Tasted all over the world, the Black Forest is a famous German pastry: the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, literally translated as “Black Forest cherry cake”.
It’s made with chocolate sponge cake layers filled with whipped cream and cherries. This delicious cake recipe is completely made from scratch and perfect for special occasions.
Origin and history
The traditional costume of the inhabitants of the Black Forest consists of black, red, and white, colors that can be found in the Black Forest (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte): red cherries, white whipped cream, and dark cocoa sponge cake. It is not certain, however, that the name of the cake really relates to this traditional costume, whose hat surmounted by large red pompoms is called Bollenhut.
Other theories exist as to its origin such as:
- The dark chocolate shavings that decorate the cake would have given it its name because they are reminiscent of a dark forest like the Black Forest;
- The name could refer to the kirsch which goes into the composition of the cake and which is made mainly in the Black Forest;
- There is an older version known as Schwarzwäldertorte, literally “Black Forest cake”. However, this one would not come from the Black Forest, but from Switzerland.
But the first mention of the cake does not originate from this mountain range in southwestern Germany. The first mention was in 1915, during the First World War.
A young pastry chef by the name of Josef Keller serves, in a pastry shop in Bad Godesberg, a dessert consisting of cherries with kirsch, chocolate, and whipped cream. The pastry chef has the idea of adding a sponge cake, when his apprentices express the wish to bring the dessert home, thus facilitating its transport and becoming the basis of the cake that we know.
It is in Josef Keller’s recipe book, transmitted to his apprentice, that the original recipe for the Schwarzwälder Kirsch, the now famous Black Forest cake, is recorded.
In the thirties, the cake spread throughout Germany, it was served in the best pastry shops in Berlin and the big cities. But it was only after the Second World War, or even the 1970s, that it really took off in the conquest of the world, to such an extent that it is now declined in all varieties, from yogurts and other industrial desserts, even ice cream, …
Tips and notes
The black forest is generally composed of a chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream, and a cherry filling. In the original recipe, this cake is soaked in kirsch which we replaced with cherry syrup.
The cake of the black forest must be an airy cake, a little spongy, which therefore absorbs the kirsch syrup perfectly well! There are many ways to make this sponge cake, some beat the whole egg, others separate the whites from the yolks. Here, we opted for separating the whites from the yolks.
We’ve also used a mixture of flour and cornstarch, to have a melting and airy result. If you do not have cornstarch, you can of course use only flour.
The cake can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight.
Chantilly cream is one of the fundamental elements of a good black forest! It must be perfectly risen to stand, to support the sponge cake on top. it is important to use the whole liquid cream. Place the whole liquid cream in the freezer for a few minutes (15 minutes) since it must be very cold for whipping it. Here, we only sweetened our whipped cream. You can add some kirch to flavor it if you really love it.
If cherries aren’t in the season, you can replace them with canned cherries. To make this cake, it is advisable to use Amarena cherries, these are large black cherries, quite firm and very fleshy. They are usually sold in syrup and must be marinated in kirsch. You can also use Morello cherries or Montmorenc cherries.
It’s better to make this dessert at least 4 hours ahead or even overnight, for flavors to develop.
- Blackout Cake;
- Yule Log Cake;
- Devil’s food Cake;
- Fudge Cake;
- German’s Chocolate Cake;
- Kalter Hund;
- Red Velvet Cake;
- Torta Caprese;
Black Forest Cake
- 6 eggs
- 200 g sugar (1 cup)
- 200 g flour (1 & ½ cups)
- 50 g cornstarch (⅓ cup)
- 50 g Cacao (⅓ cup)
- 10 g baking powder (2 tsp)
- 1 pinch salt
- 300 g cherries
- 200 g sugar
- 200 ml water
- 1 liter whipping cream (33 oz)
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 50 g cherries
- 100 g chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350 F° (175 C°). Grease and flour a 24 cm (9-in) round cake pan, 6 cm (2.5 in) tall. Line bottoms with parchment paper.
- Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peak forms.
- Beat the eggs yolks briefly to combine, then slowly add the sugar in while beating.
- Whisk flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add to egg yolks mix; beat until combined.
- With a Maryse, slowly incorporate the egg whites into the batter.
- Pour cake batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 30 minutes. Test the cooking with a skewer which should come out dry.
- Leave the sponge cake in the oven off for another 2 minutes before taking it out and unmolding it on a wire rack until completely cooled.
- Slice the cherries in half, leaving a few whole cherries for garnish. Set aside.
- In a saucepan combine the water and sugar.
- Bring to a boil and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add sliced cherries and let it boil for another 5 minutes.
- Let it cool then, drain the cherries for topping and reserve the syrup.
- Place the liquid cream in the freezer for a few minutes (about 15 minutes) in order to have a very cold cream.
- Beat the liquid cream at medium speed. When the cream begins to thicken (but not completely) incorporate the sugar.
- Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.
- Split the sponge cake into 3 layers horizontally using a long serrated knife
- To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake plate, and soak it with syrup using a brush.
- Spread with 1 cup frosting and top with ½ cherries from the syrup.
- Top with the second cake layer; repeat layers of syrup, frosting, and cherries topping. Top with the third cake layer, soak it with syrup, and frost the top and the sides of the cake. Smooth with a metal spatula.
- Using a peeler, grate the chocolate to form shavings.
- Garnish the cake with chocolate shavings around the edges and the surface. Make rosettes all around the edge of the cake.
- Place a whole cherry on each rosette.
- Place the cake in the fridge until ready to serve.