“Keep a fork with you at all times, just in case cake happens.”
Every now and then, I love to take classic recipes and throw in a twist. It’s like it becomes something entirely new. Add a new ingredient, put in a dash of something and wha-la! A new creation; or at least a sweet treat with a happy makeover.
The black forest cake has German origins dating back to the 16th century. There various possibilities as to how the cake got it’s name and many believe it’s because the cake resembles traditional costumes worn by women in the Black Forest. Typically, the cake is constructed with four layers of chocolate sponge cake, cherries and, of course, whipped cream. As the base of this cake is chocolate, I thought it would be easy enough to add a chocolatey twist.
I wanted to layer the chocolate in a way that delight taste buds without overwhelming them. So, balance was key. I decided to add a white chocolate frosting, chocolate shards, and rock candy. How would this all work together?
Creating this cake goes a little something like this…
- 1 cup unsifted unsweetened cocoa
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup butter/ margarine softened
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- ¼ unsifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp kirsch or cherry-flavored syrup
- 1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling or maraschino cherries
- 1 pckg semisweet chocolate pieces
- ½ cup light cream
- 1 cup butter/ margarine
- 2 ½ cups unsifted confectioners’ sugar
White Chocolate Ganache
- 200 g white chocolate chips
- 150 g heavy cream (boiling hot)
- 40 g unsalted butter, melted
- Baker’s Chocolate
- Parchment paper
- Confectioner sugar
- Rock Candy
- Pavlova nests
- Chocolate shavings
Preparation. You may do this in different stages, depending on the speed or baking a flow. Generally, I start with the bread first, so I would set the oven to 350 F. Grease 9 ½ pans. (If you want to do the old fashion way you can use Crisco and flour). Set our margarine or butter to start getting soft (4 hours before if you want natural room temperature or on a small dish on top of the stove. It will heat up as the oven get hot). Set a pot of water boiling (This is for the bread and time varies depending on the stove top). Set small glass mixing bowl in the freezer with mixers (this is for the filling). Allocate measuring tools and pour out in the order of mixing.
Let’s get baking!
Bread. Combine cocoa with boiling water, mixing with a whisk until smooth. Let this cool completely. Sift flour with baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside. Beat butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer until well blended. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture. Blend everything on a low speed. When blended with good consistency pour in to pans. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool when done.
Pro tip: Check bread with a toothpick. If it comes back clean it’s ready to come out. If it comes back with batter, leave in for about five minutes and try again then.
Filling. Take bowl and mixers out of the freezer. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until it holds shape. If you whip mixture too much it will separate. Put some of the filling in a small bowl and mix with the kirsch or cherry-flavored syrup and cherries for the cherry filling. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Chocolate Icing. This will take a little bit of arm work. Combine chocolate pieces, cream, and butter/margarine over medium heat until smooth in a saucepan or pot. (Be careful if using glass dishware). Remove from heat and blend confectioner’s sugar with a whisk. Set mixture over a larger bowl with ice and use a beater to beat frosting until it holds shape. (This does not have to be done consistently and you can take the mixture off ice when it gets too hard). (May want to refrigerate until ready to use or take out early so icing can soften for use).
Chocolate Shards. Use a double boiler technique to temper the chocolate at medium or low heat. If you have a double boiler great. If not, work with chocolate in a large mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water. (If you do this you want a bowl that fits nicely with the pot and make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl). You can use your favorite baker’s chocolate. I like to use unsweetened baker’s chocolate as I can control how sweet the chocolate becomes. In this case, add confectioner’s sugar to taste.
When everything is melted pour chocolate on to a sheet of parchment paper. With a second piece of parchment paper on top of the chocolate, spread and evenly flatten the chocolate with an offset spatula. Afterwards, carefully roll the parchment paper by the ends and freeze for about an hour to harden (or ready to use if you do this earlier). Once, you’re ready to use the chocolate shards, take the parchment roll out of the freezer and carefully unroll. The chocolate will naturally, break apart. If you would like small pieces, gently use a butter knife to break apart again.
White Chocolate Ganache. White chocolate ganache is pretty simple to make. This recipe is amended from Let the Baking Begin.
Pour hot heavy cream on top of white chocolate chips in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Make sure all the chips are covered. Feel free to wiggle the bowl. After a minute of standing, whisk the mixture until smooth. Then, add the melted butter and continue whisking until everything is combined well. Refrigerate the mixture for about 4-5 hours. It may still be moving if you tilt the bowl after this; so, you can either let it get to room temperature or go ahead and whip until fluffy for about a minute. Do not over whip or ingredients will separate.
Allow things to cool or stiffen so they are workable for building the cake. The cake can be designed in various way. For the basic structure, you want to put whipped cream filling between layers, with one or the center layer being the cherry filling. Afterwards, feel free to ice and decorate as you like. For myself, I iced the outside of cake with the white chocolate ganache and left the top for the chocolate icing. Over the white chocolate ganache, I added a layer of whipped cream.
Over this, I delicately placed chocolate shards. On the top I also went ahead and added some shards, and chocolate shavings. That day, I also had made pavlova nests; so, I also put these on top of the cake and used these lovely rock candies as eggs. I was told later on the cake looked like something out of Maleficent! I suppose it’s because of the shards.
Refrigerate at least an hour before serving to ensure the cake holds shape.