As part of our preparation for the final we had some Black Forest Gateau today. These were quite fashionable in England for a time in the 70s, whereas in Germany they have been popular for ages. They are named after the black forest, a mountain range in the south west of Germany, which has given the cake its name.
Nobody quite knows why it’s called that, one explanation is that the cake looks a little bit like the traditional costume of the region, as worn by unmarried women in Gutach, an other explanation is that you will i need Kirschwasser, a cherry schnapps which is produced in the region, to give the cake its typical flavour. You can leave it out completely (especially when children are around) or replace it with a little white rum or vodka.
Germans love their cakes and we often meet up for coffee and cakes, with everyone bringing a different cake to share. This one’s a real classic which will never fail to impress! You will need to prepare the sponge the day before, though, to be able to cut it into three neat layers.
Black Forest Gateau – Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (for a 10in springform)
- 100g soft unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tbs vanilla sugar
- 4 eggs
- 70g ground almonds
- 50g cocoa powder
- 50g plain flour
- 50g corn flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 6 tbs Kirschwasser, cherry schnapps
- 500ml whipping cream
- 1 jar cherries in syrup (750g)
- dark chocolate for decorating
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the bottom – not the sides – of a 10in cake tin. If you use a smaller tin you can use any surplus dough for a minicake or two.
Beat the butter with the sugar and vanila sugar until smooth, then add the eggs, the almonds and the cocoa powder. Mix the flour, the corn flour and the baking powder and fold it in using a spatula. Fill the mixture into your tin and bake for 30 minutes on the second shelf from the bottom.
Let the cake cool down completely, preferably overnight, before cutting it horizontally into three. Whip the cream with a little sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Drain the cherries in a sieve.
Carefully pour 2 tbs of the alcohol onto your bottom sponge. spread 1/4 of the whipped cream on the sponge and distribute 1/3 of the cherries on the cream before adding the second layer and the cream and cherry filling. Keep the prettiest 16 cherries to decorate the cake.
On the final layer of sponge spread the cream neatly and decorate with piped cream and cherries, as well as grated dark chocolate, for a classic look.