Black Forest Cake
Black forest cake is a very moist chocolate cake made with crème fraîche and cocoa powder and layers of kirsch (cherry liqueur), cherry jam, mascarpone, maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings. I baked the cakes in mini heart-shaped springform pans, perfect to surprise my husband Lulu for Valentine's Day! Of course, now that I've written it here, he won't be surprised. I'll have to come up with something else. What can I say; his loss is your gain.
I had my first black forest cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) in 8th grade during German class. We were learning the German words for different ingredients and I remember that it made us all very hungry. In the German textbook, there was a recipe for black forest cake. One of the girls in the class decided to make the cake and brought it in the next day. It was so delicious that I've kept the recipe ever since, though with a few changes. Guten Appetit!
Yields: 4 individual cakes2 eggs
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
1-½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup potato flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
7 tablespoons crème fraîche
3/4 cup milk
8 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces mascarpone cheese
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cherry extract (optional)
2 teaspoons brandy extract
¼ cup maraschino cherry syrup
½ cup cherry jam, store-bought
1 jar maraschino cherries (see tips), drained, stemmed and halved
1 can whipped cream, store-bought
¼ cup chocolate shavings (see tips)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Making the chocolate cake:
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter and bring back to room temperature.
Brush 4 (4-½") mini heart-shaped non-stick spring-form pans with about 1 teaspoon of oil. Line the bottoms with 4 heart-shaped pieces of parchment paper.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of granulated sugar until you get a pale, yellow foam; the texture of the egg yolk will be thicker. Add the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, potato flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Sift the dry ingredients.
Combine the egg yolk mixture, dry ingredients, crème fraîche, milk, butter and oil.
In another bowl, add salt to the egg whites and whisk for about 2 minutes at a low speed. Add the rest of the granulated sugar, increase the speed of your mixer and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes until it forms soft peaks. Don't over-beat or the texture will become grainy.
Using a silicone spatula, mix 1/3 of the whipped egg whites with the egg yolk mixture to soften it. Add the rest of the whipped egg whites and gently fold in the eggs to get an airy batter.
Pour the chocolate cake batter into the 4 molds. Even it out using a spreader or by gently lifting the mold and dropping it several times. Bake for 5 minutes at 375°F; lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 30 minutes. The texture of the cake should be very soft and moist. A toothpick should come out clean. If you bake the cake in a large pan, you might want to extend the baking time by an additional 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Cool the cakes for about 10-15 minutes. Using a butter knife, separate the cake from the wall of the mold. Open the spring-form molds. Flip the cakes onto a cooling rack, remove and discard the parchment papers. Let the cakes cool completely.
For the mascarpone filling:
Whisk the mascarpone cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter together. Add the powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of brandy extract and cherry extract (if used). Gently fold in 1 cup of rwhipped cream (I used the store-bought version). Place the filling in a piping bag.
In a bowl, mix the maraschino cherry syrup with brandy extract. Set aside.
Once cooled completely, gently divide each cake in half by slicing them crosswise. You'll have 8 pieces. Baste with about 1-½ teaspoons of maraschino syrup per layer of cake.
Place a layer of cake on a dessert plate. Spread a layer of cherry jam. Pipe little mounds of mascarpone filling around the edges of the heart. Add the halved maraschino cherries. Fill the gaps with mascarpone filling. Cover with another layer of chocolate cake. Add a layer of mascarpone filling using an icing spatula. Pipe little mounds of whipped cream around the edges of the heart. Finish by covering the center with chocolate shavings.
Serve with hot chocolate.
Guten appetit (in German)!
If you want to make an adult version, you can replace the maraschino cherries with griottes, which are sour cherries macerated in alcohol. I remember my Papa loves cherries in kirsch brandy. You could also substitute kirsch liqueur (cherry brandy) or coffee liqueur for the maraschino cherry syrup.
I buy Bonne Maman brand cherry jam. If you don't have cherry preserves, you can use any other fruit jam such as raspberry.
Sifting dry ingredients helps to get rid of lumps of flour and also to aerate the mixture when liquid is added. It's very important for all of your baking so you get a moist result.
Creating chocolate curls is very easy; just shave a large piece of chocolate using a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife.
The crème fraîche gives an amazing moist texture to the cake. You can substitute sour cream for the crème fraîche but I find the taste to be slightly different.
I used store-bought whipped cream for decoration purposes. For some reasons, I couldn't pipe perfect flower decorations with home-made whipped cream. If you whip your own cream, maybe a stabilizer is necessary.
If you want to make a triple-layer cake, you could add a layer of chocolate mousse for a more dramatic effect. Just use the same ingredients used in the mascarpone filling and add 2-½ ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate for an extra chocolate-y flavor.
Published By: on February 10, 2010.