Black Forest Cake

I am not a huge chocolate lover, but I love this cake based on the fact it isn’t as sweet as a typical chocolate cake and the unique flavor of the German chocolate. Some may have a misconception of the flavor of a black forest cake. Generally the cake and the whipped cream are not as sweet and German chocolate has a unique and wonderful flavor that isn’t as bold compared to American versions. There are many variations of this cake and sometimes a butter cream filling is used, so you can choose what type of filling you want to use. Gelatine is used to thicken the whipped cream, in order for it to stand up as the filling. Generally Kirsch (cherry brandy) is used to brush on the cooked and cooled cake before adding the filling and is added to the filling mixture as well. However, I do not like the taste of brandy and felt that it overpowered any cherry flavor. Therefore I used cherry syrup instead. Another option for a cherry flavor is Skyy Infusions™ All Natural Cherry Vodka. However, use the type of cherry flavoring of your choice.

Ingredients

Cake
4 oz. of German sweet chocolate from a bakers chocolate bar broken into pieces for easier melting
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of butter
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
4 egg yolks unbeaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 1/2 cups of cake flour sifted
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Dash of salt
1 cup of buttermilk
4 egg whites stiffly beaten
Parchment paper
Filling and Frosting
1 teaspoon of unflavored Knox® gelatine
9 tablespoons of cherry syrup or Kirsch (cherry flavored brandy) divided
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 – 16 oz. bag of frozen pitted cherries thawed – drain any liquid
Grated German chocolate for garnishing top of the cake (optional)

Technique

On parchment paper or wax paper sift flour and add salt and baking soda to the top and set aside. Adding the two other dry ingredients will make it easier when adding them to the cake mixture. In a medium bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks have formed and set aside. In a sauce pan over low heat add the milk and chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Set aside. In a large bowl using a mixer, cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add melted chocolate and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk and beat to incorporate. Repeat with the remaining dry and wet ingredients. Pour into two round 9 inch cake pans 1.5 inches in depth lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in a preheated oven at 350˚ for 30 – 40 minutes or when a butter knife inserted comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before assembling with filling and frosting.

In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of the cherry syrup or Kirsch and gelatine, stir and set aside. Place a large stainless steel bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes, remove and add cream. Using a mixer beat on high until medium to stiff peaks form. Add sugar and 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of cherry syrup or Kirsch and gelatine mixture and beat for 1 minute. You do want the egg whites to be stiff without churning to butter. You should be able to tip the bowl upside down if using a stainless bowl.

To assemble cake, place one of the cakes on a platter and brush the cake with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cherry syrup or Kirsch. Evenly spread a quarter of the whipped cream mixture over the cake. Arrange half of the cherries over the whipped cream mixture. Add the second cake and press down slightly. Brush the cake with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cherry syrup or Kirsch and frost top and sides of cake with the remaining whipped cream mixture. Arrange the remaining cherries on top of the cake. Grate chocolate over cake if using. Serve immediately. The cake can be refrigerated, but refrigeration will dry the cake some.

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