The Tastebud Traveler
Always Learn, Always Travel
Week 5 -Black Forrest Cake - Germany
I started this weeks dessert with a few things against me. First, I am not a cake baker. I don't have the finesse and attention to detail required for the beauty of cakes. Secondly, the dessert that i was making, Black Forrest Cake, while pretty popular here in The States, had never been a favorite of mine. Thirdly, most of the ingredients were not easily accessible where i live.
While still perhaps not my favorite of cakes, I definitely learned a lot from challenging myself, and found that a traditional Black Forrest Cake is pretty darn good. Also, the husband LOVED it so that's always a WIN. Finally, the ingredient challenges made me work with what i had and made me think about how to adapt and change.
Now for a little background: Black Forrest Cake or Schwarzwaderkirschtorte, the proper German name(see pronuciation guide below), is a likely 20th century invention made up of several of the products of the Black Forrest Region of Germany. Black Cherries, grown in abundance in the region, and Kirsch a clear cherry brandy.
Claims of who invented it abound, but no matter where it started, as the 20th century wore on it started getting traction first in Germany, especially Berlin in the Middle of the 20th century, and then becoming a well known cake worldwide.
schvarts-vel-der keersh- TOR -teh
Black Forrest Cake is a layer cake made with a decadent chocolate sponge soaked with Kirsch liquor. In between each layer is a thick cream filled to the max with yummy cherries, and the cake is frosted all over with a surplus of whipped cream. Finally, it is usually artistically coated in shards of chocolate, swirls of frosting, and more cherries. I went a more simple route.
I adapted Bekah Goertzen's recipe to work with ingredients available to me. For her complete delicious recipe Click HERE
You will find as your read the recipe that it is made over the course of several days, you're not going to get the fullness of flavor if you try to make it on the same day. The first day i took two cans of red tart cherries and soaked them in Kirsch. Then the next moring I began by sifting together a rather run-of-the-mill mixture of flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, then adding to a shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk mixture. At this point it reminded me of a Red Velvet Cake recipe without the food coloring. The only unusual part is the amount of buttermilk that's used in the recipe which gives it up a lot of depth of flavor. On a frugal note it's also nice to use a nice amount of buttermilk in this recipe. It always seems like we buy a giant container of buttermilk and then it goes to waste because the recipe we need it for uses a tablespoon or two.
Give it a mixing and then pour into your super classy lined baking tins. Yours will definitely look classier if you use the much more elegant parchment paper instead of my sketchy aluminum foil liners. Oh well, it does in a pinch.
Between 15 and 20 minutes of the oven your cakes are ready. I found they baked unevenly, so I started checking at 15 minutes and all three were ready a few minutes apart. Leave to cool for a bit in the pan and in a few minutes flip them out. Next you poke holes all over the tops of your cake with toothpicks and brush or pour your Kirsch liquor that you used to soak your cherries overnight. This will compromise the strength of the cake, so if you don't already have the filling ready, wait before you coat your cakes in the liquor or you'll have broken cakes ( not that I had that experience of course, LOL) .
The filling consists of powdered sugar, butter, a pinch of salt and espresso ( or my choice strong coffee). YUM! You will at this point chop your cherries. Don't make the mistake I did and get the espresso too warm in the powder sugar it will melt and cause you heartache and pain! Seriously!
Next you layer your cake. Cake, filling, cherries, cake, filling, cherries. The recipe recommended waiting a day or so with the cake in the fridge to let everything soak in.
Now you're ready to frost. I made my own frosting which was a simple three cups heavy cream and about 1/3 cup powdered sugar and i beat until stiff. Frost all over!!!!!!
The cake is super moist and decadent but light. It's not too sweet and the espresso and Kirsch make for a lot of depth of flavor. Definitely make this cake, or try it when visiting the Black Forrest Region!
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