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Black Forest Cake Recipe

On New Year’s Eve we celebrated Mini SGCC’s 18th birthday.  That’s right.  My baby is now legally an adult.

Of course, that means nothing to me. In my mind, she will always be my little curly-haired cherub.

One would think that Mr. SGCC and I can now sit back, relax and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.  But, I have a feeling that our headaches aren’t over yet!  Mini SGCC is a good kid, but she is fiercely independent and knows her own mind.  That is how we raised her to be.  Hopefully it won’t come back to bite us in the butt, now that we can’t really tell her what to do anymore.

I find it ironic that we parents spend all those years worrying and fretting over our kids, only to worry and fret even more when they grow up!  I now understand what my parents were talking about all those times they said that “A son is a son till he takes him a wife, but a daughter is a daughter for all of her life.”

In honor of the occasion, I decided to bake Mini SGCC’s favorite cake: a Black Forest Cake. I’d never baked a Black Forest cake before, and frankly, the prospect made me a little nervous. It’s a fancy schmancy German confection consisting of several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and brandied cherries between each layer. Originally called Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, the entire cake is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. When made well, it is a masterpiece. When made by me – I wasn’t so sure!  

The base of a Black Forest cake is a rich chocolate cake. Most of the recipes I found used a Devil’s food cake, so that is what I decided to do.  I used the Devil’s food cake recipe from Baked Explorations [1], by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Everything I’ve ever made from that book has turned out great, so I was confident that this cake would as well.

Although traditional Black Forest cakes are made with sour cherries, I went with sweet Bings.  The canned sour cherries I found in the market were just sad, little grayish blobs that tasted like crap.  Very unappetizing!  Besides, we like big, fat Bing cherries better.  Plus, they are easier to find around here.

Since I would be serving the cake to children, I soaked the cake in a syrup that I made by reducing the cherry liquid and Kirschwasser, a cherry liqueur, instead of just using the liqueur alone.  I think it tasted better that way.

A Black Forest cake usually has several layers.  However, in the interest of time (and my sanity), I opted to only make a two layer cake.  It was fine, though.  This cake was plenty rich just as it was.

I frosted the whole cake with freshly whipped cream and decorated it with some Maraschino cherries and shaved dark chocolate.  I think it turned out very pretty, if I do say so myself.

Mini SGCC’s boyfriend’s birthday is just a few days after hers, so the cake was kinda for him too.  Here are Mini SGCC and The Boy blowing out their candles, as Mr. SGCC looks on with a grumpy look on his face.  All together now:  AWWW!

I have to say, I don’t know what I was so worried about with this cake.  It was really quite easy to make, and it was amazing.   The cake layers were wonderfully dense and moist, and the cherry filling was absolutely to die for!  Everyone who tried it was wowed.

If you’re looking for a fancy cake for a special occasion, I highly recommend this Black Forest cake.  While it looks like it took all day to make, it actually can be pulled off in just a few hours.