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Black Forest cherry cake

Black Forest cherries

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Chow On This! Black Forest Foodie Facts

Unfortunately, the Black Forest Ham that we see everywhere in delis has no relation to the real thing. Nor is the sickeningly sweet cake with maraschino cherries really Black Forest Cake. To have the real thing, you must go to the Black Forest itself. And did you know that the Black Forest has more Michelin-starred chefs than any other German region? Deep, dark and as delicious as its famous cherry cake, the Black Forest serves up some of Germany’s most beautiful scenery and fantastic food.

Black Forest Cake
From an interview with Claus Schafer, Confectioner at Café Schafer:
Baking a great Black Forest cake isn’t rocket science, but it involves time, practice and fresh ingredients. Josef Keller invented Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte in 1905 and my father passed his original recipe onto me. It’s important not to cut corners. I make the short pastry myself with a hint of marzipan. The chocolate sponge is better if it’s home-made too; the bottom layer needs to be twice as thick as the others to support the Morello cherries.

I lightly whip the cream until soft and silky- beat it too hard and it’ll turn out like cement. And here’s the secret: the Kirsch (cherry brandy) is added to the cream, not the sponge, so the aroma isn’t overly intense; After a couple of minutes when it’s firmed up, I can spoon on the cherries without fear of the whole thing collapsing. Finishing touches are also important: carefully smoothing the edges, adding dark chocolate shavings and a dusting of icing sugar.

Yes, I’ve seen some Black Forest cake disasters in my time. The worst culprits are those mass-produced gateaux frozen at -45 degrees C, which lose their entire Kirsch aroma. Black Forest cake needs to be eaten on the same day. I make mine fresh every morning, just two or three at a time. Once you’ve tried the real thing, there’s no going back.

(Lonely Planet Munich, Bavaria & The Black Forest, May 2008, p.184)