Oct 27, 2013

Sunday's Recipe: Classic Black Forest cake


Multiple layer cakes are not something I bake on a regular basis, the last layer cake labeled under "Kitchen Heals Soul" was two years ago. However, the noces de diamant (60th marriage anniversay) of my boyfriend's grandparents was a special occasion that deserved a bit more effort and thought. A Black Forest cake is classic, depending on the decoration also very retro and who doesn't love the marriage of chocolate, cream and cherries anyway?

Ingredients for a classic Black Forest cake (click here for German source):

For the chocolate génoise:
6 eggs, separated
120 g of sugar
60 g flour
60 g cornstarch
60 g of cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder

In a larger bowl mix the egg yolks with 4-5 tablespoons of warm water and 60 g of sugar until very foamy. Beat egg whites in another bowl until stiff, while sprinkling in the remaining sugar. Give the stiff egg whites to the egg yolk cream in the first bowl. In another little bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda and cornstarch. Sift the dry mixture over the egg whites and combine delicately. Fill the batter into a baking sheet-lined springform pan (26 cm diameter). Bake the cake in the preheated oven at 200° C for about 30 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack. After the cake is completely cooled down, divide it into three layers. This can be done either by a sharp knife or by marking the spot with a knife and putting a piece of string, yarn (or dental floss, I'm just sayin') around the bottom and pulling it diagonally. We had a fun time in the kitchen using Vogue magazines to level the three layers, while pulling the dental floss carefully to cut the cake. It's best to bake the génoise ahead of time (I baked mine the evening before I assembled the entire cake).

For the pâte brisée: 
60 g butter
 30 g icing sugar
1 pack vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
 100 g flour
 1 tablespoon kirsch

 For the pâte brisée combine the cold butter with powdered sugar, vanilla sugar, egg yolk and kirsch, lastly mix in the flour and knead the crumbly mixture for a minute or two until it holds together. Form the dough into a disk and wrap it with plastic to refrigerate at least an hour (i did it the night before like the génoise). When you're ready to bake it, take the cold dough out of the fridge, let it warm a couple of minutes before you roll it out on a baking sheet. Bake in a pan for about 10-15 minutes at 180 ° C .

For the "moist maker":
5 tablespoons kirsch
5 tablespoons cherry juice
1 tablespoon sugar

Dissolve the sugar in a glass filled with kirsch and cherry juice and set aside.


For the cherry filling: 
1 glass of sour cherries, pitted (drained weight 350 g)
 250 ml cherry juice (from the cherries)
3 tablespoons sugar
 1 pinch cinnamon
 2 tablespoons cornstarch
 5 tablespoons kirsch

 Drain the cherries in a sieve and set the cherries aside for now. Boil 250 ml of the collected juice with sugar and cinnamon. Dissolve the cornstarch in a little bit of cold water, then stir it to the cherry juice on the stove. Bring to a boil and add the cherries. Stir gently so that the cherries are not crushed, let boil again, remove from heat and let it cool. In a last step, stir in the kirsch to your liking.

 For the cream: 
 800 ml cream
50 g of sugar
50 g icing sugar
1 pack vanilla sugar
 3 packs whipping cream stiffener (powdered stabilizer)
 5 tablespoons kirsch

Mix together the stiffener, sugar, powdered sugar and vanilla sugar. Whip the cream briefly with a hand mixer, then start slowly adding the dry mixture, while whipping the cream with a mixer. Add the kirsch and keep whipping until completely stiff.

For the decoration: 
 Cherries (maraschino cherries, Amarena cherries or candied cherries)
50 g of shaved dark chocolat, store bought


How to assemble the cake:
(see first photo collage)

Start off with the pate brisée and spread 2 tablespoons of the cherry filling (without the cherries). Then place the first sponge layer on top and soak it with 1/3 of the "moist maker mixture". Now spread the cherry filling making sure you don't go all the way to the edges. Then spread about 1 /4 of the cream.

Second photo collage: Do likewise with the second layer. When you place the last and third layer, use up the "moist maker" liquid. Cover the cake all over with the cream, making sure you leave some aside to put in a pastry bag if you want to decorate it. Lastly sprinkle the chocolate shavings onto the cake. For the borders, my method was to put a handful in the palm of my hands and "glue" the chocolate to the edges - but there is probably a more clever way I don't know of yet. Lastly, decorate your Black Forest cake with some cherries. I bought candied ones (even though I don't like them) because you simply need to have red cherries on top of a Black Forest cake. But for a more modern look I suggest fresh cherries, when you can get them of course.

Let me know when you try the recipe - it's really not as complicated or hard as it looks. You just make a huge mess in your kitchen, it takes hours (in my case to bake the cake, take photos with my sticky fingers, edit them, translate the original German recipe and so on).
But it's worth it, I promise!

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