Chef Column: Black Forest cake, with a cherry on top

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02/04/2011 1:47 PM |
Black Forest cake.

Black Forest cake.

The stream that bubbles below,
Like an incessant lyric,
A monk’s chant in a monastery.
The cherry tree hangs
With bloom on its sagging boughs.
Ah, to look at trees in all their splendour,
In this Black Forest idyll.
The blue Schwarzwald range
Makes poetry out of the dying Sun.

excerpt from “Schwarzwaldlyrik” by Satis Shroff

The world-famous combination of chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and kirschwasser known in the United States as Black Forest cake is not named for the Black Forest specifically, but for the liqueur of that region known as Schwarzwalder Kirsch. Without this liqueur in the recipe, German statutory law does not permit the use of the name Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte. It is the perfect dessert in which to indulge yourself and loved ones during this sometimes bleak time of year.

On a recent trip to visit my daughter in Bockenheim, Germany, I attended a birthday party and, according to custom, many cakes were served. But a beautiful Black Forest cake struck me as both decadent and delicious. (If you invest in unwanted calories, they should be good ones.) This cake was made by Hildegard Bahrdt, a longtime employee of the Schloss Janson Winery and a serious amateur cake baker. She was kind enough to share with me her recipe given to her by her mother. My adaptation includes American measurements and easy-to-find ingredients.

The elements of this cake include the base (knetteigboden); the sponge cake (biskuitboden); the filling (fullung); the stabilized whipping cream (schlagsahne) and the chocolate garnish (schokolade geraspelt). A 10-inch springform pan and a mixer are required equipment.

Knetteigboden
(base)
Whisk 2/3 cup flour, 1 tablespoon cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl. Stir in 1 egg white (unbeaten) and 3 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender as you would do with a pie crust. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly to form a ball. Flatten the ball of dough and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with no-stick spray. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and place on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes and remove. When slightly cool, remove the sides from the springform pan and slide the knetteigboden onto a cake plate. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Kirschwasser (cherry brandy).

Fullung
(sour cherry filling)
Strain one 14.5-ounce can of sour pitted cherries into a bowl, saving the juice. Place 1/2 cup of the juice in a saucepan and dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 tablespoon cold water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the juice and bring to a boil. When thickened, remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon kirschwasser. Add the cherries back to the sauce and refrigerate.

Biskuitboden
(sponge cake)
Combine 2/3 cup flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a bowl and stir with a whisk. With an electric mixer beat 4 egg yolks with 1/4 cup hot water and 1/3 cup sugar at high speed until volume doubles, about 5 minutes. Separately, beat 4 egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract at low speed. Fold together the yolks and whites in a large bowl and gently fold in the dry ingredients. Spray the springform pan with no-stick and place the cake batter in the bottom. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and remove.

Schlagsahne
(stabilized whipped cream)
Place 3 cups heavy cream in a chilled bowl along with 2 .35-ounce packages of whipped cream stabilizer (omit this if serving the cake right away). Whip the cream at high speed until the soft peak stage and add 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. When stiff, remove and set aside.

To assemble the cake, place the cake plate with the knetteigboden on it in front of you. Spread 1/2 cup cherry jam on this base. Cut the sponge cake in half horizontally and place one half on top of the jam-covered base. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon kirschwasser. Remove 16 cherries from the filling mixture and set aside.

Add about 2 cups of the whipped cream to the remaining filling and fold together. Spread this on the cake layer and cover with the other half of the cake. Sprinkle another tablespoon of kirschwasser on this layer and coat with whipped cream. Cover the sides and top and smooth it all out with a spatula.

Place the remaining cream in a pastry bag with a star tube and pipe 16 stars on top of the cake. Place a cherry on each star. Using a vegetable peeler, make chocolate shavings with one bar of German chocolate (or other chocolate). Shave the chocolate onto a piece of wax paper and refrigerate briefly before placing around the sides of the cake. Sprinkle a few more shavings on top and serve.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. E-mail: [email protected]

Comments

comments

13 Comment

  • I’m Too Sexy!

  • My Heart Will Go On!..

  • “But state law now requires district’s to employ their own social workers, school officials said.”
    Another bang up job of legislating MANDATES that make operating schools entirely unsustainable!
    You can hire the same person, to do the same job, that is currently being done as an outside contract (with no responsibility for pension & benefits), but nope….gotta make them an “employee”..likely offer them tenure….and be responsible for them for life. OMG, when does it end. WAKE UP ALBANY!!!! WAKE UP VOTERS AND REMOVE THE CLOWNS WHO PERPETUATE THIS SYSTEM!!!!

