I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Black Forest Cake

I was having a discussion with my German friend about Black Forest ham. He lives about 200 miles from the Black Forest and he has never heard of it. He says he thinks it is a marketing scheme to sell inferior quality pork products to Americans. So I asked him if the Black Forest does have a 'real' product to be famous for. He said that indeed, Black Forest Cake, or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is the real deal. I went looking for a recipe and I couldn't find a better one than in The Gourmet Cookbook. As an additional note, Kirsch or kirschwasser is a black cherry liquor used in a lot of fondue recipes.

Black Forest Cake

For the cake: 5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 T water
1/2 t vanilla
1/3 cup almonds
10 T sugar
8 eggs, separated
1/2 c all purpose flour
6 zwieback toasts, ground into fine crumbs
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1/2 t salt

For Kirsch Syrup:
1/3 c water
1/3 c sugar
1/4 cup Kirsch

For Cream filling:
3 c heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar

For cherry filling:
16 oz sour cherry jam or preserves - just make sure it isn't Bing cherry jam.

Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 375 with rack in the middle. Butter the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan and line bottom of pan with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Butter the paper next. Put butter and chocolate in a metal bowl. Melt it by setting the metal bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth. Cool to room temp and stir in vanilla.

Finely grind almonds with 4 T sugar in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add yolks. Beat in the Kitchenaid mixer with a whisk attachment at medium-high speed until pale, very thick and almost doubled in volume - about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in chocolate mixture. Transfer to a large bowl.

Next beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining 6 T sugar and beat until the whites are just forming stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of the whites into the yolk mixture then gently fold in the remaining whites.

Whisk together flour and zwieback crumbs, cocoa and salt in a bowl. Gently fold all of this into the batter.

Pour batter into a pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 45 minutes. Cool the pan on a rack for 5 minutes then remove sides. Invert cake onto a plate and remove paper. Turn back to rightside up onto the wire rack and cool completely.

Make the syrup:
Heat water and sugar until it dissolves. Remove from heat and add kirsh. Cool to warm.

Make the filling:
Beat the cream and sugar until stiff.

Assemble the cake:
Slice cake horizontally into 3 layers using a large serrated knife.

Put bottom layer onto a serving plate and brush with 1/3 of the syrup. Spread half of the jam over the layer and cover with a layer of whipped cream. Add the middle layer and top in the same matter. Add the top layer of the cake brush with remaining syrup. Spread remaining cream on the top and sides of cake.