Black Forest Cake
A while back, Sarah and I were talking about cake--a pretty common conversation for us. She mentioned how one cake she'd never had gluten-free was Black Forest cake. In a way, this was a challenge to me.
The last time I ate Black Forest cake, I was sixteen and thought it was disgusting. Some sort of alcohol overwhelmed my taste buds. I only ate it because I was in the Black Forest and felt obligated.
Ten years later, I'd give almost anything to go to Germany and eat a scrumptiously alcoholic piece of Black Forest cake. Since I can't do that, I give you my gluten-free version.
Gluten-Free Black Forest Cake
2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend (Because the recipe is adapted from
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
12 cup hot water
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp flaxseed combined with 6 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350º.
Grease two 8-inch round pans and set aside.
Combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients.
Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, adding your flaxseed egg.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 25–30 minutes.
Allow cakes to cool for about 5 minutes, then remove and let fully cool on a wire rack.
While the cakes are cooling, make your cherry filling, Kirsch simple syrup, whipped cream, chocolate shavings.
4 cups dark sweet cherries, pitted (either frozen or canned work fine)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Kirsch or maraschino liqueur
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Combine the cherries, sugar, and Kirsch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Combine tapioca starch with the water and lemon juice.
Pour into the simmer cherries, mixing until fully incorporated.
Bring cherry filling to a boil and continue to boil for a minute, stirring constantly, allowing the starch to thicken (this may take longer than a minute--patience is key).
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow it cool completely before using.
Kirsch Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup Kirsch or maraschino liqueur
1/2 cup water
Combine the sugar, Kirsch, and water in a small sauce pain.
Bring to a boil and boil for a minute, or until the sugar completely dissolves.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine heavy cream and powdered sugar.
Whip until firm.
Be careful not to over-whip--this is how you get butter!
Refrigerate until ready to use.
large block of chocolate
Soften your big block of chocolate in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
You want it to be soft enough to make curls.
Scrape the chocolate with a potato peeler or a round cookie cutter.
When your cakes are completely cooled and you've made all the extra stuff, it's time to assemble your cake. First, slice your cakes in half. Black Forest cakes are four layers. Decide which layer looks stable enough to support your whole cake. Then, spread some Kirsch simple syrup on the bottom layer. Spread a good amount of cherries on top of the layer. Make sure you don't go all the way to the edge but close enough that you taste the cherries with every bite. Dollop some whipped cream on top of the cherries and spread it around. Top with the next layer of cake.
Carefully choose the order of your cake layers so that you can avoid this:
The second cake layer had a tiny crack. I thought it would be okay, but the entire thing began to drift apart like Pangea. The whipped cream filled the crack, forcing the cake to separate. In a panic, I almost lost the entire cake. Sliding a knife under the two layers that were holding together, I lifted the top off the sagging mess and saved it!
Cover your entire cake with whipped cream. Using a star tip, pipe some rosettes on the top. Dry off some maraschino cherries and place them on top of the rosettes.
My four layer cake became a two layer cake, but Sarah said it tasted divine. The booze to cake ratio was just right. This is a recipe to hold on to.