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Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte or Black Forest Cherry Cake

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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

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27 comments on “Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte or Black Forest Cherry Cake”

  1. Lizzy,

    My father adored Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, and in the last couple of years of his life he used to go weekly to a little bakery near his house and buy a slice of the cake for his Saturday night dessert!

    He would have adored your recipe πŸ™‚


    Now this may surprise you – Alex and your Dad have something in common. Alex also claims he doesn’t care for sweets!!!!!

  2. OOO, delicious! It’s one of my favorite festive cakes. In my home town (Brasov, Transylvania) this is one of the staple desserts especially during cherry and sour cherry season.

  3. Thanks, Erin! Boy, I’d love to sample the real deal…lucky you!!!

  4. I’m so happy you posted that. My friend was just talking about making this but she didn’t know where to find a recipe. I’m going to call her and send her to your blog. Oh, and here’s a little something fun for you today. Brandie

  5. Happy Birthday to your father! And what a great way to celebrate. My dad claims to not like sweets either…but he always devours whatever I bake him! Thank you for sharing with us today. I hope you have a wonderful week!

  6. Good call on your changes! As always Lizzy the cake looks gorgeous. You inspire me to bake more believe it or not:)

  7. Your cake looks delicious! Happy Birthday to your Dad too. Celebrate each moment and memory. Hugs

  8. The chocolate curls look magnificant.

  9. Thanks so much, Brandie!!!! Such an honor πŸ™‚

    Monet, wishing you a wonderful week, too!

    Sandra, LOL that Alex says he doesn’t like sweets! Hahaha.

    Three-Cookies, they actually worked this time πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  10. THANK YOU so much, Mateja! It is an honor to be recognized by one of my favorite bloggers!

    Annie and Kelly, thanks for the birthday wishes for my dad! We had a great time celebrating~

  11. Baked goods and hard liquer – you just can’t go wrong with that combo! Looks wonderful.

  12. This cake is always so impressive to me and yours definitely doesn’t disappoint πŸ™‚

  13. That’s my favorite cake! And it looks so wonderful! I wish I could ask you to make it for my Bday πŸ™‚

  14. Thank you, all!!!! Madeja, wish you lived closer and I’d be happy to bake for you πŸ™‚

  15. Lizzy….your cake looks amazing and almost too pretty to eat. I’m sure that your Dad enjoyed it and all your sisters visiting. You all look like you are having a great time.
    I’ve never made one before but I remember my Mom buying a Black Forest Cake every so often at this German bakery in the old days…..b/c at one time they lived in Germany for 5 years and she always liked that cake.

  16. I love Black Forest Cake!! Although you said you had a few changes you’d make (and I agree about the extra cherries!) your cake looks lovely and I’m sure your dad enjoyed it! I’ve only make this cake once before myself, but it’s really hard to go wrong with all those amazing flavors in one cake, right? haha

  17. Your cake looks so pretty! I bet it tasted even better!

  18. Lizzy, this cake is so beautiful! My dad absolutely adores chocolate-cherry combinations, so I’ll have to make this for him sometime. What a wonderful recipe. Thanks so much for sharing! You have a beautiful blog, and I’m so glad to have found you.

  19. Thanks, Victoria, Erica, Georgia, YummyC, and Amy! It looks like lots of our dads are fans πŸ™‚

  20. Lizzy-At first I thought they were fresh cherries, they look so fresh looking…but as for the Black Forest cake, that is a classic, and it’s something that I would want to have for a special occasion, and especially for a BDay. I’m so glad that you and your sisters made your sweet dad happy, with such a gorgeous cake!
    Even more happy, that I could give your the award, that you so, deserve!

  21. Thanks so much, Lizzie…the sisterhood award is awesome!!!

  22. Fabulous looking cake, I love the chocolate and cherry together.

  23. Lizzy, it looks smashing! I’m not a huge fan of sweets either, but this looks good, and I’m thinking to do this for GW’s birthday!

    Anyway, I have a couple of questions, just so I’m clear on this.
    1. In the topping ingredients it says 3/4 canned cherries. Is that the 3/4 cup that is supposed to go on between the first and second layers? And you suggest doubling the amount to 1 1/2 cups divided equally between the layers?
    2. Twice the amount of the filling ingredients listed?

    Thanks so much!

  24. Thanks Lizzy. While traditionally GW should get a cherry pie, I think the other people in my family, aka the chocoholics, would prefer this.

    One more question. As I don’t do much with sweets, I have never (at least that I recall) made chocolate curls. Do you shave the bar lengthwise or across the short side?

  25. Creating Amazing Meals, so happy you’ll join us!!!

    MaryBeth, my husband only likes cherries in Kool-Aid, so I was happy to be able to make this for my dad πŸ™‚

    Angelllove, what a sweet thing to say…thank you!!!

  26. Becky, this is the original recipe, so, yes, you’d double the cherries to 1 1/2 cups and double the filling amount. Hope you and GW enjoy!!!

  27. Ah, yes, I do understand about chocoholics!

    We made the curls by shaving along the longer side. I microwaved the bar a few seconds to soften it up…it was also a nice thick Scharffen Berger bar, so that may have helped….they were the best curls I’ve ever made!

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