This authentic Black Forest cake recipe is THE traditional German chocolate cake, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. With its layers of chocolate sponge cake, kirsch-permeated cherries and whipped cream frosting, it truly is a delightful dessert.
This version is one of the easier ones to make, so even if you're not an experienced baker, you can enjoy this world-famous treat any time you wish.
To be authentic, Kirschwasser is drizzled over the delicious chocolate cake layers and also added to the cherry filling. Topped with whipped heavy (whipping) cream, chocolate shavings, and cherries, this Black Forest cake is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat. WUNDERBAR!
However, you can be as creative as you wish. Instead of using chocolate sprinkles, pour some chocolate ganache over the top and let it drip down the sides. Decorate with whipped cream and cherries. Voilà! Elegance is served.
Really modern is to serve it 'naked'! That means nothing on the sides (that means 'naked'). Just some whipped cream on top with cherries.
Below, I've decorated it with sliced almonds on the sides and jarred sour cherries on top, a rather non-traditional way. Or, make it totally traditional with chocolate shavings surrounding the sides and fresh cherries on top of the cake.
The easy answer could be that it's from the Black Forest region of Germany. (That's in Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany). That may be true or not.
No actual record of this cake's origin exists. There are several theories, however.
One is that the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, literally translated as "Black Forest Cherry Torte", takes its name from the distinctive kirsch liquor (Schwarzwälder Kirsch or Kirschwasser) that is made from the Black Forest sour cherries.
Another gives the credit for this delicious cake to Josef Keller of the Cafe Ahrend in Bad Godesberg in Bonn, in 1915.
Whichever it is, this rich dessert is now world-known as one of Germany's most recognizable and best loved cake.
By the way, that's me below, many, many, many years ago, with our oldest granddaughter, Alana, and the first time she had an authentic black forest cake, minus the kirsch. To amp up the cherry flavor, I used some cherry juice, a great alternative when serving this cake to children.
The handsome young man?
Well, that's Richard (aka Eran), our youngest son. You can read about his culinary escapades in Rich's Meals.
Using maraschino cherries is an Americanized addition to this, my first authentic Black Forest cake recipe was served for my granddaughter, Alana's fourth birthday ... many, many years ago.
Maraschino cherries have become the staple topping for Black Forest cakes throughout much of the world. However, that's not the case in Germany. Schattenmorellen (Morello sour cherries) are used in the filling as well as the deco on top.
If you're looking for something that is quicker to make, and yes, easier, then take a look at this one.
Easy, because it uses a cake mix, cherry pie filling, and whipped cream. Yummy as well, even if not identical to the one that's made from scratch. But it will satisfy those Black Forest Cake cravings when you're in a hurry.
NOTE: The cake needs at about two to four hours of resting time, so take that into your "time" consideration. The cake could be baked the day before filling as well.
Even though it takes some time, this IS the cake to make that will impress your guests with your culinary skills. And, it really is quite simple to make. Just follow it step-by-step.
First, as always, gather your ingredients and pre-measure each. That way you know you have what you need when you need it :)
Mix the dry ingredients together. That sounds simple, yes. Actually, this whole recipe is simple :)
Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Make sure you use very clean beaters and bowl, since even the tiniest hint of grease will not let the egg whites whip.
Mix the egg yolks and water together. If you are using vanilla extract instead of vanilla sugar, add it to the egg yolk mixture.
Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the whipped egg whites.
Do this gently and then gently fold them together. You want to deflate the egg whites as little as possible.
Once you've folded the eggs together, sift the dry ingredients over the top. I find using a sifter the easiest, but if you don't have one, then just use a sieve. Remember, I said this is simple.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg mixture. Do this by using a flat spatula or a hand whisk. Run it around the edge of the bowl and reach to the bottom of the bowl, pulling ingredients over each other until mixed. Try to deflate the batter as little as possible.
Once mixed, pour it gently into a parchment-paper lined springform pan and level the top with an offset spatula.
Now it's ready for the oven. See, that was simple!
Once baked, let it cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the outer ring. Once completely cold, invert and remove the bottom of the pan and peel off the parchment paper.
Now it's time to cut this into three layers. But first, put three wooden toothpicks into the side. This way, it's easy to align the layers once it's time to put them back together.
An easy way to cut these layers is to use a special cake cutting tool, such as a cake leveler slicer kit. I brought a kit back from Germany on one of my trips. It works great as long as the cake is not still warm and freshly baked. It works perfect if the cake is nice and cold or baked the day previous.
While you were waiting for that cake to cool, it's the perfect time to get that yummy Black Forest cherry filling made. This way it has time to cool down completely before you need it. Add some kirsch brandy if you'd like to amp up the flavor!
Place the bottom layer on a cake serving plate. Put strips of waxed paper or parchment paper under the edges so that the plate will stay nice and clean during your decorating process.
Now spray that bottom layer, and all the other layers, with some kirsch brandy. If you don't have a spray bottle, then you can just drizzle it over with a spoon.
Whip the heavy cream together with Dr. Oetker's Sahnesteif aka Whip It. Set it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Oh, if you wish, you can add a tablespoon of cherry brandy just as you come to the end of whipping the cream.
Either use the springform ring or a cake ring (as I have in the photo below) and place it around the bottom layer. Tighten it so that there is no gap between the cake and the ring.
Oh, if you used those wooden toothpicks, put a mark on the waxed paper where that bottom pick is and remove the pick in order to put that ring on.
Pipe a row of whipped cream around the outside edge. Put half the cherry filling in the middle.
Repeat with the second layer, lining up its wooden pick with the mark on the waxed paper and removing the pick as you add that layer. Spoon any remaining whipped cream over the cherry layer.
Place the top layer on top, lining it up as well, and press down slightly. Cover with plastic wrap or a cake dome and place in the fridge to chill thoroughly.
Whip the remaining heavy cream with the stabilizer and spread it thinly over the whole cake as a skim coat. If you're keeping the cake 'naked', don't spread any on the outside edge.
Using your hands, press the chocolate shavings over the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining shavings over the top. Pipe whipped cream rosettes around the top edge and place a cherry on each.
Your Black Forest cake is ready to serve.
See, that wasn't that difficult, was it.
Oh, for fun, mist each cake slice with some extra cherry brandy just before you serve them.
For a quick and easy version, check out my really Easy Black Forest Cake -- this one uses your favorite chocolate cake mix, heavy (whipping) cream, and cherry pie filling. It's easy and delicious and QUICK! A very easy Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte recipe that's simple enough for beginner bakers (or if you're in a real hurry.)
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