Wunderbar Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Anytime I have ever had black forest cake it has always been dry and disappointing.  Which makes no sense – what’s not to like about the combination of chocolate, cherries and whip cream? Now the Germans are not famous for their desserts (Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte – translation: Black Forest Cherry Torte), but in this particular instance I think they have a real winner, if done properly.  Some items the Black Forest area in Germany is famous for is chocolate, Morello cherries, and Kirsh.  I almost want to rush mountainside and start singing, “These are a few of my favourite things.”  The Black Forest area is also home to one weird hat – the Bollenhut  .  Is it a coincidence this topper resembles cherries?  Actually the whole outlandish garb looks like the cake: the black dress (chocolate), the white puffy sleeves (whip cream), and that crazy hat (cherries).

Bollenhut

Bollenhut

The Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte got its name neither from the mountain ranges nor from the cherries the cake contains.  Actually, the “black forest Kirsch” is responsible for the name.  The trick to this cake is the Kirsch (which most North American recipes leave out). Kirsch is the common name for Kirschwasser; clear schnapps which is not a sweet liquor. “Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser” is an official tradename. Cherries from the black forest area must be used and the Kirsch must be distilled in the black forest. In Germany, you can not even call the cake a Black Forest Cake unless the cherry spirit is very noticeable.  That underscores just how significant this ingredient is to the cake.

We made our cake in class, so I was limited to what ingredients I had.  If I was making this at home I would adjust it slightly (where I have noted)

Yield: three 7 inch cakes (enough to make 2 cakes)

you can divide all ingredients in half if you choose to make only 1 cake

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Ingredients

Devils Food Cake

470g sugar

160g unsalted softened butter

5g salt

5g vanilla

320g pastry flour

90g cocoa powder

40g whole milk powder (do not replace with regular milk)

10g baking powder

5g baking soda

320ml water

5 large eggs

Kirsh Simple Syrup

145g white sugar

150ml  water

150ml  Kirsch

Filling & Decorations

2 litre whipping cream

10g vanilla

280g fine white sugar

1 kg cherry pie filling

150ml Kirsch

300g chocolate shavings

16 maraschino cherries

Pre-Heat oven to 350

coat three 7″ pans with baking spray and flour-OR cocoa powder

Cake Instructions

– cream butter and sugar with hand mixer or stand mixer until just mixed

– sift flour, cocoa, milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt – all together

– add flour mixture to butter mixture and pour water on top

– mix on medium speed for 5min

– scrape down sides and bottom

– add all eggs at once and mix until JUST blended (do not over-mix)

– scrape down sides and bottom again (NOTE – this is the secret to this cake being light-airy and moist)

– mix again on high for 3min

– finished batter should resemble a light chocolate mouse

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Bake for 30-40min or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean

While cake is baking prepare the Simple Syrup and Filling

Simple Syrup Directions

– combine sugar, water, kirsch in small saucepan and heat on medium until sugar is dissolved

taste and ensure to your liking – you can add more Kirsch if syrup is not strong enough

– let syrup cool to room temperature

Filling Directions

– place cream, vanilla, sugar in bowl and mix on high with hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form

– place whipped cream in fridge

Chocolate Shavings

In class we had a LARGE solid block of 85%cocoa chocolate that we shaved with a chef knife(which was a bit scary)

– for home use you can make your own or buy pre-shaved chocolate (expensive but easy)

– to make your own shavings – please go to  DIY chocolate shavings as the instructions are very good

Cherry Filling

– mix Kirsch into cherry filling and set aside

NOTE – if I was making this cake at home I would use my homemade cherry pie filling, which I think would give this cake a truly decadent taste

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– Slice off top of cake (do not use this for your layered cake) – Yum extra treats to eat while assembling the cake

– divide each cake into 3 layers for a total 9 layers

– each cake will have 4 layers – discard one layer OR one cake can have 5 layers

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– you can use a cake slicer if you have one (this is the easiest) if not use a serrated bread knife and place on a cake stand turn-table and slowly rotate table to slice an even layer

– using a pastry brush, brush the top of cake layers generously with the simple syrup

this syrup has 3 functions: the important flavour component, adds an extra moistness to the cake, and lastly helps with shelf life

– using a pastry bag with star tip #5 fill with whipping cream filling

– place one of the bottom slices on a cake board

– pipe cream along outside ring and pipe smaller ring in centre

-in between the two circles fill with the cherry filling

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– repeat with all layers except TOP layer

– mask top and sides with whipping cream

– pipe 8 rosettes on top

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 – place chocolate shavings in centre of cake

– in class we used chocolate sprinkles for sides – which I thought looked a little cheezy/ again if I was making at home I would use chocolate shavings instead

– to add side chocolate sprinkles or shavings:

place chocolate shavings or sprinkles on large cookie sheet and carefully hold cake from bottom and scoop up chocolate and gently pour down side of cake until entire cake side is covered (not an easy task)

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– add cherries on top of rosettes

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Traditional Black Forest would not use maraschino cherries.  This is a North American thing.  If making at home I would soak Dark Sweet Cherries in Kirsch with stems left on for 24hrs., drain and use these for my decorations.

I know there seems like a million steps to this cake, but it actually was quite easy and it does make an excellent show stopper dessert.  If you really wanted to cheat and make this dessert quickly … oh, never mind,  you know what to do (or at least Betty Crocker does).

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