Black Forest Cake! You’ll love how this cake’s layers are lovely and moist (too often they are terribly dry!), and how this Black Forest Cake is not too sweet so you can actually taste all the elements. It’s a cake that looks rich and decadent, but is actually not that rich at all – so you can eat plenty!
• 6 large eggs , at room temperature (Note 7)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/4 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
• 1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder (or unsweetened regular cocoa power, Note 1)
• 2/3 cup plain flour (all-purpose flour)
• 150g / 10.5 tbsp unsalted butter , melted and cooled
• 670g / 23.5 oz pitted morello cherries in syrup (sour cherries, in jar or can) , drained and juice reserved (Note 2)
• 1/3 cup kirsch or cherry liqueur (optional – sub with more reserved cherry juice, Note 3)
• 1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
• 4 tsp cornflour / cornstarch
• 4 cups / 1 litre thickened / heavy cream (Note 4)
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 1/3 cup soft icing sugar / powdered sugar (Australia: Not pure icing sugar, Note 5)
• 100g / 3.5 oz dark chocolate / bittersweet chocolate
• 12 maraschino or fresh cherries (for decorating top of cake)
Chocolate sponge cake layers:
• Oven and cake pans: Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F (160°C fan). Grease 3 x 20cm (8”) cake pans with butter, line with parchment / baking paper.
• Sift dry ingredients: Combine dry ingredients by sifting the cocoa and plain flour into a bowl. Set aside.
• Beat eggs: Beat eggs for 30 seconds on speed 6 of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or hand beater.
• Slowly add sugar: With the beater still going, slowly pour the sugar in over 45 seconds, then add the vanilla.
• Beat 7 minutes: Beat for 7 minutes more on speed 8, or until tripled in volume and pale in colour. Don’t shortcut this step; this is what makes the cake rise (there’s no baking powder used).
• Fold in dry ingredients: Add the flour and cocoa mixture to the batter, folding in with a spatula until just combined (a few streaks of flour remaining is fine). Be gentle here, we don’t want to knock out the air bubbles.
• Fold in butter: Add the butter and fold gently through until just combined. Once you can no longer see any flour, stop stirring.
• Fill cake pans: Pour the batter into the three prepared pans. The batter should be fairly thin and pourable.
• Bake: Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the cake centre comes out clean. (Note 5 regarding shelf placement)
• Cool: Remove from the oven. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out onto a rack to cool completely.
• Drain cherries: Drain jar of cherries, reserving liquid.
• Cherry cornflour slurry: Measure out 1/4 cup (60ml) of the reserved cherry juice and mix with the cornflour to make a slurry. Set aside.
• Make cherry syrup: Place a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and another 1/3 cup of reserved juice. Bring to a gentle simmer to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the cornflour slurry and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, until it thickens into a thin syrup.
• Soak cherries, cool: Remove from the heat and stir in the kirsch. Pour the syrup over the drained cherries and allow to cool completely before using.
Chocolate curls :
• Melt chocolate: Break up the block of chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Gently melt in microwave by heating over three 20 second bursts, stirring in between.
• Spread: Pour the melted chocolate over the back of a baking pan and spread out with a spatula as thinly as possible. Refrigerate for 3 – 4 minutes until the centre is just set.
[ ] Scrape curls: Using something with a sharp, straight edge (I use a bench scraper, spatula or the back of a knife also works), hold it at a 45 degree angle and scrape along the tray away from you to create curls. Do a small test patch first. If the chocolate is too hard, the curls may break or flake (leave to soften slightly and try again). If the chocolate is too soft, the curls sag and won’t roll (refrigerate more to harden).
• Having problems?? Don’t worry! Just scrape to make shavings instead – it still looks amazing!
• Refrigerate: Carefully place curls on a plate and refrigerate until ready to use.
• Just prior to assembling, place cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip into pretty stiff peaks – about 5 minutes on high. Refrigerate until needed.
• Place one cake layer upside down on a serving platter (or cake decorating turn table, if you’re a pro! 🙂 ).
• Brush with cherry syrup: Brush the cake layer with 1/4 cup of the cherry syrup the cherries are soaking in.
• Cream layer: Spread with 1 cup of whipped cream, leaving a 1cm (1/2″) border (the weight of the next cake layer gently pressed will push cream to edge).
• Layer cherries: Top the cream with half the cherries (in a single layer), using a slotted spoon to drain well (but don’t pat dry, want the cherries juicy!).
• Repeat: Top with another cake layer, brush with 1/4 cup syrup, spread with 1 cup cream, top with remaining cherries, and place 3rd cake layer on top.
• Cover with cream: Reserve 1 1/2 cups whipped cream for piping cream decorations. Spread the remaining cream over the top and side of the cake. Pipe dollops around the edge of top using a large star-tipped nozzle. Top each dollop with a maraschino cherry.
• Chocolate shavings: Pile large chocolate curls in the middle (I stack in a tent shape like building a fire!). Use the smaller broken shavings to coat the base of the sides of the cake (using cold hands, scoop up shavings, press on side).
• Rest 4 hours+: Leave cake in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to allow flavours to develop and syrup to really soak into the cake.
• Take out of fridge: Remove from fridge 30 minutes prior to serving (but be mindful of cream melting on hot days). Slice and serve proudly!