Summer has come to an end and it is time to return to our kitchen counter! Our summer trip to Mani and Kalamata filled us with knowledge, experiences and tastes and made us gastronomically and culturally richer. We hope that everything we tasted will upgrade a bit our sweet – and savory – creations…
We wanted the first sweet of the season to be a cake. Immediately in our mind came Black Forest cake with the delicious cherries, the chocolate sponge cake and the fluffy whipped cream. We remembered that we had a perfect recipe for chocolate cake and the decision was made.
In our new article we will make a cake inspired by Black Forest cake. We will learn the story of the Black Forest cake and find different ways in which it can be presented. In the end we will make our own version of Black Forest cake with a fantastic chocolate cake, a recipe that is worth keeping for other chocolate creations.
Let’s see first of all what a Black Forest cake is. It is essentially a layer cake with successive layers of chocolate cake and whipped cream, decorated with cherries and chocolate shavings, and flavored with Kirsch liqueur. The country of origin of this cake is Germany. There it is called Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.
Many believe that the Black Forest cake takes its name from the Black Forest area (Der Schwarzwald in German). However, Black Forest cake owes its name not directly to the mountain range, but to the liqueur produced there. In fact, we read that this cake is a protected product, in the sense that in Germany one can not call a cake Black Forest cake if the recipe does not include Kirsch liqueur.
We also learned that Kirsch liqueur was not born in the Black Forest, but comes from an area around central Swiss lakes. In the middle of the 19th century this drink began to be mass-produced in the area of the Black Forest.
As for the area of the Black Forest, it is not like that at all. We read that it is a medium-high mountain range, whose name comes from the trees that grow there, mainly firs. The firs are not naturally black either, but they grow quickly and densely, giving the feeling of a dark forest.
But who is the inventor who combined chocolate, cherries and Kirschwasser liqueur to make this wonderful cake? Here things get complicated since there are two competitors!
As we read, the first competitor is Josef Keller (1887-1981), who was a confectioner at Café Ahrend near Bonn. In 1915 he created what he called the Schwarzwaelder Kirsch or Black Forest Cherry. These are the testimonies of Claus Schaefer, whose father apprenticed with Josef Keller. He even has in his hands the original recipe book with the original recipe for the dessert! Claus Schaefer maintains his own patisserie in which he makes the authentic Black Forest…
On the other hand, according to archival research, there are documents that Erwin Hildenbrand invented the cake in 1930 at Café Walz in the Tingen area. There is even a photo of the confectioner making the famous dessert!
In the 1930s there are also the first written recordings of the cake. We read that especially after World War II, its fame skyrocketed. Today, a delicious Black Forest cake can be found in Germany, but also in Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy. The appearance of the cake is identical everywhere. What may differ is the replacement of Kirsch with rum – especially in Austria.
Another interesting thing we found is that the design of the cake probably reflects the colors of the local traditional costumes of the Black Forest area. There is still the version that the name Black Forrest comes from the dark chocolate flakes.
Whoever was the first inventor of the Black Forest cake, and whatever its original recipe, it is certain that it is now available in infinite versions. With the necessary ingredients of chocolate cake, liqueur, whipped cream, cherries and chocolate shavings, Black Forrest cake may not leave much room for taste variations, but it leaves a lot of room for experimentation with its appearance. Here are some examples!
And after being inspired by all these awesome ideas, it’s time to make our own Black Forest cake. We call it “like Black Forest” because we do not use any liqueur, since our cake is moist and delicious as it is. Try it and you will see!
A cake like a Black Forest cake
The ingredients for our cake
|For the chocolate cake*|
|Boiling water||120 gr|
|Sunflower oil||55 gr|
|All-purpose flour||120 gr|
|Baking powder||1 tsp|
|Cream of tartar||1/2 tsp|
|Whipped cream||500 ml|
|Cherry spoon sweet||as much as you want|
|Chocolate shavings||as much as you want|
*The recipe for the chocolate cake comes with small adaptations from the book The Baking Bible (2014) by Rose Levy Beranbaum and it is wonderful!
How to make the chocolate cake
Step 1: Mix the cocoa with the boiling water. Add the sunflower oil and leave to cool at room temperature.
Step 2: Pour into the bowl of the mixer the flour, 150 gr of the sugar (we used brown), the baking powder and the salt and beat on low for 30 seconds.
Step 3: Add the cocoa mixture and beat on low for a while until the solids are moist. Add the yolks and vanilla. Increase speed and beat for two minutes until it becomes a thick mixture.
Step 4: In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream to foam. Then slowly add the rest of the sugar, beating at high speed, until it becomes a nice meringue.
Step 5: Now is the time to combine the two mixtures. Add the meringue to the cocoa mixture and fold gently with a spatula in a circular motion, taking care not to lose its volume.
Step 6: Fill your mould and bake in a preheated oven at 175°C for 45-50 minutes. With this mixture you can also make individual cakes. In this case you will bake for 20-25 minutes. Take your cake out of the oven and let it cool well.
How to assemble the cake
Step 1: Prepare your whipped cream. The vegetable cream we chose already has sugar in it, so we just beat it well in the mixer to make a fluffy whipped cream. To flavor it, we added some of the syrup from the spoon sweet that we will use. Once it is ready, leave it aside.
Step 2: Carefully cut your cake in half to create two layers. A trick to cut it straight is to put toothpicks around the height you want to cut, so that they work as guides.
Step 3: Set up your cake! First a layer of cake, then plenty of whipped cream, cherry spoon sweet on top, a layer of cake on top and finally decoration with whipped cream, cherries and chocolate shavings. And your cake is ready!
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