I always thought Black Forest Cake had to have kirsch to be ‘real’ but learned today that it is common in America to leave it out and still call it by the same name. An example of ‘lost in translation’? At any rate, I wanted to make a chocolate layer cake and loved the idea of using cherries, but I didn’t have kirsch and thought it might turn off some of our Easter guests anyway. So while I called it a Black Forest-esque cake, presently I learn that it is simply the American version.
The chocolate cake wasn’t quite as dark as I thought it would be, but with the whipped cream as frosting rather than decorator’s frosting, the flavor of the cake comes through and isn’t squelched in a sugar bath. After smoothing the whipped cream on top of the cake, I wanted to give a hint of the chocolate lying underneath, so I sprinkled the top with shaved chocolate. The cake was hugely popular and will definitely be repeated, although I’d like to make it with kirsch next time.
American Black Forest Cake
Dark Chocolate Cake (from Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Cookbook, 1985)
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter (recipe calls for shortening)
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. buttermilk (I soured the milk with lemon juice)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking powder
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 2 round 9-inch pans. (I also use parchment paper on the bottom of the pan).
Beat all ingredients on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, 30 seconds. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 3 minutes. Pour into pans.
Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 minutes or so. Cool cake 10 minutes; remove from pans.
1 pint whipping cream, whipped with 1 t. almond extract
1 can cherry pie filling
Fold the pie filling into the whipped cream.
1 pint whipping cream (may need another 1-2 c. for decorating, if piping is desired)
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. almond extract
Whip ingredients together until stiff.
Slice the cooled cakes in two, as evenly as possibly. Place one cake layer on the plate, spread with filling. Repeat with two more layers. Top with final cake layer. Frost with sweetened whipped cream and garnish as desired.