The queen of cakes and heartthrobs of many, the decadent black forest cake epitomizes the divinity of chocolate in its true spirit, this heavenly torte is dream of every bakers to whip up the best one possible. This fancy cake is layered with so many fascinating stories about its origin, tales that traveled across the globe from the sleepy town of Bad Godesberg near Bonn. Black forest cake is a fancy and dreamy chocolate genoise which is soaked in kirschwasser or cherry brandy for hours till it oozes out with flavours of sour cherry that represents the region’s identity, lavishly sandwiched between thick and creamy whipped cream frosting, decorated with real chocolate shavings and brandied cherries to give a regale touch to the cake. It might be a kalorienbombe but a slice of it can easily transport you to the magical world of chocolaty black forest.
Life offers good and precious things in small slices and to me a heavenly slice of black forest cake is all I need to rejuvenate my spirits. Just the way you need a pure soul to cook a good and hearty soup, black forest cake to me is like whipping up all life’s goodness into its many layers. Pure, honest and no faking up. To add kirsch or brandied cherry to the cake is personal choice and being little adventourous with food, I allowed myself to float in the brandied cherry flavours. Since it is difficult to get a good flavour of kirsch, hence I tried to make my own in a very primitive home style way. It may not be the real or authentic way to make kirsch but nevertheless it was fun to try something new. Lastly make sure to purchase lots of cherries to decorate this cake, as I ran short of it, I have to depend upon the cherry cordials to give a finishing touch to the cake.
This is one of my most sincere effort to bake a decent black forest cake and tried to be as honest as possible with the taste and flavour of good black forest cake, it might not be authentic but at least I draw the satisfaction of baking a good cake. I hate the big and obnoxious proclamations of so called self labeled bakers who goes to any lenght to cheat the unsuspecting customers.Few months back I had attended one of Bangalore’s poshest fair. My skinny jeans with chiffon black printed top and small butterfly tattoo on my neck didn’t even make a cut there and for most of the time I found myself out of place amidst the fashionistas. The evening was buzzing with lot of activities and as my eyes were scanning the food stalls hungrily, I spotted him, Mr. Fake-u, who was selling some homemade (which he labelled as handcrafted) cakes. His sheer enthusiasm and love for baking was highly evident from the way he was explaining the flavour combos of his cakes to his customers. His proclamation of using the world’s best and healthiest ingredients was laudable enough. I was amazed at his collection and the variety of cakes, some speaks of his innovative ideas and deserve special mentions like mawa chocolate cake and I was instantly drawn to the cakes like bees to the nectar. Most of the cakes were loaf cakes but flavour combos were so unique that inside I was already drooling. I sampled ten different varieties of cake before buying three special ones. But the moment when he mentioned that these are all “maida-free” cakes, made with oats, whole wheat and other healthy grains, butterless (as if butter is bad fat) made with olive oil only, ‘the food critic” in me simply refused to buy his theories.
Of all my growing up years I had eaten maida and refined oil cakes only made by my Ma in some extincted rickety electric oven with a hole in the middle (like polo candies). Those were my little after school treasures. So no one can fool me on that. As I was trying to make sense of his erroneous claims, just then a phoren return couple elbowed me lightly and grabbed a cranberry cake to taste. They were over enthusiast to see the cranberry cakes in India and bought all the cranberry cakes leaving just six pieces for me.
I fumed silently at them. But when I tasted the cranberry cake, I found tiny bits of synthetic candies used in place of cranberries in the cakes. Now, I have eaten and baked n number of things with cranberries while I was in US. I had photographed the cranberry tree, I had seen the fruit in its unripe, ripe and dehydrated versions, so certainly those colorful candied “things” were not cranberries, but Mr. Fake-u goes on proclaiming that he made this cake with India’s best phoren branded dehydrated cranberries.
As my face was slowly turning into cranberry color with anger, DH quietly pay the bill, grab my hand and we quietly moved on to next stall.
