREE premium delivery. Offer valid until 23/02/2019.