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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

I promised therefore I'm posting it: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte


I have promised you a recipe, haven't I?

Her Majesty!

Schwarzwälder kirschtorte is named after the Schwarzwald or Black Forest region in south-eastern Germany, so it's often known outside the German-speaking countries as "Black Forest Cherry Cake" or "Black Forest Gateau". This cake is possibly one of the most famous of German desserts... which is interesting when one considers that it (or the inspiration for it) may actually have come from Switzerland. 

Making a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is not done in a few minutes, however, the result is most rewarding. If you are in a hurry, you can use ready-made sponge cake layers from a good pastry shop. But I strongly advise you to make the effort and build this beauty from "point zero". I've made this cake once (so far); it was time-consuming, but the end result was a large number of smiling faces.

This black forest cake recipe uses a shortcrust pastry bottom because a sponge bottom often gets too moist to serve the cake properly.

Ingredients for approximately 12 to 14 pieces

For the shortcrust pastry:
  • 125g (5/8 cups) plain all-purpose flour 
  • 10g (1 tablespoon cocoa powder) 
  • 50g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 75g (5 tablespoons) soft butter
  • 2 teaspoons Kirsch* (cherry brandy)
For the Sponge:
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 100g (1 cup) plain flour 
  • 25g (3 tablespoons) cornflour
  • 10g (1 tablespoon) cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 pinch cinnamon powder
For the Filling:
  • 350g (12 oz) canned sour cherries
  • 250ml (cup) cherry juice
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch
  • 2 full teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 packet powdered gelatine
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 800 ml (3 and 1/2 cups) whipping cream
  • 40g (3/8 cup) icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
For decoration:
Semi-sweet chocolate curls or shavings


(Preheat the oven and grease a 28 cm (11 in) round pan)
Prepare the shortcrust pastry:
Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and Kirsch. Knead the dough either with your hands or with a hand mixer (kneading hook) for 5 minutes until you get a smooth dough. 
Roll the dough out and line the bottom of the pan, prick the dough a few times with a fork. Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for 15 minutes. 
Remove the pastry immediately from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. Clean the pan, grease the bottom and line with baking paper. 

Prepare the Sponge: 
Put the eggs into a large mixing bowl, use a hand-mixer at the highest speed and whisk the eggs until foamy. Slowly sprinkle the sugar and vanilla sugar into the egg mixture while you continue whisking. Whisk for at least 2 minutes after the sugar is added. The egg mixture should be very fluffy and nearly white. 
Sift and mix the two flours, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa, and stir into the egg mixture quickly. Spoon the sponge dough into the prepared pan, flat the surface, and bake it for about 30 minutes at 180°C/350°F (don't open the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking, or your sponge will flatten)
Remove the sponge from the oven, remove the ring from the pan and let the sponge cool down. Carefully peel off the baking paper and cut the sponge in half horizontally. 

Prepare the filling: 
Blend the cornstarch with a little of the cherry liquid in a sauce pan, stir in the rest of the juice, and the 4 teaspoons sugar. Heat the liquid until it boils, stir occasionally, and let it simmer for a minute, add well-drained the cherries (set 12 to 14 cherries aside for the decoration) and remove from the heating surface. When it is cool add the Kirsch. 

Soak the gelatine in the cold water for ten minutes, warm it up while stirring until the gelatine has dissolved. Let it cool. 

Whip the cream until nearly stiff, add the gelatine, the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla sugar. Continue whipping until the cream is very stiff.

Putting it all together:
Put the shortcrust pastry on a serving plate. Spread the cherries on the bottom layer, leaving 1 cm (1/8 in) uncovered around the edge. Add one-third of the cream and flatten with a cake spatula. 

Put a sponge layer on top and press lightly. Spread half of the remaining cream and add the second sponge layer. 

Fill a pastry bag (star-shaped nozzle) with 3 tablespoons of cream. Cover the entire cake, top and sides, with the remaining cream. 

Decorate your masterpiece with 14 cream roses, put a cherry on each rose, and sprinkle chocolate curls on the side and top of the cake. 
Refrigerate the black forest cherry cake for at least 3 hours.

I know it looks overwhelming and scary.
Call up a friend to give you a hand; make it a happening. This cake is definitely not meant to be made for everyday tea-time; it's a special treat for a special day. Something like: Valentine's day? (it's getting close, you guise)
Let me know if you braved it out, darlings.
♥♥ Pinky Honey 


  1. Bar none, this is one of my absolute favourite cakes of all-time. It was also amongst the biggest treats I can remember experincing as a child, brought out on the most festive and important of holidays and birthdays. To this day, though the version that I can safely eat is considerably altered from the originonal, it still remains a firm favourite. One thing I love to do is save a slice or two and fold it into vanilla ice cream with extra cherries and some chocolate sauce drizzled on top - taste bud heaven for a summertime party dessert, I tell you! :)

    Big hugs, honey!
    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* I loved and really appreciate your splendidly nice comment about CV's revamped blog template. I was swirling around with a gleeful smile on my face once it was up on the site, too. It's marvelous to have a blog looks so much more like I'd always envisioned it to at long, long last.

    1. This cake stands out.
      It's moist, juicy and cream.. it has an ideal combination of sweetens and a dash of sour. I was quite scared while I was making it, not sure would it "work it's magic" - it did.
      I think we should all have a "cake day" - a day dedicated to eating cake, with no particular reason (not a holiday, not someone's birthday or a gathering - just cake) :)


  2. You've got me salivating. I love Germanic-ish deserts and I adore anything black forest. I think I will have to make this on my birthday!!!!! And just eat the whole!

    1. Every time I see this cake, I smile. It is so lovely in texture and rich in flavour. My mom does not enjoy it as much as I do; she claims no cake should be sour; unlike her, I believe that every cake NEEDS a bit of twist.
      Let me know if you make it.