Today is my momma’s birthday. She wanted a chocolate cake with cherries. I delivered.
It’s nice to be able to cook and bake for her after all the years she’s spent in the kitchen keeping my family well-fed. Especially now that I can produce food that is surprisingly palatable.
Out of all my options, it’s appropriate that I made a Black Forest cake. Our family is mostly German, after all. And I like to think that I’m paying homage to not only my mother, but also my grandmother and her mother and all of those women, all of my ancestors, who baked up love in their kitchens.
I love being a part of that legacy.
The recipe is based on this one.
Black Forest Cake:
2 cups and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 (20 ounce) cans pitted sour cherries
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream frosting
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
Bittersweet chocolate for topping (optional)
1/2 cup Kirsch (cherry liqueur, also optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with canola oil, then coat the oil with a thin sprinkle of cocoa.
2) In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 cups of sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3) Bake for 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.
4) Meanwhile, drain cherries, reserving 1/2 cup of juice. Combine cherry juice, cherries, 1 cup of sugar and cornstarch in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring often. Then add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Let cherry mixture cool.
5) Remove cakes from oven and cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove cake from pans and let cool completely.
6) Combine whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar in a chilled bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
7) With long serrated knife or a long piece of thread (I used thread), split each cake layer horizontally in half. Tear one of the four split layers into crumbs. (At this point, you can pour the 1/2 cup of Kirsch on the other three layers and let soak briefly, if desired.)
8 ) Take one layer and place on a serving plate. Spread about two cups of frosting on the cake, then top with cherry filling. Cover with another layer of cake and repeat the frosting/filling process. Cover with the remaining layer of cake.
9) Frost around the sides of the cake and the outer part of the top layer of cake. Take cake crumbs and pat onto the sides of the cake to cover.
10) Spoon remaining frosting into a pastry bag or sandwich bag and pipe out decorations along the perimeter of the cake. Add remaining cherry filling to the top of the cake. Grate bittersweet chocolate on the top to decorate.
Be sure to store this baby in the fridge. Make it ahead of time so the flavors get nice and cozy in the cake.