There is more than one black forest cake recipe around, however, an authentic Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte must meet certain standards. Read on, and learn what makes a great black forest cherry cake.
I know we Germans sometimes overdo with regulations, and of course there are rules about our delicious Schwarzwälder Kischtorte as well. Take it as a sign of quality, that you get the real thing.
According to the German guidelines for fine pastries a black forest cherry cake must include the following ingredients.
The Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte got its name neither from the mountain ranges, nor from the cherries the cake contains. Actually, the "black forest Kirsch" gave the name.
Kirsch is the common name for Kirschwasser, the clear schnapps which is not a sweet liquor. "Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser" is a tradename. Cherries from the black forest area must be used, and the Kirsch must be distilled in the black forest.
So the black forest cherry cake is definitely not a dessert for children and people who should avoid alcohol.
Now let's get the baking tin and food processor out of the cupboard and start making this delicious cake.
Making a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is not done in a few minutes, however, the result is most rewarding. If you are in a hurry, you can use ready-made sponge cake layers from a good pastry shop.
This black forest cake recipe uses a shortcrust pastry bottom because a sponge bottom often gets too moist to serve the cake properly.
Preheat the oven and grease a 28 cm (11 in) springform pan
Prepare the shortcrust pastry:
Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and Kirsch. Knead the dough either with your hands or with a hand mixer (kneading hook) for 5 minutes until you get a smooth dough.
Roll the dough out and line the bottom of the springform pan, prick the dough a few times with a fork. Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for 15 minutes.
Remove the pastry immediately from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. Clean the springform pan, grease the bottom and line with baking paper.
Prepare the Sponge:
Put the eggs into a large mixing bowl, use a handmixer at the highest speed and whisk the eggs until foamy. Slowly sprinkle the sugar and vanilla sugar into the egg mixture while you continue whisking. Whisk for at least 2 minutes after the sugar is added. The egg mixture should be very fluffy and nearly white.
Sift and mix the two flours, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa, and stir into the egg mixture quickly. Spoon the sponge dough into the prepared springform pan, flat the surface, and bake it for about 30 minutes at 180°C/350°F.
Remove the sponge from the oven, remove the ring from the pan and let the sponge cool down. Carefully peel off the baking paper and cut the sponge in half horizontally.
Prepare the filling:
Blend the arrow root/cornstarch with a little of the cherry liquid in a sauce pan, stir in the rest of the juice, and the 4 teaspoons sugar. Heat the liquid until it boils, stir occasionally, and let it simmer for a minute, add well-drained the cherries (set 14 cherries aside for the decoration) and remove from the oven. When it is cool add the Kirschwasser.
Soak the gelatine in the cold water for ten minutes, warm it up while stirring until the gelatine has dissolved. Let it cool.
Whip the cream until nearly stiff, add the gelatine, the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla sugar. Continue whipping until the cream is very stiff.