Birthday cake number 3! Three cakes in two weeks! This time it's for my brothers’ (twins) and sister-in-law’s birthdays. Requests came in for something chocolaty. I’ve made black forest cake once before. When I made it in the past, I searched high and low for the ideal cake. I settled on this one from SBS food as a guide. My previous attempt was good, but this was definitely better. What changed? The chocolate sponge cake recipe. I adapted a “family chocolate cake” recipe from the Women’s Weekly Home Baked recipe book (page 161). The cake was moist, tasty and not too sweet.
Black forest cake is not that difficult to make but can be very fiddly, considering you have to split the cake into three layers (or bake in 3 separate and equal size tins), plus assembling it, then decorating it. With decorating, you can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. The essential bit is covering it with chocolate cream. How much topping and chocolate curls or flakes you put is up to you. I also learnt there is no easy, mess-free way of putting chocolate flakes on the side of the cake but to just grab handfuls of chocolate flakes in some relatively cold hands and just make a mess. Check out the video link for some decorating ideas.
I used the last bit of cream in a can to try make little floral blobs on top... but it melted - fail! Oh well! You can skip over that part.
500ml of water
2 cups of white sugar
250g butter, chopped
1/3 cup, cocoa powder
1 tspn bicarb of soda
3 cups self-rasing flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
680g jar of Morello cherries
same volume of caster sugar as water
30ml kirsch (1 shot)
500ml thickened cream
6 to 10 Tblspn icing sugar (to taste)
25g cocoa powder
1 tspn vanilla essence
6 Tblspn jam (strawberry, raspberry or cherry)
~ 100g chocolate flakes
Sifted icing sugar for dusting
Fresh cherries to garnish,
1. Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin (preferably not a springform cake tin as it may leak with the mixture fairly runny)
2. In a medium saucepan combine water, sugar, butter, combined cocoa and bicarb soda. Stir over medium heat, without boiling until the sugar dissolves. Then bring mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and allows to cool to room temperature.
3. Add flour and eggs to cooled mixture. Beat with electric mixer until smooth and changed colour to a paler colour.
4. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Bake cake in moderate oven (170C) for about 50 minutes or until cooked. Using a skewer prick the middle and it should come out clean. If you see the cake starting to crack, reduce the heat. When cooked, remove from oven and stand cake in pan for 5 minutes before turning on to wire rack. Turn cake top-side up to cool.
1. Drain cherries from jar. Cut cherries in half. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in kirsch. Set aside to cool.
3. Beat cream, icing sugar and cocoa until firm peaks. The volumes I've stated above is approximate. You'll need to keep tasting to suit your liking. Cocoa will add the colour and flavour but also the bitterness, so balance this with the icing sugar. Be sure as you add to the sugar, you sift it in to avoid lumps.
4. Split cake into 3 even layers. Refer to my tips and tricks article on how to slice layers with with dental floss or fishing line.
5. Place the first layer on your serving plate. lightly brush with kirsch syrup, spread with half the jam, spread a layer of cream, scatter half the cherries evenly over. Carefully place the next layer on top. Gently press down.
6. Again lightly brush with kirsch syrup, spread jam, spread a layer of cream and scatter the rest of the Morello cherries. Carefully place the last layer on top and gently press down.
7. Brush kirsch on top layer. Spread cream all around the cake smoothly with the remaining cream.
1. Pat chocolate flakes on sides and top of cake.
2. top cake with chocolate curls.
3. Garnish with piped cream, fresh cherries and sifted icing sugar.
Happy birthday and enjoy!