Cherries, chocolate and whipped cream are the hallmarks of a traditional Black Forest cake, which also gets a boost of cherry flavor from the generous use of kirsch, a cherry-based liqueur that is stirred into both the filling and the whipped cream frosting. To make the chocolate shavings, use a vegetable peeler to cut thin, flat shavings from a large chunk of chocolate onto a piece of parchment paper or a plate.
Black Forest Cake with Fresh Cherries
For the cherry filling and syrup:
- 1 lb. (500 g) fresh Bing cherries, pitted
- 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 2 Tbs. kirsch
For the cake:
- Unsalted butter for greasing
- 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 9 eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups (14 oz./435 g) sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
For the kirsch whipped cream:
- 2 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) heavy cream
- 3 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 Tbs. kirsch
- 6-oz. (185-g) block semisweet chocolate, shaved (see note)
1.To make the cherry filling and syrup, in a saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, and 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) water. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain, reserving the syrup and cherries separately. Stir the kirsch into the syrup. Set aside.
2. Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). Butter two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt onto a sheet of parchment; set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the egg yolks and 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) of the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the almond and vanilla extracts.
4. Using a clean bowl and clean whisk attachment, whisk together the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until the whites thicken. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar and continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 2 minutes more. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until almost incorporated. Fold in half of the flour mixture. Fold in another one-third of the whites, followed by the remaining flour. Fold in the remaining whites until the batter is smooth and no whites are visible. Divide the batter among the prepared pans
5. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Immediately run a small, thin knife around the inside of each pan to loosen the cakes. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto wire racks, peel off the parchment, and turn upright. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
6. When ready to assemble the cake, make the kirsch whipped cream. In a bowl, combine the cream and confectioners’ sugar. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the mixture until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and kirsch until blended.
7. To assemble, cut each cake layer in half horizontally. Place 1 cake layer on a platter and generously brush with cherry syrup. Using a spatula, spread about one-fourth of the kirsch whipped cream over the cake. Arrange one-third of the reserved cherry pieces in an even layer over the cream. Repeat the process with 2 more cake layers, using all of the cherries. Place the remaining layer on top and brush the top and sides with the syrup. Spread with the remaining whipped cream over the top. Top with chocolate shavings and serve. Serves 10 to 12.
Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma Luscious Fruit Desserts