In Germany true Black Forest Cake is known as “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte” and using Kirsch liqueur is mandatory, for the rest of the world, kirsch is optional. This recipe uses sour cherries, hence no kirsch is required, but it’s always nice if you have it! Black Forest Cake to most people pretty much refers to a Chocolate cake, cut in layers, filled with whipped cream and luscious cherries (either fresh or canned and thickened). I love bottled sour Cherries, so this recipe is super easy and no pitting required!
Black Forest cake is best made over a couple of days, so try to plan in advance. For best results you need to bake the cake, chill it very thoroughly, or lightly freeze, before cutting into layers- even lightly frozen. This cake uses two same-sized sandwich tins (for sponge cakes) and has three layers in the cake, the fourth is used as crumbs to coat the outside (this is great to hide imperfections and also if you accidentally mis-cut a layer, or it breaks you can use that one as the crumbs. If you’re not game- you can always just have a double layered cake and skip the extra layers (reduce the filling ingredients accordingly. I have seen up to 8 layered cakes- and all i can wonder is how on earth do they cut them without falling apart?!
Make sure the cherry filling is cooled before piecing these layers together, you do not want any mishaps. Also make sure there are no flaws in the cake layers you have cut. With the weight of the fillings on them, the chocolate cake layers are susceptible to breaking if not cut well. A good idea to have the layers very cold or partly frozen before piecing together.
Kirsch- oh it is such a wonderful liqeur, made from cherries, it definitely imparts something extra yum! Try it! This recipe has optional kirsch, to be mixed in with the cherry mixture, and also with the juice used to soak the sponge.
You do not have to use mascarpone if you do not have it, whipped cream is fine as long as you whip it to stiff peaks and add 2 Tablespoons of cornflour to help make it firm. Chill it thoroughly before piecing the layers together.You could even add some cream cheese to this mixture if you wish.
Top with ganache, cherries, whipped cream, grated chocolate, or simply more cake crumbs.
- 2 1/8 Cups Plain Flour
- 2 Cups White Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Dark Cocoa Powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 3/4 teaspoon Bicarb of Soda
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 500 grams Mascarpone
- 1 Cup (250 ml) Thickened Cream
- 90 grams Pure Icing Sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 900 gram can Sour/Morello Cherries (juice reserved)
- 2/3 Cup of the reserved Cherry Juice
- 1/4 Cup Cornflour
- 30mls of Kirsch (optional)
- 100 grams Dark Cooking Chocolate
- 1/2 Cup (125 mls) Thickened Cream
- 200 mls of the reserved Cherry juice
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 30-60 mls Kirsch (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius, Fan Forced.
- Grease and line two 20 cm sponge tins with baking paper rounds.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (Flour, Cocoa, Baking Powder, Bi-Carb and Salt).
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together, add the Milk, Oil and the Vanilla.
- Pour the wet ingredients into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and beat until thoroughly incorporated and no dry flour pockets remain.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Set aside to cool. Best left overnight in the fridge before cutting the layers.
- Cut each cake horizontally in half, trimming off any uneven parts where the cake has risen. You will be using three layers for the cake, and use the fourth, worst cut layer (ha ha), as the crumbs to pat around the outside edges, do not crumb the layer until right at the end in case there are any mishaps with the cake whilst piecing together. If you have a proper cake layering levelling tool, use it!
- In a small to medium saucepan, place the drained Cherries and 2/3 Cup of the reserved juice along with 1/4 Cup of cornflour and optional kirsch.
- Over medium heat stir until cherries have thickened.
- Set aside until cooled.
- Place Mascarpone and sifted Pure Icing Sugar in a high sided bowl. Beat with electric beater until smooth and thoroughly combined.
- Add 1 Cup of Cream and 1 teaspoon Vanilla, beat in thoroughly until thick and smooth. Place in fridge to chill until ready to piece cake together.
- Heat 200 mls of reserved juice either on stove top or in microwave, add 3 Tablespoons of sugar and stir until dissolved. Microwave further if required. Add the Kirsch (30 mls or so is plenty).
- Microwave 125 mls Thickened Cream in a heatproof jug until bubbling.
- Immediately add the chocolate, stir with a metal spoon and let sit for 1-2 minutes until continuing to stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Chocolate should be fully dissolved, if not microwave another 15-20 seconds. Stir again and then chill until required, or at least down to room temperature to thicken.
- Start with one layer of the chilled chocolate cake, place on the plate you wish to serve it on (too hard to move once put together) coat with 1/3 of the Cherry syrup by carefully spooning over the porous side of the cake. Cake will absorb this well.
- Use 1/3 of the whipped Mascarpone and evenly spread over the cake layer using a flat knife.
- Carefully spoon 1/3 of the cooled Cherry Filling on top of the mascarpone layer.
- Repeat with a layer of cake, syrup, mascarpone and cherries.
- Place Final layer of cake on top. Spoon over Cherry Syrup.
- You may with to use another layer of mascarpone, create a rim of cherries on top of this.
- Then using the crumbs of the fourth cake layer, press all around the outside vertical edge of the cake. The crumbs will stick very well to the exposed mascarpone/cherry filling, and as the cake is moist it will hold very well.
- You can then pour the chocolate ganache on top of the cake and drizzle over the edge of the cherry rim.
- Alternatively you may with to use just ganache, chill the cake, and then pipe on pretty mascarpone rosettes and then add cherries. You may wish to use no ganache the options are endless. Even using shaved chocolate around the outside and having a 4 layered cake is an idea (there should be enough mascarpone to do this, but you will probably need extra cherry filling.).