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German Black Forest Cake

Germany has long been known for its love of and quality of its chocolate, and the Black Forest area in the south is known for the quality of its pastries, and especially for its sour cherries and Kirsch made from those cherries. Kirsch or Kirschwasser is a double distilled, clear cherry brandy made from the small, sour Morello cherry which has a dark red skin. They leave the pits in the cherries when preparing the 'mash' for distilling and some of them are crushed, which gives a sort of bitter almond flavor to Kirsch.

Black Forest Cake - Schwarzw\alder Kirsch torte (chocolate layer cake with Kirsch, whipped cream, sour cherries and chocolate curls) - originated in Swabia in the Black Forest Region. When and by whom I have never seen any references. But it was most likely soon after chocolate arrived in the late 16th century. Austria, Spain and France were the countries who drank the most hot chocolate then (its original use) and chocolate and cherries just naturally go together.



  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into bits
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup CAKE flour (not self rising flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 2 pounds canned sour cherries, drained, reserving the juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch (cherry liqueur or brandy)


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 water
  • 1/4 cup Kirsch (cherry liqueur or brandy)

Chocolate Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatine
  • 3 tablespoons Kirsch (cherry liqueur or brandy)
  • 3 cups well-chilled heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate shavings and curls
  • Glaced or maraschino cherries for garnish


  1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 7- or 8-inch cake pans, line them with wax paper and butter and flour the paper.
  2. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water melt the chocolate with the butter, vanilla and water, stirring until smooth. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Into a bowl sift together the flour and salt.
  4. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the eggs with the sugar for 5 to 10 minutes, or until batter ribbons when beaters are lifted. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined and fold in chocolate mixture gently but thoroughly.
  5. Pour batter into pans, smoothing the tops, and bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 5 minutes. Run knife around edge of pans and invert onto racks to cool completely.
  6. Make the filling: In a saucepan combine reserved cherry juice, sugar and cornstarch. Bring mixture to a boil over moderate heat, stirring, and simmer, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in cherries and kirsch, transfer to a bowl and let cool. Filling may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.
  7. Make the syrup: In a saucepan combine the sugar and water, bring to a simmer, stirring, and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and stir in Kirsch. Let cool.
  8. Make the whipped cream topping: In small saucepan combine gelatine and Kirsch and let soften 5 minutes. Gently heat mixture over low heat, stirring, until liquid is clear. Remove from heat.
  9. In chilled bowl with chilled beaters beat cream until it holds soft peaks; add sugar, cocoa, and vanilla extract and beat until it holds stiff peaks. Add gelatine mixture in stream, beating, and beat until it holds stiff peaks.
  10. Assemble cake: Invert one layer of cake onto a cardboard round, brush with some of syrup and spread half cherry filling over it. Spread 1 1/2 cups of whipped cream over cherries, sprinkle with 1/4 cup chocolate shavings and invert second layer of genoise onto cake. Brush with syrup, spread with remaining cherry filling and top with 1 1/2 cups whipped cream, spreading it into an even layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of chocolate shavings and invert third genoise layer onto cake. Brush top with syrup and spread remaining whipped cream over top and sides of cake reserving about 2/3 cup for garnish.
  11. Transfer remaining whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe rosettes decoratively around top and bottom edge of cake and top the rosettes (on top edges of cake) with glaced cherries. Sprinkle top of cake with remaining chocolate shavings and let cake stand, covered and chilled, for at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours.
  12. Store cake in refrigerator.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Posted by Olga at Recipe Goldmine Sunday Dec 10th, 2006 03:00 pm.