Black Forest cake is a popular celebration cake. You know it’s popular when Costco sells it in large slabs. I had it; it is a cake for a crowd. Bakeries have it too, most of them look good, but the taste is forgettable. The best black forest cake I ever had was from the Red Coach Inn Bakery in 100 Mile House back in the early seventies. Sadly it is no more.
I had fresh cherries so I made a black forest cake. If you don’t have fresh cherries substitute canned or dried cherries. This cake will not be around too long, so there is no need to cook the life out of the fresh cherries. I thought I will be authentic and followed an “authentic” German recipe. It was as authentic as slow cooker gulyás. So I went to one of my old standbys and made a moist, chocolaty cake. I winged the rest and this is how it turned out.
The cherries require overnight soaking time. This makes it a two day project, still this is not a complex cake. Bake the cake and set the cherries to soak. A day old cake is much easier to handle. The following day make the chocolate ganache and whip up the cream and assemble the cake. Let it chill for a few hours so the flavours can develop. Jolly good cake.
Brandied Bing Cherries
• Make the brandied cherries first.
• Bake the cocoa cake and set aside until the following day.
• Next day make the ganache and let it cool to room temperature.
• Drain the brandied cherries and reserve the syrup.
• Select 12 brandied cherries and set them aside for the decoration
• Meanwhile cut the cake into two horizontal layers.
• Next whip the cream and place it in the fridge until needed.
• Assemble the cake.
• Chill for a few hours before serving.
1 cup + 12 pitted cherries
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup Kirsch or cherry brandy or rum
• Wash and pit the cherries. A cherry pitter is useful.
• Place the cherries in a lidded heat proof container and set aside.
• Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.
• Bring to the boil and reduce to 1/4 cup.
• Remove from heat and stir in the choice of liqueur.
• Pour the syrup over the cherries and cover.
• Let the cherries stand in the brandied syrup for 10 hours or overnight. The cherries will let out some of their juice, so the syrup will triple in volume. Some of it will be used for soaking the cake.
4 Tbsp cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
8 egg yolks
8 Tbsp sugar
8 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Very lightly oil the bottom of 9 inch spring form cake pan.
• Oiling the bottoms will keep the parchment paper in place. Make sure no oil gets on the sides.
• Line a bottom with parchment paper.
• Line the bottom of the cake pans with the parchment circles.
• Sift the cake flour, baking powder and the cocoa into a medium sized bowl and set it aside.
• Beat the egg yolks and sugar for 5 minutes.
• Stir the flour mixture into the yolk mix with a wooden spoon.
• With clean beaters beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
• Add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar.
• Gradually fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.
• Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
• Gently smooth out the top.
• Bake at 350F until the middle springs back.
• Remove cake from the oven.
• Gently cut along the edge and place on a wire rack to cool.
• Open up the springs and remove the ring.
• Place the cake, still attached to the bottom of the spring form pan on a platter.
• Loosely cover the cake and place it in the fridge for overnight.
1 cup heavy whipping cream [at least 35%]
8 squares [8oz] of good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
• The following day make the ganache first.
• Bring 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a boil.
• Lower heat and stir in 8 squares or 8 oz of semisweet chocolate.
• Stir briskly until partially melted.
• Remove from heat and whisk until smooth.
• The ganache will thicken as it cools.
• To spead up cooling, refrigerate the ganache for a short time, stirring often, until it reaches spreadable consistency. If the ganache becomes too stiff, place the dish in hot water, but only for a short time. Whisk it again for uniform consistency.
• Next prepare the whipping cream.
1-1/2 cups whipping cream [at least 35%]
3 tbsp icing sugar
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla
• Refrigerate the mixing bowl and beater for 15 minutes.
• Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
• Add the sugar and the vanilla extract and whip until stiff peaks form.
• Refrigerate whipped cream until use.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
• Drain the cherries, reserving the syrup.
• Select out 12 cherries and set them aside for the decoration.
• Remove the parchment and place the cake on a clean, level surface.
• Cut the cake into two layers horizontally.
• Place the bottom cake layer on a serving platter.
• Sprinkle with 3/8 cup of the reserved cherry syrup.
• Place 1/2 cup of ganache in a piping bag and pipe a ring around the edge of the cake layer. This will prevent the whipped cream from oozing out between the layers.
• Spread half of the whipped cream inside the piped ganache ring.
• Scatter the cherries on the top [not including the 12 you set aside for decoration]
• Place the other cake layer on the top.
• Poke the top with a fork and sprinkle 3/8 cup of cherry syrup on the top.
• Spread 2/3 of the remaining ganache on the sides.
• Spread the remaining ganache on the top.
• From the remaining whipping cream, pipe large rosettes around the perimeter.
• Place the brandied cherries you set aside in the middle of each rosette.
• Refrigerate for at least 4 hours for all the flavours to develop.