When it comes to decorating our homes, how often do we wrestle… with the decor of the moment, with white or beige because both are completely safe or with matchy matchy because that way we can’t go wrong? Damn it we do it often. Why damn it? Because it makes us all pretty stylish in degrees but without too much amazing decorating courage! And big pity, because beyond those restrictions is when we become creative beyond our selfimposed limits and do really thrilling, even breathtaking stuff! So hello spring, you are our greatest ally!
So why do we love spring? Because all the floral stuff is the greatest inspiration of colour, pattern and designs all crashing together like the most delightful garden in full bloom. How much pleasure do we take from wandering through one of those? And that natural creativity is what we need to take indoors.
If you’re a candidate for loving the look as much as we do, hurry to our delightful decorating feature and extend your beautiful inventiveness until it’s in full bloom. Then take inspiration from our magnificent garden features and just enjoy the delights of this issue. I must say our cover chocolate cake is now a favourite of mine – I love the cheering that comes with its arrival! And for the next few months I’m just going to bury myself in the blossoms. You too.
So here's a little taste of what's in the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Go and enjoy!
Julia Zaetta, editor-in-chief
Individual Black Forest tortes
Preparation time: 30 mins plus 3 hours 15 mins chilling
Cooking time: 25 mins
• 220g margarine, melted, plus extra, to grease
• 2/3 cup self-raising flour, sifted
• 1/2 cup cocoa powder
• 1 cup caster sugar
• 4 free-range eggs
• 2 Tbsp milk
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 150g white cooking chocolate, chopped
• 400ml thickened cream
• 1/4 cup icing sugar mixture
• 400g canned cherries, in syrup, drained, plus extra 400g (not drained), to serve
• 4 Tbsp kirsch
• 80g dark chocolate, grated, to serve
Step 1 Preheat oven to 180C. Grease two 23cm square cake tins with margarine. Line base and sides with baking paper. Line base of four 10cm springform tins with baking paper. Line sides with an 8cm tall three layer collar of foil then with 1 layer of baking paper.
Step 2 Put melted margarine, flour, cocoa, caster sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Divide among prepared square tins and smooth surface.
Step 3 Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut eight 10cm rounds from cakes.
Step 4 Put chocolate and 100ml of the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until chocolate melts. Refrigerate for 15 minutes until cold.
Step 5 Put icing sugar and the remaining cream in a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Pour in cooled chocolate mixture. Whisk to combine. Set aside 8 Tbsp of the mixture. Fold cherries through remaining.
Step 6 Push a round of cake into each springform tin. Drizzle with a little kirsch. Divide cherry cream between tins and top with remaining sponge, pressing down gently to stick to cream.
Step 7 Spoon 2 Tbsp of the reserved cream mixture onto each torte. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Step 8 Carefully remove tortes from tins. Top with extra cherries and syrup. Serve sprinkled with chocolate.