When you think German food, the Black Forest Cake is probably one of the first things that springs to mind. It has become THE international symbol of German cake culture par excellence.
But what makes it so popular?
Perhaps it’s the wonderful combination of fruity cherries, a soft chocolate sponge cake, and whipped cream – they’re just meant to be together.
Although these cakes may be chock-full of calories, you really should enjoy at least one piece to reward yourself for your baking talents.
As this delicacy tastes best when prepared over a period of two days, you will have enough time left for a little workout between baking and eating it.
Actually, there are a few similar German recipes that are quite older, but not as famous as the Black Forest cake. Its worldwide fame had its start in the 1930s, when it was first mentioned in print.
There are several theories about where the cake got its name. They range from the look of a traditional women’s dress in the Black Forest region to a previous variation of a cake recipe from Switzerland.
As no one seems to know exactly where it came from, different people have also claimed to have invented this particular gateau.
Well, let’s not worry about who baked it first, but rather treat ourselves to a homemade version!
The last time I baked it was for my father-in-law’s birthday, because he is crazy about Black Forest cakes. Whenever he gets the chance to order it in a pastry shop, he’s going to try it out.
Over the years, he has developed a sophisticated taste concerning this type of cake, which put me under pressure to bake an extremely good version of it.
And what can I say? This recipe made his day! Try it out yourself to treat your family to this popular cake.
Note: Ideally, you should try to bake the sponge two days before it’s needed. One day after baking, you can cut it much more easily since it won’t be as crumbly. On that day, prepare the filling and assemble, then let the finished cake develop its full flavor for one more day.
If you don’t have that much time to wait for it, you can also get a ready-baked sponge cake from your grocery store or bakery as an alternative. Or, if you’re in the mood for a less complex dessert to make in general, we’ve got another simple German-inspired two ingredient cake recipe that’s just for you, as well as a classic vanilla butter cake recipe you’re going to love.
Want another chocolatey German inspiration? Give this elaborate baumkuchen tart a try.
The recipe is for a 9″ springform baking pan, and you also need a cake ring. A stand mixer would also be helpful, but you could mix it yourself using good old elbow grease if you have to.
Ending up with a flat, deflated cake? Don’t worry, we’ve got some great creative fixes for cakes that won’t rise.Print
For the sponge
- 5 eggs
- 5 oz sugar
- 5 oz plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 oz cocoa powder
For the filling
- 1 1/2 lb sour cherries (either freshly defrosted from a jar)
- 3 tbs cherry brandy (stay alcohol free with cherry juice if you like)
- 3 tbs cherry jam
- 9 fl oz whipping cream
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar
- 3 oz sugar
- 2 sachets fruit tart glaze
- 18 fl oz whipping cream
- 2 sachets vanilla sugar
- 3 1/2 oz grated chocolate
- 12 cherries
- Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C). Grease or line the baking tin with parchment paper.
- Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff and keep cold. Whisk the egg yolks with 2 tbs water. Slowly and gradually, add the sugar and keep whisking until the mixture is thick and fluffy. Put the egg whites onto the yolk-cream.
- Mix flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Sift over the egg whites.
- Now, gently fold everything into the yolk-cream.
- Bake for approx. 25 minutes. Get the sponge out of the baking tin and let it cool on a rack.
– At this point it would be ideal if you wait for one day to proceed –
- Cut the sponge twice horizontally so that you have three layers. Sprinkle each layer with some of the cherry brandy. Put a cake ring around your lowest sponge.
- Warm up the cherry jam and spread the bottom layer with it.
- Whisk the cream with vanilla sugar until stiff and spread over the jam. Take your second sponge and put on top.
- Bring the cherries and the sugar to boil. Blend the fruit tart gaze with 3 tbs water and thicken the cherries with it. If you have a jar of cherries, measure up 18 fl oz of the juice and thicken with the fruit gaze. Then stir in the cherries.
- Spread the thickened cherry-mix on the second layer. Put the last sponge on top and gently press on. Keep cool.
For the decoration
- Whisk the cream and the vanilla sugar until stiff. If you have a star-shaped nozzle, fill in 1/3 of the cream.
- Loosen the cake ring and (with the help of a palette knife) spread the cream on the cake, starting on top until fully covered with cream.
- Sprinkle with the grated chocolate on top and gently press it onto the edges with the help of a dough scraper or the palette knife.
- Garnish every piece of cake with a spot of cream from your star-shaped nozzle and a fresh cherry on top.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.