German Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte

Friends, let me share with you the beast of all cakes that I know of thus far – The Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte. This monster is difficult for a few reasons:

1. There are a million steps to it and you have to find a way to do it simultaneously.

2. There are 3 layers of hell that you have to fill with whipped cream and cherry filling which usually collapses

3. This is not a job for one person, a beginner, or someone who doesn’t like baking.

4. You need a German wing-man in the kitchen, without this, failure is on the horizon.

Ok so maybe it’s not that extreme but realistically, this is a very difficult cake to make. I made it for Toblerone’s birthday last year with the help of my mom and it wasn’t too bad. A few technical difficulties but easily avoidable this time around. Problem for me is, I know for a FACT that something is different here as far as ingredients are concerned. I haven’t figured it out yet but every time I bake now nothing comes out the way it should. In the US I had no problem at all with my baking. Cookies were perfect, cakes also good. And here…I end up with all sorts of messes that never see the light of day, only the inside of the trash can. I’m on a mission to figure out what it is…maybe the conversions aren’t totally spot on as far as celsius to Farenheit, or the sugar and flour are processed differently, eggs are from the wrong chickens? I have no idea. Anyways, life goes on!

Last year I used the recipe I found on Diana’s Desserts, after discussing with Toblerone if this was closer to what he remembers from home. I was given the “go”  from him and my mom and I battled it out in the kitchen armed with spatulas and pans for 5 hours one evening. Literally, 5 hours.

This is the exact recipe pulled from the above website but I’ll walk you through where I changed a few things and tips that I have as well. If you look on the website at the comments, you’ll see that many people had struggles with this. Whether it was the recipe itself or the instructions, who knows but it’s a toughy!

For The Cake:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into bits
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick/3 oz/85g) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
l/3 cup water
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cake flour SPICE TIP: This is an important ingredient since you’re not using any other flour, baking powder, baking soda, etc. Make sure you have cake flour. I have the Pillsbury brand found in the baking section. 
1/2 teaspoon sal

For The Filling:
2 pounds canned sour cherries, drained, reserving the juice
l/3 cup granulated sugar
5 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Kirsch (cherry liqueur or brandy) SPICE TIP: Make sure this is Kirsh Wasser, can usually buy this from your local liquor store. Any old brandy or flavored liqueur will not work. 

For The Syrup:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
l/4 cup Kirsch (cherry liqueur or brandy)

For The Chocolate Whipped Cream Topping:
l envelope (1/4 oz./7g) unflavored gelatin SPICE TIP: Gelatin is a pain to work with. You have a matter of seconds to get it to the right consistency. I would say forget this portion of it altogether unless you’re the master with Gelatin. Otherwise, see my tip below. In Germany they have a powder additive that turns the whipped cream really stiff which is great but I don’t believe we have this in the US so keeping it cold is the best. 
3 tablespoons Kirsch (cherry liqueur or brandy)
3 cups well-chilled heavy cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder SPICE TIP: This is an added ingredient I think. This is not typical of the cakes in Germany and all people here prefer the regular old cream. I never add this into the mix. But it’s optional.
1/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
l teaspoon vanilla extract

For Garnish: 
1-1/2 cups chocolate shavings or chocolate curls
Glaceed or Maraschino cherries

To Make the Cake: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Butter three 7-inch cake pans, line them with wax paper and butter and flour the paper. 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. Into a bowl sift together the flour and salt. 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.

Pour batter into pans, smoothing the tops, and bake for 10 to 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.

To 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. SPICE TIP: Be sure that this portion of it is completely cooled down. If you assemble it warm on the cake, it melts the cream and then you have an avalanche. NOT GOOD. Learn from my mistake!

To 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. SPICE TIP: This actually makes quite a lot, way more than you need so you can probably cut the entire recipe for the syrup in half. You’re only brushing this on the top of each cake so it’s nothing grand. You could even skip this part if you felt necessary. 

To Make the Whipped Cream Topping:
In small saucepan combine gelatin and Kirsch and let soften 5 minutes. Gently heat mixture over low heat, stirring, until liquid is clear. Remove from heat. In chilled bowl with chilled beaters beat cream until it holds soft peaks, add sugar, cocoa, and vanilla and beat until it holds stiff peaks. Add gelatin mixture in stream, beating, and beat until it holds stiff peaks. SPICE TIP: If you choose to do this with the Gelatin, congrats to you. If you choose to not use the gelatin, good on ya! Now, the best thing I can advise is that you immediately put this cream into the fridge/freezer until everything else is cooled down completely. This will melt really fast if the filling is warm and the cake is still warm. Remember you have to assemble several layers so you need some time. 

Assembling the 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. 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 glaceed 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. Store cake in refrigerator. SPICE TIP: What I do to make sure that I don’t lose everything is make a wall of aluminum foil around the cake, putting only about a 1/2 inch of it underneath the first cake. This way it kind of holds it all together as I’m doing it. Once I have all the layers on I put it in the freezer before I spread the remaining cream around the entire cake. It gives it time to sit and settle in. Another thing I would recommend is to not make a giant layer of the filling and to not spread it out to the edges. The main thing is that it’s in the middle of the cake. You can give yourself about 1/4 of an inch of room around the outside edge. This way it doesn’t over flow and break your cake on the way down. This has happened to me before. Be sure to throw this into the refrigerator right away when you’re done. 

The aluminum foil wall I built!

(Beautiful hair, right?)

So this year it was ok, except for some reason the cake layers didn’t come out as fluffy as they should be. Really made me angry since I spent all afternoon working on this! Anywho…theres always next year and I think next time I’ll try it with a German’s recipe and see how it comes out.

Good luck to all those that attempt this! As far as flavor, you won’t be disappointed! Think chocolate covered cherries…YUM! Or as the Germans say, “Lecker!”

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

3 thoughts on “German Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte

  1. That looks great! Check the elevation difference between Where you live now and Syracuse you may find the underlying reason for baking differences. If so there are heat/time/ingredient changes that will make help (find them on line).

  2. Practice makes perfect. This is my all-time favorite cake in the world (the next best one is Caribbean rum cake). My sister-in-law Ruth made it for me as an after-the-wedding gift bringing special ingredients with her from Germany. I wish I could entice her to visit more often.

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