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Kitchen Experiment: Black Forest Cake

Every first day of the month, I strive to bake a cake for my daughter, to celebrate each new month of her life – until her first birthday, anyway. I used to buy cakes for my son during his first year. Now that I’ve learned how to bake, I realized it is much cheaper, tastier, and easier to bake our own cakes.

I’m sharing here the recipe for the Black Forest Cake we baked for my daughter’s 8th month celebration. The original recipe is from Sailu’s Kitchen, but I modified it a bit.

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee powder

1 cup Hot water

2 eggs, large

1/2 cup nuts [walnuts, pecans, etc.], chopped

For layering:

2 cups whipping cream [I used Nestle cream]

1 cup cream cheese

1 can/bottle cherries

1/2 cup chocolate, grated

Black Forest Cake Photo credit: Joy Adalia
Black Forest Cake
Photo credit: Joy Adalia

How to Bake the Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. The original instructions called for 3 baking pans, so you can bake the layers separately. However, I do not agree with this because of a number of reasons. Feel free to choose which one to follow, but I chose to bake the entire cake in one baking pan.

Line the baking pan/s with wax paper or grease the bottom. I actually preferred lining the pan with wax paper.

Dissolve the powdered coffee in the hot water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add sugar. Mix well. Note: You can choose to use an electric mixer/beater.

Make a well in the center. Add the egg, milk, vanilla, and oil. Mix well.

Add the hot coffee mixture. If you used an electric mixer/beater in mixing the batter, do not use one at this point. Instead, use a spoon to scoop the sides of the batter to mix it. Mix in the nuts.

Unlike most cake batters, this one will be too runny (because of the coffee mixture). Don’t worry. Pour the mixture into the cake pan/s.

Bake in the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool. Note: It would be best to bake the bake the previous day or several hours ahead so that it can be totally cool by the time you begin layering.

How to Prepare the Cream for Layering

It is best to keep the whipping cream frozen, especially if using Nestle cream, a day before preparing the cream for layering. Around 15 minutes before preparing the cream, place the mixing bowl and beaters inside the freezer, taking these out only right before using.

In a basin or large bowl, place some water and ice cubes. Put the mixing bowl over this. Place the whipping cream and cream cheese inside the mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer. Beat until soft peaks. If the mixture becomes soggy/runny, return to the freezer for another 15 to 30 minutes. Beat again.

Place the cream inside the fridge for a few minutes.

How to Layer the Black Forest Cake

Remove the domed top from the cake using a knife. If you want a perfectly shaped black forest cake, do not use the domed part – but if you don’t mind the cake being a little skewed, you are free to include this with your black forest cake (I did!).

In the same way you removed the domed top, use the knife to cut 1/3 of the chocolate cake carefully. Place on the cake board.

Open a tin/bottle of cherries. Drain the syrup. Set aside at least 10 whole cherries, preferably those with stems, and chop the rest.

You can add 3 tbsp powdered/confectioner’s sugar to 1 cup of cherry syrup (I skipped this part).

This is an example of the layers you want to achieve in your black forest cake. Photo credit: Joy Adalia
This is an example of the layers you want to achieve in your black forest cake.
Photo credit: Joy Adalia

Using a spoon, place cherry syrup on the cake layer you placed on the cake board.

Add a thick layer of the prepared cream mixture. Spread a liberal amount of chopped cherries to this layer.

Cut the remaining cake into 2 to 3 layers. Repeat the same procedure of layering.

For the topmost layer, spread more cream. Cover the sides of the cake using the cream mixture. Place the remaining cream mixture inside a piping back and place in the fridge until needed.

It is best to keep the cake inside the fridge for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, place a large star tip on the piping bag. Create stars on top of the cake. You can also add small stars at the base of the cake.

Note: To create chocolate rolls, place a chocolate bar inside the microwave. Place on the defrost/lowest setting and microwave for 1 minute. Using a peeler, gently but firmly peel a layer of the softened chocolate while allowing it to roll and make a small barrel.

Decorate the top with cherries and chocolates. You can also place chocolates on the sides of the cake for a more chocolate-y effect.

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