German Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte)

Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a classic cake from the black forest in Southwest Germany, between Stuttgart and Zurich, Switzerland. It is, above all else, a masterpiece that introduces the uninitiated to new flavor combinations and decorations that diners will never forget.

The use of cherries and cherry liquor (Kirsch) is very popular in this area, and the cake’s combination of chocolate, cherry, and whipped cream is an inspired one.

Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte – Black Forest Cherry Cake

Sometimes it's worth it to go the distance. Even though there are decent cake mixes that can save some time, this cake is so stunning that making the whole thing from scratch with no traces of anything artificial is totally worth it. It's a lot of ingredients and instructions, but not overly difficult. A lot of it can be made separately in advance. If you're looking for a knockout ending to a special meal, this is it!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chilling: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 12
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment
  • 9-inch round cake pan, 3-inches deep
  • small saucepan
  • Bowls, rubber spatula, frosting knife, long-serrated knife, decorating comb, and piping bag with 3/8 star tip
  • Cake plate
  • Wire whisk
  • Food processor

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 5 tbsp Unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup Flour
  • cups Sugar
  • 6 large Eggs
  • ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt

Cherry Syrup

  • 14 oz Cherries, jar or can, drained with ½ cup liquid reserved. Reserve 12 cherries for garnish.
  • ½ cup Kirsch (cherry brandy)
  • ½ cup Sugar

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 2 tbsp Unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups Whole milk + 6 tbsp
  • ½ cup Cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp Sugar
  • 4 cups Heavy cream, cold
  • 6 tbsp Kirsch
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 oz Chunk or bittersweet chocolate in thin shavings

Instructions

Make Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter then flour a 3-inch deep, 9-inch cake pan. Whisk 1 cup sugar and eggs in a stand mixer at medium-high speed for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together cornstarch, flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Sift into egg-sugar mixture. Add butter to mixer bowl and quickly fold in by hand. Pour into cake pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely and remove. Level top with serrated knife and then cut cake horizontally into 3 even layers. Set cakes aside. Clean mixer bowl and whisk attachment and place in freezer for making frosting later.

Make Kirsch Syrup

  • Stir together 14 oz. of cherries and Kirsch liqueur in a bowl to sit for 30 minutes. Bring remaining sugar and reserved cherry juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Drain kirsch from cherries and pour liquid into the saucepan with syrup. Set soaked cherries aside.

Make Frosting

  • Sprinkle gelatin over 6 tbsp milk in a bowl. Let gelatin soften, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch and remaining milk in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture become a very thick pudding. Transfer to a food processor, add gelatin mixture, and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
    In a stand mixer with cold bowl and whisk, add cream, 4 tbsp kirsch, and vanilla. Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Add ⅓ of whipped cream to bowl with gelatin mixture and stir until smooth. Add remaining whipped cream and gently fold in until combined.

Assemble Cake

  • Place 1 layer of cake on a cake stand or plate. drench with cherry syrup. Cover with all but 12 of the soaked cherries. Cover with 1 cup frosting. Add another cake layer and brush top heavily with cherry syrup. Cover layer with 2 cups frosting and top that with third layer of cake. Brush top with remaining cherry syrup. Top cake and sides with a layer of frosting and score top into 12 wedges with long knife.
    Transfer remaining frosting to a piping bag and make a small mound of frosting on the outside edge of each scored wedge. Place a cherry in the middle of each mound. Pour chocolate shavings over middle of cake. Chill for about 2 hours to set frosting. Pour 2 tbsp kirsch over chocolate shavings and serve.

Notes

  • Cake and cherry syrup can be made days in advance.

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