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Black Forest Cake

When I was a kid the only time we ever had this was at Christmas, and it was from the freezer.

I loathed it! There aren't words in the English dictionary that can do justice to just how much I loath Black Forest Cake.

It's the whole cherry thing. I hate cherries.

Why am I telling you how to make it then? Recently I've been asked to make them for birthdays so I have been forced to revisit the cake. The recipients of these cakes sent back huge praise for this version saying "they've never had one so good," and "Outstanding!".

You deserve to experience such a wonderful cake.

This version is soooooooooo much better than the one from the 70's (giving away my age now).

The best bit is it's really easy. If I have to make a cake I really don't like, then trust me it's going to be as easy as I can possibly make it. Unfortunately it did need a lot of bowls, so I wasn't very happy about the extra washing up! Thank god for dishwashers.

This cake is layers of Chocolate Cake, soaked with Kirsch (a cherry liqueur), filled with Kirsch infused Black Cherries, Fresh Cream and Dark Chocolate Shards. I make a 4 layer cake for Birthdays but you can just make 3 layers.

If you don't have a bottle of Kirsch to hand, then you can buy Black Cherries already soaked in Kirsch, in a jar at some supermarkets. But a warning: They are only available during the colder months ( I tried to find some in July only to be told they are seasonal). To substitute for this use cherry syrup mixed with a little bit of brandy. To make it child friendly just use the syrup from a jar of cherry compot.

There are a couple of things you need to do ahead of time.

The first is the chocolate bark. Don't panic! It's really easy.

Ideally it should be done the day before, but at least an hour before assembly is ok too.

Here is a youtube video I used to make it.

To infuse your own cherries with Kirsch then you will need to wash & destone them. Then cover with the alcohol and leave to infuse for at least 24 hours. The longer you leave them the stronger the cherry flavour. Keep them in the fridge.

How to make this cake.

Bake the sponges. I prefer to do this the day before to give them time to cool down completely. Also, they will firm up overnight making them easier to handle out of the tins.

Drain the cherries. Whether you have made your own or bought them in a jar, your cherries will need to be drained. But don't throw the cherry juice away as you are going to use this to add flavour to the sponges. Pour the cherries into a sieve, sat over a bowl, and leave them to one side for about 30 minutes. Drizzle a tablespoon of the drained liquid over each sponge layer and allow it to soak in a bit before assembling the cake. Half an hour should be enough.

Whip the cream. Use an electric whisk if you can but it's easy to do by hand too. It can be a bit tiring on your arm but it's great for your batwings!

If you don't like cream then you can substitute it with Cream Cheese Buttercream.

To 250g Butter, add 500g of Icing Sugar and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add a teaspoon of Vanilla Extract and 50g of Full Fat Cream Cheese. Give the buttercream a short beat just to combine the cream cheese.

Assemble the cake. How you want it to look is completely up to you but as it's probably for a special occasion it's easy enough to give it a bit of a wow factor. Place the cream into a piping bag and pipe around the outer edge of the sponge layer. This is the bit that is seen. Fill in the centre with a palette knife. Cover with the ready made Cherry Compote, or Jam, and a few of the Kirsch infused cherries.

To the top of the cake pipe swirls of cream, and top each swirl with a fresh black cherry. Finish with a flourish of Dark Chocolate shavings.

Arrange the Chocolate Bark around the outside, using the rest of the cream/buttercream or a little melted chocolate, to secure them. if you can't quite manage this bit then they will be just as effective arranged on top of the the cake.

Storage. If you don't manage to eat the cake in one sitting, and you sandwiched the layers with fresh cream, then you must keep it in the fridge.

If you do make one then I would love to see it. Share your bakes and comments below.

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