A couple of years ago, we had some of my husband’s friends over for his birthday and I thought, maybe I would surprise him with one of his favourite desserts – black forest cake. I don’t often go to bakeries so I didn’t know which bakery made the best black forest cake. What would one do in such a situation? Go online and google of course! Oddly enough, the search showed that a certain Chinese bakery made the best black forest cake in town. I thought this was kind of strange, but this bakery had very good reviews for their black forest cake and that was all I needed to know. I mean, all the information you find online is supposed to be accurate and correct, right? Boy was I wrong! I’m no cake connoisseur, but this cake was nothing like a black forest cake! It had mixed fruit on top, like other Chinese fruit cakes, and I think it even had a layer of jello in the middle. It didn’t have much, if any, cherry, Brandy or chocolate flavour to it. So this year, I thought I would try to redeem myself by baking him a “real” black forest cake. Happy Birthday to my better half!
Recipe (adapted from allrecipes.com):
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup kirschwasser (cherry Brandy)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp strong brewed coffee
- 2 (14 ounce) cans pitted Bing cherries, drained
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp kirschwasser
- 1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Line the bottoms of two 8 inch round pans with parchment paper circles.
- Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined.
- Pour into 2 round 8 inch pans.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Cool completely (1.5-2 hours).
- Remove paper from the cakes.
- Cut each layer in half, horizontally, making 4 layers total.
- Sprinkle layers with the 1/2 cup kirshwasser.
- In a medium bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add confectioners sugar, pinch of salt, and coffee; beat until smooth. If the consistency is too thick, add a couple teaspoons of cherry juice or milk.
- Spread first layer of cake with 1/3 of the filling.
- Top with 1/3 of the cherries.
- Repeat with the remaining layers.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks.
- Beat in 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tbsp kirshwasser.
- Frost top and sides of cake.
- Sprinkle with chocolate curls made by using a potato peeler on semisweet baking chocolate.
Notes and Tips:
I didn’t have two 8 inch round pans, so I just used my 9 inch springform pan, which I greased with butter and dusted with cocoa powder. I baked the cake for 45-50 minutes and cut the layers by wrapping kitchen twine around the cake and pulling it towards me. I didn’t have kirschwasser, so I sprinkled the layers with 1/4 cup cherry juice containing 1/2 tsp Brandy extract. For the buttercream filling, I doubled the recipe, but used 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar, which was still pretty sweet, 1/4 tsp salt and 50ml of brewed coffee to get it to what I thought was the right consistency. However, after putting the cake in the fridge, I found the buttercream hardened. I used the rest of the buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake instead of using the frosting. For the frosting, I halved the recipe and only used it on top of the cake. I also added 1 tbsp non-fat dry milk so that the whipped cream will keep its shape longer and 2 tsp confectioner’s sugar to the frosting, but didn’t add kirschwasser. I made chocolate shavings by using a grater.