Following on from the notorious watermelon cake comes Black Star Pastry’s newest dessert, the Japanese forest cake. The fluffy, crumbly dessert evokes owner Christopher Thé’s memories from a recent trip to Japan. It’s also inspired by Germany’s famous Black Forest cake.
Fragrant with fruit and oozing with cream, it’s a cake Thé fell in love with it as a child. “There was a nearby patisserie that did a magnificent one. I loved it and my family had it for almost every birthday. That shop eventually closed, so making my own version is a way for me to get nostalgic about my childhood.”
On a recent trip to Japan, the team stumbled across Choya, a Japanese plum brandy. “It immediately reminded me of all those obscure liqueurs and digestives, which are the backbone of so many desserts I would make in my Claude French restaurant days,” says Thé. “These concoctions give the cake that depth of flavour, complexity and adult woozy-head feel that makes European cakes so European.”
The Japanese forest cake is made with multiple layers: hojicha (smoked tea) sponge; Choya; confit Japanese plums, similar in flavour and texture to poached cherries; umeshu-infused cream (a sweet-and-sour Japanese liqueur); matcha moss leaves; and barks of dark chocolate.
“The Japanese countryside inspired this dessert. Somehow nature in Japan seems to arrange itself in the most beautiful and alluring way. Leaves grow and fall with such elegance,” says Thé. “I am very proud of this cake. I love the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is all about beauty in imperfection.”
The Japanese black forest cake will be available from August 25 at Black Star Pastry in Newtown.