5 June, 2019
Black Forest Cake
This is one of the more complicated recipes I’ve ventured to do. Anyone who’s been following Apartment Eats for a while knows I’m generally a cupcake person. I’ve tried making pies before with varied success, and I’ve never, ever made a full cake. Hubby actually gave me a straight answer for once when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, so, by god, I made him a black forest gateau.
Honestly, I expected making a cake to be a lot more difficult than it actually was. Whether I’ve got a knack for cake decorating or I’ve seen enough episodes of the Great British Baking Show to take on the challenge with a reasonable amount of confidence, I’m not sure, but it was surprisingly easy. Several hours after making the cake and most of a day before I have to transport it anywhere, I’m still waiting for the big screw-up to happen where I, like, drop it or something catastrophic like that. I nearly impaled it when going to store it in the fridge, so there is that.
Anyway, while this is one of the more complex recipes I’ve posted, it’s a lot easier than you’d think. Putting the shaved chocolate on the side was actually the hardest (and messiest) part of the whole ordeal. For anyone who likes puzzle games, this is also the type of cake advertised in the first Portal game (because everyone pays attention to video game memes from 2010 or whenever that came out). What I’m trying to say is: Don’t let the idea of baking a cake intimidate you. It’s actually pretty fun when you’re not wondering how in the name of all things good you’re going to clean up the mess you’ve made while making it.
Also: Sorry for missing last week! It was really hectic, and I didn’t realize until Thursday that I hadn’t scheduled anything to go up automatically.
For The Cherry Mixture
1/2 cup Sugar
4 tbsp Cornstarch
1/4 cup Kirsch
3 cups Cherries, pitted and quartered
For The Cake
1 3/4 cups Flour, sifted
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups Sugar
2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Espresso powder
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 Eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup Sour cream, full fat, room temperature
1/2 cup Buttermilk, room temperature
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hot water
For The Icing
3 3/4 cups Heavy whipping cream, cold
2 cups Confectioner’s sugar
3 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
~1/2 pound Dark chocolate block, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line and grease three 9″ circular cake pans.
To make the cherry mixture:
Pit and quarter three cups of cherries. In a medium saucepan, dissolve the corn starch in the kirsch before stirring in the sugar. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Mix in the cherries and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are soft and the sauce has thickened. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl and cool in the fridge.
To make the cake:
Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk them until evenly combined. In a stand mixer, combine all of the wet ingredients except the hot water with the paddle attachment. Once the wet ingredients are combined, gradually add in the dry ingredients. After all the dry ingredients have been added to the wet mixture, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and add in the hot water, stirring until smooth and well-combined.
Evenly distribute the batter among the three pans and bake for 21-25 minutes, testing with a toothpick when you get near the end of the timer. Take the cakes out as soon as the toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool on the counter for 30 minutes before loosening with a knife.
To make the whipped cream frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream, making sure it’s plenty cold. Using the whisk attachment, beat the cream mixture until stiff. You’ll need something resembling a piping bag for cake decorating and assembly. If you don’t have one, take a gallon Ziploc bag and cut a very small triangle off of one corner. Put a piping tip into the cut corner of the bag if you want to, making sure to tape it in place from the outside. Place the bag into a glass to support it while you fill it.
Assembling your cake:
Take your first cake and gently turn it out of the pan and onto a cake stand, plate, cardboard round, lazy susan, or whatever you plan to use as your base. Make a ring of the icing around the top of the cake to hold the filling in place. Pour about a cup of the cherry filling into the center of the dam and spread it out evenly. Top with more whipped cream and smooth it out so the cherry filling is completely covered.
Take your second cake and place it gently on top of the first cake, upside down. If the cake has a steeply-domed top, you may want to trim it flat first. Once the second cake is in place, create a whipped cream dam as you did with the first one and fill it with cherries, topping it with a layer of cream.
For the third cake, place it as you did with the second one. Before you do anything on top of it, you will want to decorate the sides. Pipe frosting around the sides to fill in any gaps between the cakes and to cover the sides of each layer. Using the back side of a butter knife or a pastry knife if you have one, smooth out the sides. Take your grated chocolate in small handfuls and gently press it into the frosting, working from top to bottom. Once you’ve decorated the sides and cleaned up the chocolate dust, you can decorate the top.
Pipe another dam of frosting around the outside edge of the top cake, making sure your dam’s edges meet the frosting on the sides. Fill the center of the dam with the remaining cherry filling. Pipe little swirls around the edge of the cake to make nests for the decorative whole cherries that go on top.
The cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of days before the whipped cream begins to collapse. It’s best enjoyed within 24 hours of making it, giving the flavors from the cherry filling time to seep into the cake itself.