The Black Forest Cake we are most familiar with here in the west is a chocolate cake with whipped cream, dark chocolate shavings and maraschino cherries. I will eat the occasional maraschino in a cocktail, but I never bake with them. They are too processed for my liking, and nothing beats the flavour of fresh cherries anyway. Good quality chocolate, fresh cherries and cream are key to making this recipe work.
I decided to use half my cherries to make a cherry sauce, the other half I pitted and quartered and added to the sauce after it had cooled. This worked out wonderfully, the cherry sauce was colourful and juicy but still had the flavour and texture of fresh cherries too. Yum.
This is very easy to make, you can make the cakes a day in advance and make the sauce and cream as they bake. Assemble them right before serving. =)
Equipment to have on hand: an electric mixer or stand mixer, a pastry bag with a large round tip, parchment paper for lining pans, and a small kitchen scale for weighing ingredients.
-250g fresh cherries, pitted and chopped into medium size pieces.
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup of sugar
-250g cherries cut into quarters (reserve to add to the cooled sauce)
Combine the first three ingredients in a small saucepan with a heavy bottom and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat down to medium/low and stir occasionally as the sauce bubbles and reduces.
It is done when the cherries have become soft and the sauce has become bright red and thickened to the consistency of a light syrup. You can drop a few drops on a plate and put it in the fridge to see if it is ready or not.
Remove it from heat and pour it into a heatproof bowl, let it cool a few minutes on the counter and set it in the fridge to cool completely. When it is no longer hot you can stir in the remaining prepared fresh fruit. Set aside until you are ready to assemble your cakes.
1/2 cup whipping cream (250ml) + 2 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
Place the cream and sugar in a bowl, whip with an electric mixer until it is thick and delicious.
Use a vegetable peeler to shave little shavings or curls off a good quality dark chocolate bar. Do not use baking chocolate. It only takes a little chocolate to make these desserts, so use a good quality chocolate bar (like Lindt, Just us, or Callebaut.)
I’ve been using the cake recipe of Claire Ptak of Violet cakes. If you like this I highly recommend you check out her new book “Whoopie Pies”. It’s lovely and the recipes are great. The only thing I do differently is use pastry flour rather than all purpose.
175g pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Line baking trays with parchment paper and trace out hearts or 2 ” circles on the underside with a pencil. Cookie cutters make great templates.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and leaveners in a bowl, set aside.
Cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer. Mix in the egg until just combined, followed by the buttermilk and vanilla mixture (make sure it’s room temp). If it curdles a little it’s not the end of the world, it will work out just fine. (If you have a little kirsch on hard you could also add a tsp of this to the batter to give the chocolate cake a hint of cherry flavour as well.)
Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
Spoon into a pastry bag and pipe onto the parchment paper. Bake at 350f until the cakes are almost set, when you touch them they should get a slight indentation. This doesn’t take long, so keep an eye on them. It is important not to over bake them. Set finished cakes on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Spoon a generous amount of cream onto the flat side of a cake, top with a spoonful of cherries and sauce, make sure there is enough sauce to run down the sides and onto the plate. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings and top with a matching cake top. Decorate with a little dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of chocolate, a couple of juicy cherry pieces and a teaspoon or so of cherry sauce.
Since we’ve been enjoying her new book so much, here is a little video to introduce you to Claire and her shop Violet. (If you are in anywhere near London you should go! If not you can order her book online.) Finally here is a super cute video of Claire Ptak baking whoopie pies and talking about her new book.
There are just a few more spaces left for valentines cake or cupcake orders, get in touch with Crystal here at email@example.com if you would like a quote for something special.