Otherwise known as Black Forest Cherry Cake, this Torte is a classic in Germany. It is, however, not likely to have originated in the Black Forest. First appearing as a written recipe in the 1930s, it gained popularity throughout Berlin and eventually became one of the most popular cakes in Germany.
One theory about the origin of its name is that it is named after Kirschwasser, a type of cherry brandy from the Black Forest, that is infused into the cake. Another theory is that the chocolate, cream, and cherries resemble the traditional dress of the women in the Gutach, Kirnbach, and Reichenbach regions.
The cake consists of three layers of chocolate sponge cake, filled with sour cherries infused with Kirschwasser, and layered with stiffened whipped cream. It is topped with cream and garnished with chocolate shavings and candied or fresh cherries.
Ingredients & Equipment
one 10 inch springform pan
butter for greasing
130 grams sugar
2 packets (9 g each) of vanilla sugar
80 grams all-purpose flour
60 grams corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1 jar sour Morello cherries (680 grams)
6 tablespoons Kirschwasser
12 grams powdered, unflavored gelatin
800 grams cold, heavy cream
3 tablespoons sifted, powdered sugar
chocolate shavings for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper, and butter and flour the pan.
2. Beat the eggs on the lowest setting, progressing to the highest setting for 2 minutes. They should be light yellow and foamy. Add 100 grams of the sugar and 1 packet of vanilla sugar to the eggs. Beat for another 2 minutes.
3. Combine the flour, half of the cornstarch (30 grams), baking powder, and cocoa powder in a separate bowl. Fold into the egg mixture.
4. Pour and spread in the springform pan, and bake on the lowest rack for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the springform pan and place on a baking rack to cool. Once cool cut the cake into three even layers. Set aside until ready to assemble the cake.
5. Drain the cherries and dry well, saving the juice. Set aside 12 cherries for decorating (unless using candied cherries). Combine the rest of the cornstarch (30 grams), the remaining sugar (30 grams), and 5 tablespoons of the cherry juice.
6. In a small saucepan, bring 200 ml of the cherry juice to a boil, remove from the heat, and stir in the starch mixture. Return the pan to the heat, and bring back to a boil until thickened. Be careful, as the mixture will thicken quickly. Remove from the heat and stir in the cherries. Once cooled, stir in the Kirschwasser.
7. Stir the gelatin into 5 tablespoons of cold water and let sit for five minutes. Heat the gelatin mixture in a small saucepan and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
8. Beat the cream until slightly thickened. Add two tablespoons of the cream to the warm gelatin mixture, and then pour the gelatin/cream mixture into the slightly thickened cream. Beat the cream until achieving stiff peaks. Add the powdered sugar and remaining packet of vanilla sugar. Beat until just combined.
9. To assemble the cake, take the bottom layer of the cake and place it on your cake stand. Spread the cherry-Kirschwasser mixture over the sponge layer, leaving a 1 cm border around the cake. Spread 1/3 of the cream over the cherries, and then, gently but firmly, press the second layer on top of the first. Spread one half of the rest of the cream on top of the sponge, and then press the last sponge into place. Pipe the rest of the cream on the top and sides of the cake. Use a spatula to spread the cream evenly, saving some cream for the remainder of the decoration. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the shaved chocolate. Pipe florets in a circle around the top of the cake, and place a candied cherry in each floret. Chill for two hours before serving.
The cake is enjoyed best the second day after baking, as this allows time for the moisture from the cherries and cream to soak into the chocolate sponge layers.