BLACK FOREST CAKE
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Here, San Francisco Bay Area is very warm right now. It is hard to believe we are still in February, some cities had high record temperature. Climate change? absolutely! We have spotless blue sky every day in the past a week and seems will no rain for another week.
Valentine’s Day is coming in a few days. Normally in the past, I almost always get asked for making chocolate and strawberries cake but I decided to make Black Forest Cake to offer instead for this year.
Local strawberries are not available yet at this time of year but there is good looking but “pricy” strawberries at the super markets, however they have no good flavor and tast. Thought, Black Forest Cake is a perfect alternative for Valentine’s Day, and will be glory to enjoy with a glass of semi-dry sparkling wine, Extra Dry, or if you like sweeter, go for Sec/Dry or sweetiest Demi-Sec (remember Brut is driest). Today we have many affordable sparkling wines to choose from; Prosecco and Asti Spumanti from Italy, Crémant d’ Alsace, Bourgogne or Loire from France, Cava from Spain.
Black forest Cake is very popular in the United States. It looks gorgeous, the flavor is very rich and the taste is delicious. Of course fresh cherries are not in season at now, but we can always find preserved cherries come in glass jar at super markets, either sour cherries or in syrup. Some of them are often too sweet, so I recommend you to finding one is not very sweet or use less, but totally it’s up to you.
Black Forest Cake is said that originally created in south west of Germany and it should be quite boozy cake with Kirsch (clear cherry brandy). In fact, German law mandates that kirschwasser (cherry brandy) must be present in the cake if it to be labelled a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. You don’t have to use Kirsch if you don’t want to use any spirits, but it makes the cake taste standout, of course. So I do not skip what people do love for.
There are many versions and styles of the recipes but I chose one, the simplest, and add chocolate ganarche. You can make the base cake a day or two before as well as the whipped cream and chocolate ganache, as I often do. So all you need is just assemble the cake at the day you want to serve.
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- To bake the chocolate biscuit use 3 (9-inch) greased baking pans. You can also pipe the chocolate batter. Small individual cakes can be made as well using muffin rings. Note. This recipe is not sponge cake, therefore baking chocolate batter in one cake pan to be sliced later won’t work.
- 7 ounces (210g) bittersweet dark chocolate (55 to 70% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 3 ounces (85g) unsalted butter
- For Meringue
- 6 each (180g) egg white at room temperature
- ¼ tsp cream tartar (1 tablespoon lemon juice)
- 4 ounces (120g) granulated sugar
- 6 each (120g) egg yolks
- ⅓ cup (40g) corn or potato starch (optional but recommended)
- 25 ounces (750g) maraschino or morello cherries
- 2 tablespoons (15g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60ml) maraschino juice
- 2 tablesponns (30ml) Kirschwasser (German cherry brandy)
- 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 4 oz. (115g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup (110g) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- Dark chocolate shavings (about 2 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and dust with flour three cake pans.
- In a medium-size bowl over simmering water in a saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter until just blended. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice) for one minutes. Slowly add the sugar, continuing to beat until soft peak. Add the egg yolks slowly until just blended. Add the chocolate mixture into the batter and mix well. Pour batter into prepared 3 cake pans. Bake the cake for about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool to room temperature on the wire rack for 10 minutes and then flipped over parchment paper. Set aside.
- Drain the cherries and save the juice. Set aside.
- In a skillet, melt the sugar, add the cherry juice to cook thicken to make syrup. Add the cherries and then Kirschwasser (cherry brandy) to flambee the syrup. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the heavy cream for one minutes. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla until stiff peak but not dry. Do not over mix. Pour into the pastry bag and refrigerate for at least 15-20 minutes.
- Heat up the heavy cream in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the chocolate and corn syrup till just combined. Set aside.
- Place one piece of the cake on the flat serving plate. Brush the top of the cake with the cherry syrup. Pipe out ½ of the cream on top of the cake and place 10-12 cherries. Place another piece of the cake and repeat the second layer. Place the last piece and then pour the chocolate ganache over the cake, using a pastry flat spatula, top and side of the cake. Decorate with chocolate shavings, cream rosette, and some stemmed cherries.
- I used lightly syrup Morello cherries from Germany for this cake. They are not expensive and perfect (not too sweet) fot this cake. You can assemble this cake without chocolate ganache and use only chocoate shaving if you wish for lighter cake.