Mr. Fake-u’s accountability is zero as compared to 2500 crore instant noodle brand. GS* India’s leading health drink brand for children had been held guilty for broadcasting misleading ads about the nutritional value of its health drinks which is not scientifically substantiated.
And if you look closer, there exist numerous Mr.Fake-u who claims to add this or that healthy thing in your food, and we buy it gleefully, trusting them, while they just play around with the limitless loopholes of our laws, safety and food regulations.
Food safety and accountability in India is almost non-existent. Anyone can sell here anything without license and prior approval from the food regulatory bodies. A constant vigilant from the regulatory bodies and conscious, well informed customers can only bring the necessary changes in India’s food and health regulations.
Recipe for homemade cherry liqueur has been followed from Serious eats.
You can also check Laws of baking to bake a perfect genoise.
- Chocolate genoise
- Chantilly cream / freshly whipped cream
- Kirsch syrup
- Brandied cherries
- Cocoa dust, chocolate shavings and cherry cordials to decorate
- Unsalted butter : 3 tbsp
- Cake flour : ¾ cup double sifted
- Eggs : 5 large at room temperature
- Cocoa powder (Dutch processed): ¼ cup
- Salt : ¼ tsp
- Sugar (granulated) : ½ cup
- Pure Vanilla extract : 1 tsp
- Heavy whipping cream/ double cream : 2 cups
- Granulated / castor sugar : 3 tbsp
- Vanilla extract : 1 tsp
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 inch round cake pan and line the bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter in saucepan till you see the brown specks in it. Reserve it for later use.
- Prepare the cake flour by adding salt and cocoa powder in it and then sift it twice.
- In a heatproof bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar. Warm this egg mixture by whisking continously over bain- marie, or over a saucepan of simmering water for approximately 5 minutes or until warm to the thouch. Water in the saucepan should not come to boil and do not allow the bowl to come in contact with the simering water.
- Remove from heat and with the help of electric hand mixer, beat the warm egg mixture initially on low speed and then slowly progress to medium high speed for around 10 minute till the mixture tripled in volume and looks pale yellow in color and reach the ribbon stage. This is very important stage and this will decide on the quality of genoise you are going to bake. Not too much beating, nor too little. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Then sift about one-third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and gently fold in using a baloon whisk. Repeat this in batches and fold it very gently till all the flour is used up and the batter barely incorporates the mixture.Take ½ cup of the batter and fold it into the melted butter (to lighten it). Then gently fold it into the egg batter. Take care not to deflate the air bubbles in the batter. Pour the batter very gently into the prepared pan, smooth out the top. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack for five minute, then turn it out upside down on to the rack to cool completely.
- Chill the mixing bowl and beater in the refirgeartor for 30 minute. Take out the cream from the fridge and add it to the mixing bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla extract and whip it with wire whisk on hand blender till stiff peaks appears.
- Slot out the drunken cherries from the kirsch syrup, slice them and reserve for later use. Warm up the syrup slightly before using it.
- With the help of cake slicer, cut the chocolate genoise horizontally into two layers.
- Brush the bottom layer of the cake generously with the brandied cherry syrup. Spread about one cup of whipped cream evenly over the moistened genoise. Place the sliced brandied cherries evenly over the cream. You can use the fresh cherries too here.
- Brush the other layer of the cake geneously with the brandied cherry syrup and place on the previous one, press it slighltly to compact. Reserve one cup of cream and spread the rest of it onto the top layer evenly. Spread the remaining whipped cream on the sides of the cake, thus cover the cake completely in whipped cream.
- Dust the cake geneously with cocoa powder and decorate with cherry cordials or you can pipe beautiful rosettes and decorate them with fresh cherries.
- Shave your favourite dark chocolate and decoarte the sides of the cake with it.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 to 5 hours before serving to develop the flavours.
Enjoy the true chocolate bliss with your valentine,