Don’t let those maraschino cherries on top fool you, this is nothing like a black forest cake you find at the grocery store and nothing like most of the recipes you will find online!
Unlike the chocolate cake and maraschino cherry laden versions at the store, the recipe for this one originates from the back of a postcard when my Mom first visited Germany as a teenager over 40 years ago. She tasted authentic Black Forest Cake and knew she had to bring the recipe home.
The slightly chocolatey layers of this cake are complimented by lots of ground almonds, a little cinnamon and sandwiched between layers of sour cherries soaked in kirschwasser (cherry liqueur) and pillowy whipped cream.
Since as long as I can remember she has been making this cake for my birthday every single year (maybe without the liqueur when I was little), but my birthday just isn’t complete without this cake. This year, along with two other years, I’ve made the cake myself, but this year was exceptionally fun because I was able to share this beauty with my two best friends and my Oma (it’s definitely not me that owns shell covered placemats and sailboat mugs!) 😀
Maybe someone will request this cake for their birthday so I can enjoy it more than once a year? Hint hint. 😉
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Traditional Black Forest Cake)
- 6 large eggs whites and yolks separated
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp room temperature water
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp organic all purpose, unbleached spelt flour also known as white spelt flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 ounces almonds finely ground
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- dash of ground clove
- 2 jars of sour cherries 720mL sized jars minimum
- 1/2 litre juice from sour cherries
- 4-7 tbsp kirschwasser cherry liquer optional
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 600 mL whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp organic sugar
- 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 1 tbsp cold water + 1 tbsp boiling water
- 3 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate shaved
- 4 maraschino cherries sliced into quarters lengthwise
Make the Cake
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 26cm round spring form pan with butter. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, cinnamon, clove and baking powder. Set aside.
Separate the eggs, adding the whites to a large bowl or stand mixer bowl and the egg yolks to a small bowl. Whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar and water and set aside.
In a stand mixer with whisk attachment or large bowl with hand mixer beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat to combine. Gently pour the sifted dry ingredients onto the egg whites along with the ground nuts and the egg yolk mixture. Using a large spatula, gently fold together all the ingredients until just combined.
Pour mixture into greased spring form pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool before removing cake from pan.
Make the Filling
Drain the cherries and reserve 1/2 litre of the juice. In a medium bowl, add the drained cherries and 2 tbsp of kirschwasser. Stir to combine and let soak. In a medium saucepan, combine the juice and cornstarch with a whisk. Bring to a boil to thicken and then remove from heat to cool. Add 2 tbsp of kirschwasser to the cooled juice mixture, add the soaked cherries and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with the cold water, then add the boiling water and mix until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment or large bowl with hand mixer, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks, then add the vanilla extract, sugar and gelatin mixture and beat again until stiff peaks.
Assemble the Cake
Remove the cake from the spring form pan and using a large, serrated bread knife cut the cake into three equal layers. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate or platter, sprinkle with kirschwasser and gently pour half the cherry mixture on top. Spread the cherry mixture out close to the edges. Eyeball (yes eyeball) slightly less than 1/3 of the whipping cream mixture and drop large spoonfuls on top of the cherries. Use a spatula to spread the cream close to the edges. Repeat with the second layer and spread the filling layers right to the edges. Top with the last layer of cake.
Transfer approximately 1/2 cup of the cream to a pastry bag with a flower tip. Fill the cracks on the sides of the cake with cream, then frost the sides and top of the cake with the rest of the cream.
Shave the chocolate with a large knife or potato peeler. Sprinkle chocolate around the base of the cake then lift and gently press the shavings onto the sides of the cake with a spatula. Pipe 12-16 florets on the top of the cake around the edges and top each florets with a slice of maraschino cherry.
Chill and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours up to 24 hours to let all the flavors mingle.