Did you know that March 28th is National Black Forest Cake day? I don't know who comes up with these things, but hey, any reason for cake, right?
This German confectionery is my ultimate favourite cake. As a child, I remember getting Black Forest Cake for my birthday from the bakery at Safeway. It was the only cake I vividly remember loving -- the chocolate sponge cake, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, and most importantly, the glistening red maraschino cherries.
Throughout the years, I've consistently had Black Forest Cake for my birthday. What can I say? I love the cake! But last year, I thought to myself, maybe I will try making it. So I made it for my husband's birthday. My husband shares his birthday in the same week as myself, so theoretically, I was making it for myself as well. Shhhhh. Don't tell him.
This cake is light, yet moist and luscious, not too sweet, and deep in chocolate flavour. It's filled with a homemade sour cherry "jam" and lots of whipped cream. I made the filling using frozen cherries, and because I try to avoid artificial food colouring, I just added cherries to the top of the cake rather than using dyed maraschino cherries. Although the traditional version contains liquor, I've omitted it since I would be serving this to young children.
Once you make this cake, you'll wonder why it took you so long to do so. It's simply a stunning, delicious chocolate cake. Try this straight-forward recipe and I'm sure it too will be a favourite in your home.
Black Forest Cake
Yield: One 2-layer 6" cake
½ C Dutch-process cocoa
1 C cake flour
¾ C sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 C buttermilk
¼ C vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 C sour cherries, frozen or fresh
½ C sugar
2 T cornstarch
½ can cherry pie filling
1 ½ C heavy cream
3 T icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz grated dark chocolate
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grease two 6" cake round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl: cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Gradually fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake at 350 F for about 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with slight crumbs clinging to it.
Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then gently turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.
Make the filling:
If you're using canned pie filling, use as is.
Make your own cherry filling:
Place cherries into a medium saucepan.
In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch.
Pour cornstarch and sugar mixture into saucepan with the cherries and whisk over over low-med heat for about 10-15 minutes until mixture is glossy and thickened.
Remove from heat and cool. Place into refrigerator until ready to use.
Chill the mixing bowl and whisk in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before whipping the cream.
Place cream into the mixing bowl, and use a whisk (either by hand or mixer) and beat the cream until foamy. Gradually add the sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form, and then add the vanilla. Use immediately to cover the cake.
Cut a circular piece of parchment paper approximately 7" in diameter and lay it on a large plate or use a cake board (which you can buy from specialty cook/bakeware stores).
Using a sharp serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half horizontally.
Place the first cake layer on the parchment or cakeboard.
Spread a ½" layer of cream onto the cake, and top with ⅓ of the cherry filling.
Repeat with 2 more layers of "cake, cream, cherries," and top off with the final layer of cake.
Use the remaining cream to cover the sides and top of the cake. Place extra cherries on the cake if you desire.
Garnish the cake with the grated chocolate.
Refrigerate the cake until you're ready to serve.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.
Note: Photos updated August 3, 2017