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Black Forest Cake

Apr 20, 2016

Creative work is not always easy. Even though I love doing what I do, sometimes there is just a huge blank in my mind and I simply cannot think of anything I could bake. On the other hand, however, there are days where one single picture or ingredient can unleash a list of things that I'd like to do.

Last week I was in one of these unproductive, uncreative days. I wanted (and still want) to do a lot of goodies involving chocolate, but I still need to buy a couple molds and it takes a while for them to arrive. And honestly, the last thing I wanted to do was to temper chocolate (my nightmare). So I felt a little stuck.

Then, out of a sudden, I remembered that I saw a huge can of sour cherries at the supermarket next door. One thing led to the other and BAM!, Black Forest Cake was in my plans for that day.

There are many cakes I absolutely adore, like my grandma's walnut cake that I always talk about. But Black Forest cake is probably one of the earliest cakes I've ever known about, and probably one of the first I've ever done.

My mom had this cookbook from Nestlé that was all about pies, cakes and tarts. I still have it here at home. And the cover of this book had a very pretty (at least for my childish eyes back than) Black Forest Cake that I could simply not forget about. I remember buying cans and cans of maraschino cherries back in the day (which are super expensive in Brazil) just to make it. That was my somewhat signature cake for a while.


Years went by, I had the opportunity to taste the real one in Germany a few years ago, and since now I can find sour cherries more easily, I thought it would be a good idea to make it again.

I'm not sure if the original recipe calls for sour cherries (griottes), though. To be honest, I like them better than the sweet cherries (cerises) because chocolate cake is usually sweet enough. I think it balances well.
As for maraschino cherries, well, I would try my best to avoid them. I used these cherries back in the day because they were all I had (as you can imagine, cherries are not exactly a common fruit in a tropical country), but it's best to stay away from them if you're planning to make a cake like this. There are better uses for these cherries.

And it's worth mentioning that this chocolate cake that I used for the layers is the tastiest chocolate cake I've ever had in life. Period. This recipe comes from Claire Damon, my role-model Pastry Chef (I love everything she does, and absolutely loved her shop in Paris) and has the perfect balance of sweetness, moisture and richness in it.
Some may say it's best to use a chocolate génoise here (to which I would probably agree), but since I wanted to present it as a naked cake, I thought it would be better to have a cake that is naturally more moist.

Final consideration: this is a very soft cake. If you're planning to use this recipe for an event, I would urge you to use a more consistent filling such as buttercream or mascarpone/cream cheese based cream. Chantilly holds better with thinner layers (which I absolutely didn't do here), so depending on the weather, or how you would handle this cake, you can end up with a very big mess.

Given all that, enjoy it! This cake is so tasty and soft you won't even realize you're eating that much -- which, yeah, may become a problem… but at least it's a delicious problem :)




Creamy Fudge Filling

Shelf-stable for 7 days, extremely adaptable and price-conscious filling recipe. This one stays creamy even after refrigerating or freezing without changes to texture or taste. Freaking. Game. Changer.

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