Black Forest Cake

Because it’s National Black Forest Cake Day it reminds me of the time when my husband’s Aunt Alice invited us to dinner. We were flattered that she asked us (the aunts on my side didn’t) and she forewarned us that she wasn’t a great cook so we weren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary.

I don’t really remember anything about that dinner except for the dessert: a Black Forest Cake. So rich and chocolatey. So tender, fabulous, gorgeous. We ooohed and aaahed.

And then I made the mistake of asking her if she made it.

And then she made the mistake of saying yes.


I asked for the recipe.

I got one of course. But after I baked it I understood. It was an okay recipe. I don’t know where she got it, whose it was. I looked for it before I started this little entry today, but I must have discarded it in one of my recipe purges because it wasn’t THE recipe and wasn’t good enough to keep.

I never let Aunt Alice know I knew.

And I don’t know whether she ever knew I knew.

But in honor of Black Forest Day or really, I should say, in honor of Aunt Alice, here’s a recipe for Black Forest Cake. It builds on the chocolate cake recipe I posted a few days ago (but I’ve copied it here).

If you can’t get fresh cherries or don’t want to pit them, use canned Bing cherries, not cherry pie filling.

Black Forest Cake

The cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1-1/3 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

The Syrup and filling:

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons kirschwasser brandy

1 pound pitted sweet cherries (or use drained, canned Bing cherries)

The Frosting:

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons kirschwasser brandy

maraschino cherries for garnish

chocolate shavings for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium, beat the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes or until creamy and well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, and beat until the batter is smooth and well blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Stir in the vanilla extract. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pans for 10 minutes then invert onto a cake rack to cool completely.

Make the syrup: Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, dissolving sugar completely. Let cool and stir in the brandy. Brush the syrup on one of the cake layers.

Whip the cream until it is thickened. Add the sugar and whip the cream until it is thick. Stir in the brandy. Place the syrup-glazed cake layer on a cake plate. Spread some of the whipped cream on top. Place the fresh cherries on top. Place the second cake layer on top. Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the cake. Garnish with maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings. Makes one cake serving 12