  • “But state law now requires district’s to employ their own social workers, school officials said.”
    Another bang up job of legislating MANDATES that make operating schools entirely unsustainable!
    You can hire the same person, to do the same job, that is currently being done as an outside contract (with no responsibility for pension & benefits), but nope….gotta make them an “employee”..likely offer them tenure….and be responsible for them for life. OMG, when does it end. WAKE UP ALBANY!!!! WAKE UP VOTERS AND REMOVE THE CLOWNS WHO PERPETUATE THIS SYSTEM!!!!

  • “But state law now requires district’s to employ their own social workers, school officials said.”
    Another bang up job of legislating MANDATES that make operating schools entirely unsustainable!
    You can hire the same person, to do the same job, that is currently being done as an outside contract (with no responsibility for pension & benefits), but nope….gotta make them an “employee”..likely offer them tenure….and be responsible for them for life. OMG, when does it end. WAKE UP ALBANY!!!! WAKE UP VOTERS AND REMOVE THE CLOWNS WHO PERPETUATE THIS SYSTEM!!!!

  • It’s funny that they will cut a social worker job- he/she probably doesn’t make much even with the $15k increase- I don’t think tax payers will feel that increase. They have a very important job in the district! How about the superintendent take a $15k loss on their base salary to pay for it. I’d be surprised if the social workers make $40k/year and they are licensed professionals with masters degrees.

  • Agreed – Social workers are important especially due to the suicides this district has experienced. BUT.. here is something to consider… FIND A LINE ITEM TO REDUCE BY $15,000! Sounds like a foreign concept for this Board of Education and school Administrators. If I need oil for my house, but my budget can’t be increased to accommodate that oil cost, I have to CUT somewhere else in my budget to pay for the oil. There is easily $15,000 to be found. If they can’t find it, then give the public the LINE BY LINE BUDGET NOW… with this years, up to date expenditures and see where $15,000 is, and not being used. It can be done, but some people would rather raise the tax levy and force more people into foreclosure in this community! This SWR Board has to stop throwing tax payer money at every issue that comes up.

  • People are dumping their homes and fleeing SWR right now due to the oppressive taxes.Look at the prices… even the Village can be had on the cheap.What else do we need to see? Whats left? People vote with their feet. Keep it up we’re gonna wind up sending our kids Longwood or Riverhead soon.The problems are huge and systemic and based on this article it doesen’t seem like we’ll be solving them anytime soon.

    Epic fail.

  • People are dumping their homes and fleeing SWR right now due to the oppressive taxes.Look at the prices… even the Village can be had on the cheap.What else do we need to see? Whats left? People vote with their feet. Keep it up we’re gonna wind up sending our kids Longwood or Riverhead soon.The problems are huge and systemic and based on this article it doesen’t seem like we’ll be solving them anytime soon.

    Epic fail.

  • I live in Southold and the same is happening. We are forming a coalition to stop this nonsense and are organizing a group to FINALLY DO SOMETHING about these public salaries. I suggest you do the same in your area! Enough of these systems sucking our tax dollars while we toil in the private sector to pay them.

  • will buy your stock… email me at [email protected]

  • Satis Shroff on FB:
    Schwarzwäldertorte: If you happen to visit the Black Forest (Germany) you must try out this Black Forest cake..it’s, as we say in Germany, ‘himmlisch’..it’s not for children though, ‘cos there’s a liberal amount of the Schwarzwälder Schnaps (alcohol) in it, which gives the torte its extra flavour. Mmm..Guten Appetite! As you can see, even the Brits in Suffolk love it..Thanks to John Cross for this article..

  • Satis Shroff on FB:
    Schwarzwäldertorte: If you happen to visit the Black Forest (Germany) you must try out this Black Forest cake..it’s, as we say in Germany, ‘himmlisch’..it’s not for children though, ‘cos there’s a liberal amount of the Schwarzwälder Schnaps (alcohol) in it, which gives the torte its extra flavour. Mmm..Guten Appetite! As you can see, even the Brits in Suffolk love it..Thanks to John Cross for this article.Wie also have a saying: ‘Liebe geht durch den Magen’..loves goes through your stomach. Thanks again for bringing two great cultures together in your gastronomic article..