About the Recipe
Black forest cake. Originating from Germany, this cake is said to be named after the specialty liquor "Schwarzwälder Kirsch" which translates to " Black Forrest. Kirsch is made by fermenting sour cherries (hence the use of cherries in this cake). The cake is made by layering various amounts of chocolate sponge cakes with kirsch infused whipped cream and cherries. It is light, moist and delicious!
I am lucky because in my life, this cake has always been my mother's birthday cake. So I am sure to enjoy a slice of it at least once a year.
I love this cake because although it seems like it will be overly decadent, it is light and fluffy. The cherries and kirsch bring a nice tart flavor and moistness to the cake and the whipped cream brings everything together.
Growing up we would get this cake from a little bakery close to my childhood cottage. Topped with maraschino cherries and sprinkled on the sides with chocolate sprinkles I always looked forward to devouring my piece of my moms cake.
Since this cake is not always easy to get. I decided years ago to start making it from scratch. I believe the original recipe I got was from my best friend who had a beautiful William Sonoma cookbook that was gifted to her. I believe the original recipe included some coffee (which I never add) and I changed a few of the measurements to include more chocolate and a little more kirsch.
Genuine cherry kirsch is sometimes tricky to find. If you cannot find any you can replace it with fruit flavored brandy. Cherry preferably if you can get it. If you don't want to buy a large bottle you can just get two miniature bottles and you will have the right amount for this recipe.
You should be able to find pitted cherries at your local grocery store. They are usually found in the baking section. The last time I was there however, I could only find cherries in a can, the type that are in a sweet jelly used for pies. I bought them and just rinsed them under cold water to get rid of the jelly and they worked beautifully for this cake!
Even though this cake has many steps, it is easy to make. If you have never tried a black forest cake or want a special cake you don't have every day, I highly recommend trying this one! It comes out moist and delicious every time!
3/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
6 Eggs (separated)
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1 cup Pitted Cherries
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Water
2 tablespoons Kirsch
2 1/2 cups Whipping Cream
4 tablespoons Icing Sugar
2 tablespoons Kirsch
Preheat oven to 350F
You will need four medium sized mixing bowls and a medium saucepan to prepare your ingredients.
Use two of the bowls to separate your egg whites from your egg yolks.
To the egg yolks add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar. With a hand mixer, beat until you have a smooth and creamy butter-yellow mixture. Add in the vanilla and make sure everything is well incorporated.
Make sure to properly clean your beaters before beating your egg whites. If not, they may not give you the nice fluffy texture you desire. Beat your egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and mix until well blended.
Take your egg white mixture and with a rubber spatula, gently fold it into your egg yolks. You want to do it slowly so that you keep the mixture light and fluffy.
In the third bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt, making sure to get rid of any lumps.
Slowly fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture using the same rubber spatula until everything is well incorporated.
Next prepare two 8-9" round baking pans by rubbing some butter all over. Don't forget the sides! I like to use a piece of paper towel for this or just tear off a small bit of the foil paper from your butter stick.
Add some flour and tap it around your pans so that all is nicely coated (but not clumped). I like to turn my pans upside down and give the backs a good tap to be sure I get rid of any excess.
Fill each pan with equal amounts of batter.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool for about 5 minutes and transfer cakes to a wire cooling rack.
In the meantime, prepare your cherry syrup and whipping cream.
In a medium sauce pan, add 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. On low heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved ( you'll know when you do not see any more of the sugar granules).
Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of Kirsch and the pitted cherries. Let this mixture stand for about 30 minutes so that it cools down and the cherries can soak up the flavors.
In the meantime, make your whipped cream. Use the hand mixer to beat the whipping cream into stiff peaks in the forth bowl. Add the icing sugar and kirsch, and mix some more until everything is well incorporated.
Now it is time to build your cake!
Once the cakes are cooled, brush a thin layer of the cherry syrup over the the top of the bottom cake layer. Next, evenly spread half the whipping cream over top.
Next, arrange a layer of cherries over the whipping cream. This will be the center of the cake, so do not be shy with how many cherries you put. Just remember to keep some for the top. How many to keep for decorating is up to you.
Once you have a nice layer of cherries, place the second layer of cake overtop and brush with cherry syrup.
Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream and cherries. I decided to pipe the whipped cream on the top layer, but spreading it will give an equally nice look. You can also sprinkle some chocolate over top if you desire.
Serve and enjoy!!