(Above: This recipe is from “The Treasury of Creative Cooking,” which features award-winning recipes from around the country. It was given to me as a gift more than 20 years ago.)
Chocolate and cherries. If you’re a fan of that combination then this is the cake for you.
Not as sweet and gooey as chocolate cordials, but still reminiscent of those candies, this is a delicious dessert that will impress your guests. It’s a little time consuming but pretty easy to make (I give it a medium on the difficulty scale).
You could cut corners by using canned whipped cream but homemade is easy to make and much more delicious. You could also save some time by using a chocolate cake mix, but mixing these ingredients together isn’t really much work.
The most difficult part is splitting the two chocolate cakes in half to create four disks. You need a good, sharp knife and a steady hand. I suggest sticking the knife into the side of the cake just as far as the middle of the cake and then turning the cake as you go until you complete a full circle. The cake will then be completely split in two.
After that, assembling the three layers is a snap (you crumble the fourth disk to create chocolate crumbs that you apply on top of the whipped cream on the side of the cake), providing you have the cherry filling and whipped cream already made. The recipe calls for draining the cherries and reserving 1/2 cup of the juice, but I use cherry pie filling which requires no draining.
It does take a little skill to spread the whipped cream on the sides of the cake and pipe a whipped cream ridge on top. The recipe also calls for creating a ridge of whipped cream on the bottom, but I skipped that part. Putting on the whipped cream is easier if it’s beaten until it easily forms stiff peaks. Using a chilled bowl helps because warm whipped cream will fall.
I spread the whipped cream on the sides of the cake using a small pastry spatula. I then stuff a disposable plastic pastry bag — fitted with a cake-decorating nozzle — with the whipped cream to create the ridge.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. It will taste delicious no matter how it looks and that’s the important thing.
Black Forest Cake
- For the Cake:
- All-purpose flour. (2 cups, plus 2 tbsp.) (I use King Arthur. It’s not bleached, and for me, local. It’s made in Vermont.)
- Baking powder (1 1/2 tsp.)
- Baking soda (3/4 tsp.)
- Salt (3/4 tsp.)
- Sugar (2 cups)
- Cocoa (3/4 cup)
- Eggs (3) (Always use “large” eggs for recipes.)
- Milk (1 cup)
- Vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
- Vanilla (1 tbsp.)
- For the Cherry Topping:
- Tart pitted cherries (2 20 oz. cans, drained. Reserve 1/2 cup of the juice.) Or 2 20 oz. cans of cherry pie filling, not drained.
- Sugar (1 cup)
- Cornstarch (1/4 cup)
- Vanilla (1 tsp.)
- For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
- Whipping cream (3 cups)
- Powdered sugar (1/3 cup)
- Step 1 To Make The Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans. Cover bottoms with waxed paper.
- Step 2 Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Step 3 Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
- Step 4 Pour evenly into prepared pans. Bake 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean.
- Step 5 Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen edges and remove to racks to cool completely.
- Step 6 While cake is baking prepare cherry topping (see below) and cool.
- Step 7 Split cooled cakes horizontally in half to make 4 layers. Tear 1 layer into crumbs and set aside.
- Step 8 Make frosting (see below) and reserve 1 1/2 cups of it for decorating the cake and set aside.
- Step 9 To assemble, place 1 layer on cake plate. Spread with 1 cup of frosting. Top with 3/4 cup of cherry topping. Top with second cake layer. Repeat layers of frosting and cherry topping. Top with third cake layer.
- Step 10 Frost sides of cake with remaining frosting. Pat reserved crumbs into frosting on sides of the cake.
- Step 11 Pipe reserved 1 1/2 cups of frosting around the top and bottom edges of the cake. Spoon remaining cherry topping onto top of cake. Refrigerate.
- Step 12 To Make The Cherry Topping: Combine the reserved juice, cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in vanilla. Cool and set aside.
- Step 13 To Make The Whipped Cream Frosting: Beat together the whipping cream and powdered sugar in a chilled bowl at high speed with electric mixer until stiff peaks form.