Black Forest cake


  • Serves 10 - 12 people

Chocolate and kirsch are the stars of this knockout classic German dessert gâteau, with a light, airy sponge the key to success. Catherine Adams shows us how it's done.

  • 250 gm chocolate shavings (see note)
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • Chocolate sponge
  • 125 gm egg yolk (about 7)
  • 290 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
  • 325 gm eggwhite (about 8)
  • 115 gm Dutch-process cocoa
  • 30 gm cornflour
  • 300 gm jarred morello or Griottines cherries, drained, halved
  • Kirsch mousse
  • 670 ml pouring cream
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
  • 12 gm titanium-strength gelatine leaves (about 5½), softened in cold water for 5 minutes
  • 165 gm eggwhite (about 4)
  • 245 gm caster sugar
  • 60 ml kirsch
01   For the chocolate sponge, preheat oven to 195C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper that has been buttered and dusted with caster sugar. Whisk yolks and 185gm icing sugar in an electric mixer until mixture holds a ribbon. Whisk eggwhite with remaining icing sugar in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.
02   Fold a third of the eggwhite mixture into the yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder. Sift in cocoa and cornflour, and fold to combine.
03   Divide mixture evenly between 2 trays and spread into 2cm-thick rounds (about 27cm diameter) with a palette knife. Top with cherries, leaving a roughly 5cm border, then bake until cakes spring back when pressed (20 minutes; swap trays halfway). Set aside on trays to cool.
04   Cut a 23cm-diameter round from each cake. Reserve cake scraps. Set aside.
05   For the kirsch mousse, bring 125ml cream and vanilla just to the simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to cream, stir to dissolve and set aside.
06   Whisk eggwhite and caster sugar in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until mixture reaches 70C on a sugar thermometer. Transfer to an electric mixer and whisk until cooled to about 30C and stiff peaks form. Meanwhile, whisk remaining cream to just below soft peaks.
07   Fold a third of the meringue into the gelatine mixture, then fold in remainder. Fold into the whipped cream, add kirsch and fold to combine.
08   Place a 6cm-deep, 24cm-diameter cake ring on an oven tray lined with an acetate sheet (see note) and place one cake round in the ring. Spoon a third of the mousse over and level with a palette knife, pushing a little over the edge.
09   Sprinkle mousse with a thin, even layer of chocolate shavings, leaving a 1cm border.
10   Spoon half the remaining mousse over and smooth with a palette knife. Top with the second cake round. Spoon remaining mousse over, level with a palette knife so the mousse is flush with the top of the ring and spread some over the edge of the cake (you may have a little mousse left over). Refrigerate until set (4 hours or overnight).
11   Meanwhile, reduce oven to 170C, crumble reserved cake scraps onto an oven tray and bake until just dry but not crisp (10-15 minutes). Process in a food processor until fine crumbs form and set aside. Run a hot knife around the inside of the ring to loosen cake, remove ring and pat cake crumbs around the side of the cake to coat.
12   Whisk cream in an electric mixer to just under soft peaks and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle. Pipe rosettes around the cake edge, top with remaining chocolate shavings and serve.

Note To make chocolate shavings, melt 250gm finely chopped dark chocolate (53% cocoa solids) in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, thinly spread with a palette knife on a marble slab or inverted heavy tray and set aside until firm and set (1 hour). Scrape chocolate away from you with a large chef's knife to form shavings and set aside. If your cake ring is shallower than 6cm, you can line the sides of the ring with acetate sheet up to 7cm deep. If you don't own a cake ring, use a springform tin. Acetate sheets, available from art supply shops, make it easier to remove the cake once it's set. 










Aug 2013

Aug 2013

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