German black forest cake traditionally is an “adult” cake made with a cherry liquor called kirsch that comes from the Black Forest region of Germany. In North America this cake is often found made with a sweet cherry pie filling which is not anything like the real thing. I was serving this cake to some children and people who were not fond of alcohol in the cake so I used morello cherry juice instead. The result was a delicious tart moist cake that was delicious. Feel free to use Kirsch to be authentic if you can find it, just make sure you only serve it to adults as the liquor is not cooked but soaked in the cake.
Kirsch Kuchen (German Black Forest Cake)
- 1 2 ⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ⁄3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1 ⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ⁄2 cup shortening
- 1 1 ⁄2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1 ⁄2 cups buttermilk
- 1 ⁄2 cup kirsch
- 1 ⁄2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 ⁄4 cup espresso
- 1 1 ⁄2 lbs fresh black cherries or Morello cherries
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ⁄8 cup kirsch
- 2 tablespoons dry milk
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 ⁄2 cup shaved dark chocolate
Pit most of the cherries leaving about 10 for decoration on top of the cake. Take the pitted cherries and soak them in a jar of the 1/2 cup Kirsch overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F Line the bottom of three 9 inch round cake pans with parchment.
Sift the dry cake ingredients together.
Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk and mix well.
Pour evenly into the cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Cool and remove the cakes. Prick the tops of the cakes with a toothpick and pour the 1/2 cup of Kirsch (that the cherries soaked in) onto the cake.
In a bowl beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar, salt and espresso and mix well. If the icing is too thick add Kirsch or cherry juice.
Cut the cherries into halves.
Place the base layer on top of your cake tray, spread 1/2 of the icing over one top, cover with cherries and top with another layer of cake.
Spread the second half of the filling over that layer of cake, cover with cherries and top with the third layer of cake. Cover this and let sit in the fridge for a day or two to allow the kirsch to soak into the cake and become moist.
The day you're going to serve this cake prepare the icing. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Gently fold in the dry milk and icing sugar.
Add the vanilla and pour in the Kirsch until it's a good consistency.
If you like more icing double this recipe. Spread the icing over all of the cake.
Place the fresh, intact cherries on top for decoration and cover the top with the chocolate shavings.