Birthday Eve Black Forest Cake

My apartment was abuzz the night before my birthday. Tofu needed to be fried. The vegetarian adobo had to be cooked. The raspberry coulis recipe had to be tested. Pots and pans had to be washed. Gaaaahhh…

Despite the fact that we were scrambling to do prep work for the next day’s lunch, I managed to find a little bit of extra time to bake a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Black Forest cake.

I have several baking books on my shelf, but this is the simplest Black Forest recipe I could find. The source is a book called Kleine Kuchen (little cakes) by Anne Katrin Weber that came with my 20 cm springform. Tiny you might say? The size was perfect because there were only three of us who were going to share one entire cake. Believe it or not, about half of the cake was still left over for Janet and David’s breakfast the next day.

I prepared a non-alcoholic variety by exchanging the Kirschwasser with just plain cherry juice from the bottled sour cherries I bought.


For the Dough

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 egg yolks
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100 g sugar
  • 75 g flour
  • 20 g cornstarch
  • 25 g cocoa powder

A.1 Preheat oven at 175 degrees Celcius. Line the bottom of the springform with baking paper.

A.2 Using a hand mixer, beat eggwhites with salt until it forms stiff peaks.

A.3 In a separate container, beat egg yolks with 2 Tbsp of warm water and sugar until mixture becomes thick and light colored.

A.4 Add the egg yolk cream into the beaten eggwhites.

A.5 Sift together flour, cornstarch, and cocoa powder and use a whisk to fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.

A.6 Transfer the dough into the springform. Place the form in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

A.7 Remove from oven and cool upside down on a wire rack. Remove from form and peel off the baking paper.

A.8 Slice the cake twice to make 3 layers.

For the Filling and Frosting

  • 250 g of bottled sour cherries, drained (collect the juice)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 75 ml cherry juice
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 400 g whipping cream
  • 1 package whipping cream stabilizer (~8 g) (Sahnefestiger)
  • 6 Tbsp Kirschwasser (or cherry juice)
  • 20 g grated bittersweet chocolate (Schokoraspel)

B.1 Mix together cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cherry juice. Simmer the rest of the cherry juice with sugar.

B.2 Add cherries into the simmering cherry juice. Add the cornstarch mixture. Let it cook until the sauce has thickened.

B.3 Let it cool before assembling the cake.

B.4 Whip the cream, 1 Tbsp sugar, and cream stiffener until stiff peaks form.


C.1 From the thickened cherries, select 8 of the nicer looking ones for the toppings.

C.2 Spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on the bottom cake layer.

C.3 Put the rest of the cream in a piping bag.

C.4 Make three cream circles on the bottom layer. Fill the rest of the space with half of the thickened cherries.

C.5 Place the second cake layer on top and soak with half of the Kirschwasser / cherry juice.

C.6 Repeat step C.4.

C.7 Place the top cake layer and soak with the rest of the Kirschwasser / cherry juice.

C.8 Cover the entire cake with the rest of the whipped cream. Save some to make little peaks on top of the cake.

C.9 Distribute the 8 cherries evenly.

C.10 Sprinkle the grated chocolate, first in the middle then in the spaces between the whipped cream peaks.

C.11 Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Did I say it was the simplest recipe I could find? The more authentic version from the Dr. Oetker recipe book lists twice as many ingredients.

I don’t know what I do while preparing sponge cakes but I never seem to have the right amount of height. Instead of slicing the cake twice, I only managed to cut it once to make two layers. Here’s what it looked like with my toothpick guides before slicing.

The original recipe called only for 3 Tbsp of Kirschwasser but I doubled the amount here because 3 Tbsp was not enough to soak through the sponge cake.

While we were waiting for midnight to strike, David got all gourmet on us and decided to temper some white chocolate. Come cake eating time, each slice had a nice white chocolate rainbow on it.

Don’t know how to temper chocolate? Bryan Voltaggio posted a step-by-step guide about it on their website.

So yeah first recipe down, 4 more to go. Up next, Tofu Sisig.

2 thoughts on “Birthday Eve Black Forest Cake

  1. Haha thanks for the compliment 🙂 I think as scientists, we’re just really good at following instructions, multiple pages or not.

    Too bad you don’t live here. You could have been our photographer! That macro box post you wrote came at a good time. I’m slowly collecting materials for a photo corner in my tiny apartment.

  2. *drools* OMGGGGGG you are insanely talented! This looks so delicious! And thanks for the pics – you make it look easy, even though the long list of instructions clearly means it’s not 😉

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