Black Forest Cake is one of V’s favorite cake and for a long time he had been hinting that I should make one. Now, in India its a pretty popular cake and most people I know love it. Not me. I am not a fan and never was. I am the dark truffle cake kind of girl. Or the strawberry cheesecake girl but NOT the Black Forest Girl. So, when I decided to make this cake V and I had a deal – that he has the sole responsibility of finishing it and I won’t help. But, argghhh, my love for all things sweet- I don’t think I’ll be keeping my end of the deal. But, going by the cake, I think V is going to keep his end.
For the recipe, I took out the Cake Bible. Like the name suggests- its just that! If you love baking, this is one must-have book! Rose’s Swiss rendition of the Black Forest Cake is far lighter and more delicate than the original German one. Kirsch soaked cherries are sandwiched between two thin, light layers of liqueur moistened chocolate génoise to make the cake. (In true representation of myself, I goofed up and did not read Rose’s instruction to half the recipe for the génoise and ended up making the full recipe. Thus, instead of a two-layer cake I had a four layer cake, which was not too bad- kind of like the cake we get in Indian bakeries!)
The whipped cream is barely sweet so in case you want a sweeter taste add more sugar. Rose also gives the option of using Super Stabilized Whipped Cream. While, the Real Old Fashioned Whipped Cream is lighter in texture, the cake cannot be held at room temperature for more than 15- 30 minutes. I took my chances because I did not have the required gelatin for the Super Stabilized one. Also the Real Old Fashioned Whipped Cream is great for people with access to only the low-fat cream (the 20 % kinds), as the method given results in a 40 % butterfat cream
The cake used has the light texture of a génoise but is more velvety and moist. An equivalent amount of chocolate is used instead of cocoa, but a special technique is employed to intensify the flavor. Before being added to the batter, the chocolate is cooked with water which releases its flavor. When chocolate is dissolved in water, the surrounding barrier of cocoa butter in chocolate dissolves and swells the cocoa particles until they rupture, unlocking the flavor components, thus getting a génoise in the flavor of your favorite bittersweet chocolate bar.
You can make the cake ahead, like I did. Refrigerate or freeze it, in case you don’t plan to make it within 5 days. I kept it at room temperature as I assembled the cake the next day. This was also my first stint at making rosettes (or actually any kind of piping). Lot of improvement is possible, but I think for a first time attempt it did not turn out too bad, watsay?! V loved the look and loved the cake. Hubby is happy, my stomach and thighs are not!
This recipe was first tried on December 21st, 2010. I have made this recipe after that, and have updated the pictures as well. The pictures you see are the updated ones (only the one just below is from the original post), and though the recipe makes a four layer 9 inch cake, for the pictures I halved the recipe and made a 3 layer 6 inch cake. For just the two of us, halving the recipe works absolutely fine, since it makes a smaller cake.
I made this again for my dad’s birthday. I experienced a few problems and have learnt a few lessons and tricks to keep in mind from the mistakes I made.
Make sure you use sifted flour. Even before measuring it, sift it first, measure and sift it again over the beaten eggs 2-3 tbsp at a time. Use cake flour (making your own cake flour is given in the recipe).
To be on the safer side, you could also add a tsp of baking powder- classic genoise gets is rise only from beaten eggs, but if you are unsure of your folding skills, add a teaspoon of baking powder.
Gently fold the flour in and try not to over mix. A balloon whisk works well to fold yet not deflate the mixture, you still need to make sure to be gentle.
Also before you mix in the chocolate mixture take about 1 cup of the batter and fold it to loosen the mixture and then add it to the rest of the beaten egg-flour mixture. This will make sure you don’t end up over-mixing the batter.
Also, be generous with your syrup. Everybody loves a moist cake. Poke the cake in places with a toothpick so that the cake soaks the syrup better.
SWISS BLACK FOREST CAKE
Adapted from The Cake Bible
- 1 recipe Brandied Burgundy Cherries, (recipe follows), well drained and the syrup reserved
- ¼ cup kirsch or brandy
- ½ recipe Moist Chocolate Génoise (or if, like me, you want a taller cake then don't half the recipe and use the full recipe)
- 1 recipe Real Old Fashioned Whipped Cream
- Fresh cherries and chocolate flakes for decorating
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1 liquid cup boiling water
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ cups sifted cake flour (In case using all-purpose flour, 1¼ cup AP flour and ¼ cup corn flour)
- 1 cup pitted cherries
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- About ¼ cup Kirsch
- 3 liquid cups heavy cream
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp sugar, (can add more, if desired)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare twp 9-inch by 2-inch cake pans or 9-inch springform pans, greased, bottoms lined with parchment, and then greased and floured.
- In a heavy saucepan bring the chocolate and water to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the chocolate thickens to a pudding like consistency. (It will fall from the spoon and pool slightly before disappearing.) Cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with the whisk beater on high speed for 5 minutes or until triple in volume. (If using a hand beater, it will take about 10 minutes).
- Sift ½ the flour over the egg mixture and fold it in gently but rapidly with a slotted skimmer or large rubber spatula until some flour has disappeared. Repeat with the remaining flour until all flour has disappeared. My mom says its better to sift 2-3 tbsp at a time. This ensures that you dont have to mix it too much to incorporate the flour.
- Take about 1 cup of the batter and fold it to loosen the mixture and then add it to the rest of the beaten egg-flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate mixture until incorporated.
- Pour immediately into the prepared pans (they will be about ⅔ full) and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in the centers enters as easily as it does when inserted closer to the sides. Avoid opening the oven door before the minimum time or the cakes could fall. (It takes about 25 min in my oven, so check for doneness after 20 minutes)
- Loosen the sides and unmold at once onto lightly greased racks. Reinvert to cool. The cake can be kept at room temperature for 2 days, 5 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen.
- Simmer 1 cup pitted cherries with ¾ cup water in a covered saucepan for ten minutes or until easily pierced with a cake tester. remove the cherries with a slotted spoon to a pint jar and add the kirsch or brandy. Add ½ cup sugar to the liquid in the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to ¼ to ⅓ cup and pour over the cherries. Cover tightly and swirl to mix. Add enough liqueur to reach almost to the top of the jar. Brandied cherries are flavorful after only 12 hours but the longer they stand, the more mellow they become.
- Refrigerate the mixing bowl and beater for at least 15 minutes.
- In a small saucepan melt together ¾ cup cream and the butter, stirring constantly until the butter is fully melted. Pour into a small heatproof measuring cup and cool to room temperature. Add vanilla.
- In the chilled mixing bowl beat the remaining cream and sugar just until traces of beater marks begin to show distinctly. Add the butter mixture on low speed in a steady stream, beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks just form when the beater is raised. (Whipped cream is smoothest when the butter mixture is added gradually.) The whipped cream can be stored 2 to 3 days refrigerated.
- Split the chocolate génoise horizontally to get 4 layers. Sprinkle each side of the cake layers with the reserved cherry syrup. Cut the cherries in half.
- Reserve 2 cups whipped cream for the top of the cake and the rosettes.
- Place 1 cake layer in the bottom of the serving platter. Top with ⅓ of the remaining whipped cream. Poke the cherries into the whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining 3 layers.
- Put about ½ a cup of cream in a piping bag to make rosettes on top if desired. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining cream. Cover the sides with grated dark chocolate. Pipe rosettes on top, sprinkle chocolate flakes in the center, and place cherries on the rosettes. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours for all the flavors to develop.