A Family Recipe: Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte (Black Forest Cake)

I’ve got the goods, lovelies! I cornered my mother-in-law and held her hostage until she showed me how to make the infamous family favorite, Schwarwalder Kirsch Torte (or as you may know it..Black Forest Cake.) Ok, so maybe I didn’t hold her hostage…and maybe she actually was excited to show me. Just maybe.

I’m ready to share the recipe but first you should know that some of these ingredients are not easily found in the US. Actually, for those of you who have made this cake here, maybe you can help us all out to find better equivalents for a few of these.  You can get the majority of these items in import/export stores and online on Amazon as well for a steep price. Also, I apologize for the pictures. I was writing down the recipe (trying to translate in my head), talk, help stir, and take pictures of each step. It was NOT an easy task…but I do these things for you people because I care. 🙂

First things first….The cake part. Please note that this particular recipe for cake is standard for any “Torte” that you are making. Anything with fresh berries or cream (sahne) you will use this same basic recipe. Just remove the cacao. Cacao is strictly for chocolate cake or mainly used with the Black Forest Cake.

What You Will Need:

6 eggs (Separate whites and yolks in two different mixing bowls)

200 grams/ 1 cup of sugar (Can use 250 grams but the cake is sweet enough so we use less)

Butter to grease the pan

300 grams/3 cups Flour (Best to use half all purpose flour, King Arthur brand is really good, and half cake flour)

15 grams/ 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder

1 Tablespoon Pure Cacao (Can use hot chocolate if you don’t have this on hand.)

 

How To Make It:

Preheat oven to 150 Celcius or 300 Fahrenheit.

Take the 6 egg whites and beat with a mixer until you have a meringue.

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Take the 6 egg yolks, add 6 tablespoons of luke warm water.  Next, take your sugar and mix with the egg yolks. You can add a couple teaspoons of vanilla flavored sugar or vanilla extract to the sugar, but it’s not necessary. Just added flavor.  Beat the egg yolk mixture until it’s almost white.

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Spread butter on your spring-form baking pan and up the sides as well (I use a 28cm pan). Add a little bit of flour and shake around to cover the bottom of the pan. Shake out any excess.

Next take your 150 grams of all purpose flour and 150 grams of cake flour and mix together. Add in your baking powder and mix gently. Next add in your Cacao and mix until combined.  Add the entire flour mixture slowly to the egg yolk mixture as you beat.

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Add a little bit of the meringue you made with the egg whites (about half) to the flour and egg yolk mixture. This keeps the cake from becoming too hard and helps to soften it. Once combined, remove the beaters and mix very slowly with a spatula the remaining meringue until it is fluffy.

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Pour mixture into pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test with a fork. Note: DO NOT open the oven door once during those 30 minutes. Strict orders from my mother-in-law.

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Let the cake cool completely. Once cooled, Turn cake over so bottom is facing up (this will allow for the top of the cake to be a bit more even), cut about an inch all the way around in two different places, making three layers.

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Take regular old sewing string and holding both ends bring very slowly through to complete the cutting of the sections. My M-I-L brought the string towards her, crossing her hands to make an X to make sure the entire section was cut.

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Remove the top two layers, leaving the last layer as is. You will need an adjustable cake ring to hold everything in place for adding the filling.

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Next up: The Filling!!!

What You Will Need:

100 gram/ 1 jar of sour cherries in juice.  (NOTE: In the US this hasn’t been easy to find. They do have them in the canned fruit section..usually on the top shelf. Make sure you get the TART cherries. Also, you can buy the German ones here: BavariaSausage.com)

Cornstarch mixed with water to thicken

Kirschwasser (most liquor stores have this, you will need about a cup approximately so not too much..but a little extra on hand is always good for drinking in between :-))

800 grams/28.5 ounces of whipping cream (30% fat is ideal)

2 packages of Sahnesteif/ Whipped Cream Stabilizer (King Arthur brand, which carries a good flour that is similar to that in Germany, also carries Instant Food Starch or there is also by the Dr. Oetker brand, Whipped Cream Stabilizer. The higher fat content of  the whipping cream also will help the stiffness in the end if you can’t find the stabilizers.)

Sugar

Finely Shaved Chocolate Pieces

 

How To Make It:

Remove the juice from the jar of cherries and pour into small pot. Save the cherries for later, keeping about 16 completely separate for decoration. Heat cherry juice on high and add in the cornstarch mixture while continuously whisking. Bring to a boil and add cherries to pot. Mix gently and remove from heat to allow to harden.

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Sprinkle 4 Tablespoons of Kirschwasser over the top of the bottom layer of cake. Once cherries have hardened, Use a spoon to spread over the top of the bottom layer evenly. When finished, sprinkle a little more Kirschwasser on top of the cherry mixture. Using a spoon helps to sprinkle this evenly.

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In large bowl, mix whipping cream with 2 packages of whipping cream stabilizer and beat. Add 2 tablespoons Kirschwasser and continue to beat. Add approximately one tablespoon of sugar to the cream mixture. You don’t want it too sweet. Germans don’t do sugar like us Americans do…hence why their cakes are way more amazing! Whipping cream is done when you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing comes out. 🙂 True story.  Spread just a little bit of the whipped cream to the top of the cherries. Just to give it that extra thickness and taste.

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Take your 2nd layer of cake and place it on top of the cherry mixture. Again, sprinkle 4 Tablespoons of Kirschwasser over the cake. Next, spread the whipping cream to cover the top of your 2nd layer cake. Be generous with this layer, majority of the cream will be here.

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Finally, place your 3rd layer of cake on top of the other two. With the remaining whipping cream mixture, spread evenly on top making sure it is smooth. Save a little bit to do the sides. Remove the cake ring and spread the whipped cream along the sides, smooth and evenly, saving a small amount to decorate the top.

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Depending on how many cherries you saved to decorate for the top you can use one of the fancy frosting decorating thingy majiggies or you can do it the old fashioned way like I do with a plastic bag with the corner cut off. Put remaining whipped cream in bag and squirt into small puffs of fun on top of the cake. Place your cherries on top of said puffs of fun, sprinkle your shaved chocolate pieces on top and VOILA! You have made yourself a traditional Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte!

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Keep in cool area or refrigerate until ready to eat. (Cream melts, you know!)

Hope this was helpful and for those of you who asked me to post this, I hope this fills up your home with the tradition you know and love! Guten Appetit!

Until next time, Readers!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxox

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

Ingredients:
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

Instructions:
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