I wanted to bake him something different. Something I haven’t made before. I thought long and hard and changed my mind a dozen times. Turned out, I spent way too much time thinking about what to bake that my man’s birthday came and went and the cake was only still a vision in my head. We celebrated his birthday with a amazing meal at Nobu. But still no cake.
Finally I got my act together (a couple weeks late) and decided to go with the classic, old fashioned Blackforest Cake. Yes, for those in the know – I still have cherries and this was a great recipe for using up more of them.
The traditional blackforest cake originated from Germany, and is called Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (black forest cherry torte). Kirschwasser, otherwise commonly known to the rest of us simply as Kirsch is a clear liquor distilled from cherries. Cherries are steeped in a sugar syrup with Kirsch before it is used for the cake. In my opinion, the kirsch-soaked cherries are the best parts of the cake. Well, the chocolate cake, whipped cream and shaved chocolates bits are great too, but the cherries…mmmm…
In my recipe, I used freshly frozen cherries instead of the canned ones, which is often what is recommended in recipes because they already come well soaked in syrup. Many use the canned syrup with kirsch or rum, or on its own if a non-alcohol cake is required.
I prepared the fresh cherries, with a simple sugar syrup…and white port. Oh yes, I broke the rules and used port. I didn’t have kirsch nor rum, only port. There’s sweetness, there’s alchohol…so why not? It worked really well anyway. Rules what rules? I got me some port-soaked cherries and cake…and it was gooooood.
The cake part was a no-brainer – I used my all time favourite chocolate cake recipe and the rest of it was just construction work. So easy yet it can look so impressive.
Happy belated birthday to my favourite person in this world!
Makes a 9 inch, double layered cake
About 500 – 700g pitted cherries
25g caster sugar (more if cherries are not very sweet)
55ml port (kirsch, rum or brandy if you want to substitute)
1/2 cup water
Add cherries, sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let it simmer till the water is reduced by half and becomes syrupy. Add in liquor, remove from heat. Let cherries soften and soak in the liquid until cool.
600ml thickened cream
2 tbsp soft icing sugar
Whip cream until almost stiff, then add in sugar and whip until cream holds peaks.
Half the cooled cake horizontally, brush both layers of the cake with some of the syrup and port mixture. Some people like the cake to have more syrup and some prefer the cake without – so it’s up to you how much syrup to soak the cake with. Just don’t drown it.
Spread whipped cream over the bottom layer of cake, and distribute soaked cherries evenly over the cream.
Gently lay top layer of cake over and top it with more cream. Decorate with piped cream, shaved dark chocolate and cherries.