My sisters and I traveled to Iowa to celebrate my dad’s birthday. He claims he doesn’t care for sweets, but he seems to inhale anything boozy and chocolaty that we put before him. Mary came up with the idea for a Black Forest Cherry Cake, also known as Black Forest Gateau, one of the most famous German desserts. This recipe is an authentic version of this European delight…make sure you include a good slosh of Kirsch or “cherry firewater” in both the syrup and filling for the most magnificent results.

We thought this was good, but would make a few changes. First, we’d double the filling and put cherries on both layers. Our syrup actually crystallized and didn’t soak in the cake as it should have (baking with sisters involve lots of laughter and therefore distractions!)…our cake would have been much moister if we’d reheated the syrup or started over. We also could only find cheap Kirsch…its scent was vaguely like cough syrup…I know using a better brand would have improved the flavor. Nevertheless, we were each able to finish off a slice, so a few tweaks would only make it disappear faster…

Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake)…adapted from European Cuisines

For the cake:

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup flour, sifted

For the syrup:

1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons Kirsch

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons Kirsch

For the topping:

3/4 canned sour cherries, drained
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
Fresh Bing cherries to garnish

Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until thick and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Alternately fold chocolate and flour into the egg mixture, ending with flour. Pour the batter into 3 8-inch cake pans that have been well greased and floured. 

Bake in a preheated 350ΒΊ oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes; turn out on racks to cool completely.

Make syrup by mixing together sugar and water and boiling for 5 minutes. When syrup has cooled, stir in kirsch. Prick the cake with a fork and pour syrup over all 3 layers.

To make the butter-cream filling, beat together sugar and butter until well blended. Add egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Fold in Kirsch.

To assemble cake, place 1 layer on a cake plate. Spread with butter cream filling. Using 3/4 cup of the cherries, which have been patted dry, drop cherries evenly over cream. Place second layer on cake. Repeat. Place third layer on top. Fold 2 tablespoons powdered sugar into the whipped cream. Cover the sides and top of the cake with whipped cream.

Decorate top of cake with fresh cherries. To make chocolate curls from chocolate bar, shave (at room temperature) with a vegetable peeler. Refrigerate curls until ready to use. Press chocolate curls on sides of cake and sprinkle a few on the top. Chill until serving time.Print