Though calling it a “project” is somewhat weird. But of my many big (and much more smaller) projects the first one, the making of a lactose-free Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was completed successfully and on time for my husband’s birthday. Look:
I started the whole thing almost a week before by buying all the ingredients. I found a recipe online (only German, sorry), and substituted the whipping cream with lactose-free whipping cream, and the chocolate with yummy dark chocolate that has no milk in it either.
I was completely nervous beforehand because I never made a cake like this in my life. I started on Sunday (after my son had gone to bed) and made this:
My cookbook was not entirely helpful with this because it said to bake it until it felt like “cotton wool”. When I first pulled it out of the oven it did feel right but further probing with a toothpick revealed that the insides were still liquid, so I put it back, and the next time I looked it was starting to turn too dark.
The next day I cut the cake into three layers by means of sewing thread, borrowed some equipment from my mother-in-law, and went looking for the rest of my baking equipment in the basement. At about six in the evening I had this:
After whipping enormous amounts of cream, dumping one layer crosswise onto the other, smearing the whole kitchen with cream, and another hour of work the cake finally was done. The next morning we ate some of it for breakfast. It tasted delicious, and my mother-in-law has declared it to be “better than store-bought”. Ha!
I’m happy that this went so well, even if it was a bit wonky, but then it’s a cake, not a sculpture. My husband was duly moved and said that it was one of his very favorite birthday presents. I also gave him a knitted hat with the needles still in it ( a very traditional gift), and a set of Monty Python movies to take his mind off the unfinished hat, and he liked those too.
I only fear that I might have started a tradition of handmade birthday cakes around here…