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Black Forest Cake

For the cake:

  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Schwarzwaelder Kirschwasser, any brand.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup confedtioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 jars pitted cherries, drained, reserve liquid
  • 2 pints heavy whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (if you can get clear vanilla, all the better)
  • 1 tablespoon kirschwasser

Shaved eating chocolate for decoration, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Grease two 8 inch round cake pans. I use heart-shaped pans.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture, alternating with milk, beat until combined.

Pour into pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.

Cut each layer in half, horizontally, making 4 layers total.  I find that freezing the cakes and using a long, sharp bread knife makes them much easier to cut.

Sprinkle each layer (including the top layer) with some of the reserved cherry liquid and 1/2 cup  Not 1/2 cup per layer or you’ll have a drunken, alcoholic cake.  That might not be a bad thing, especially if your parents are coming for dinner.  Don’t make them soggy wet though.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks.. Add confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon Kirschwasser and beat again. Spread first layer of the cake with a relatively thin layer of the filling, keeping in mind that whipped cream melts and top with some of the cherries but don’t go all the way to the edges.  Leave 1/2 inch space.  If you choose to do just 2 layers instead of 4, use 1/2 of the filling and cherries between the layers and the rest on top.  Repeat with the remaining layers.

Spread a thick layer of the whipped cream filling only on the sides of the cake.  Add remaining cherries to the top of the cake in the middle.  Kind of pile them up, then pipe dollops of cream around the edges.  I usually have a bar of Godiva dark chocolate (not baking chocolate) around so I use a microplane grater and shave some of it to sprinkle over the cream on the top and sides.  My mother used to use a potato peeler to make chocolate curls and put them on top of the cherries.

Experiment with the amount of cherries per layer and for the top.  If you like more, buy an extra jar of cherries.