I really don’t know where to begin with this one. No words are enough, no words do it justice.
IT IS THAT GOOD.
A rich, moist, straightforward chocolate cake filled with whipped cream and fresh cherries cooked in a wee bit of whiskey. It probably isn’t the most authentic Black Forest, buuuuut it sure is a delicious one.
The recipe is adapted from Butter and Brioche. What drew me to it was that it wasn’t a light sponge, it was more like a moist, dense chocolate cake and I loved the sound of that. I made a smaller cake, and changed the process a bit by first beating the butter and sugar, rather than mixing all the ingredients in a bowl together. I also used only whipped cream as the filling to remind me of the old school cakes I loved as a child. And because I didn’t have and didn’t plan on buying, Kirsch cherry liqueur, I cooked the cherries in just a little bit of whiskey. It adds a ton of flavour and richness, even though you can’t actually taste the whiskey (which is a win in my book!).
You can definitely make a taller cake if you like, either by doubling the recipe and baking it in one tall pan, or dividing the batter among two pans. My oven won’t allow me to do such things so I stuck with a more manageable size.
I used yoghurt (instead of sour cream) in the cake, and it adds so much moisture and tenderness, do not skip it! There is a comparitively small amount of butter, so the yoghurt ensures the cake doesn’t turn out dry at all. If you have Dutch-processed cocoa powder, use that for a darker, richer colour and flavour as the original recipe recommends. A little bit of research told me I could swap it with natural without any compromise to the cake. Read more about the difference between the two here.
Fresh cherries are in season right now but I found many recipes that also use tinned ones. I’m therefore not sure which kind is traditional but I do know this: the soft, slightly sour fruit is fabulous with the chocolate! I added a little bit of sugar and left the cherries to macerate before cooking them down with whiskey. The whipped cream is unsweetened but you can add a little sugar to that if you like.
The whole thing comes together beautifully in one unbelievable dessert. Rich, decadent and so pretty! I hope you’ll make this todaaaaay!
- For the cake
- 1 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup butter, at room temp (55 gms)
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 1 egg, at room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extact
- ¾ cup plain yoghurt, at room temp
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp freshly boiled water
- For the filling
- 300 gms fresh cherries, pitted
- 2 tbsps caster sugar
- 2 tbsps whiskey
- ¾ cup chilled whipping cream
- Whole fresh cherries, icing sugar and chocolate shavings for topping
- Preheat the oven to 175 C. Grease an 8" round cake tin (springform preferred) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. You won't be able to create a light and fluffy mixture that this step usually produces because the amount of butter is quite small. Simply beat till combined.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat again. Then beat in the yoghurt.
- Fold in the flour mixture alternating with the hot water. Be slow and gentle while mixing so it doesn't splash or form lumps. If needed, run a hand mixer through the batter to smoothen it out.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, combine the cherries and sugar in a small bowl and chill for 1 hour to let the cherries macerate and ooze their juices. You can also leave the bowl at room temperature if it's not very wam where you are.
- Now add the cherries (and any juices) to a small saucepan. Pour in the whiskey and cook on low heat. Stir till the cherries begin to soften and the mixture boils for 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- When ready to assemble the cake, first whip the cream in a bowl using a hand mixer, till soft peaks form. Keep chilled.
- Slice the cake into two. On the bottom half, drizzle a little bit of the cooked cherry juices. Then spread half the whipped cream and spoon all of the cooked cherries onto it in an even layer. Place the top half of the cake on it and press down very lightly. Spread the remaining whipped cream on top and cover the sides as well.
- Decorate with cherries, chopped chocolate and a dusting of icing sugar. Drizzle any remaining cherry juices on top. Chill for 1 hour before slicing and keep refrigerated at all times. Enjoy!
*Depending on the sweetness of the cherries, you can add more sugar while cooking, or sweeten the whipped cream itself.
*The cake is not very tall and so I didn't level the top before slicing the cake into two. If you'd like a taller cake, with flat layers, double the recipe and even out the domed top before slicing it into two. You can also bake a larger batter in two separate pans if your oven has the space.
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