Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Black Forest Gateau is famous throughout the world. The version we recognise today originated in Germany. Josef Keller claims to have invented it in 1915 in Bad Godesberg which is now part of Bonn and nowhere near the Black Forest! So if his claim is true, the reason for its name remains a mystery.
Black Forest Gateau
What you need:
- 350g (12oz) caster sugar
- 350g (12oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 eggs
- 235g (8½ oz) self-raising flour
- 85g (3½ oz) cocoa
- 110ml (4fl oz) kirsch
- 175g (6oz) icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 570ml (1 pint) double cream
- 200g (7oz) bar dark chocolate, good quality
- 1 can cherries, drained
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon kirsch
- Dark chocolate, grated for decorating
Preheat the oven to 170ºC, gas mark 3. Grease and line an 8” loose-bottomed cake tin.
Sieve the flour and cocoa together. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then fold in the flour and cocoa.
Pour the mixture into the tin and cook for about 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack. Slice the cake in half and sprinkle each half with 2 oz kirsch. Set aside to soak in.
Heat 200 ml of the cream to nearly boiling point. Add the chocolate, broken into small pieces, and stir until melted. Leave to cool in the fridge.
Beat the remaining cream with the vanilla and 1 tablespoon kirsch until thick. Stir in the icing sugar and a pinch of salt. Grate some chocolate and spread it out on a sheet of greaseproof paper.
To assemble the cake, spread one half with the Chocolate Cream. Cover with just over half the cherries. Place the other half on top. Cover the side of the cake with whipped cream. Carefully roll it in grated chocolate. Spread the rest of the cream on top and pile on the remaining cherries. Sprinkle with more grated chocolate.
We were given the next recipe by Lee, a chef living in Australia. Red Velvet Cake is particularly popular in the Southern United States. It’s suggested that it was originally given its name because the vinegar reacted with the buttermilk turning the cocoa a more reddish-brown colour. As cocoa became more refined, the red effect was less obvious and food colouring was used to enhance it. Lee says, ‘It seems like a lot of colouring but it is needed. It’s different but it is a nice cake that I made several times in the restaurant.’
Lee’s Red Velvet Cake
What you need:
- 275g (10oz 2½ cups) sifted flour
- 225g (8oz 1½ cups) sugar
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 300ml (12fl oz 1½ cups) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cocoa
- 225ml (8fl oz 1 cup) buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 bottle red food colouring
Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4. Grease and line 3 layer pans.
Sift flour, salt, sugar, cocoa and soda. Add buttermilk, oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, eggs and food colouring in that order; mix thoroughly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile prepare the frosting.
Frosting What you need:
- 1 block margarine/butter
- 225g (8 oz) cream cheese
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 110g (4oz 1 cup) chopped pecans
- 1 box icing sugar
Soften margarine and cream cheese at room temperature; cream well. Add sugar; continue beating until creamy. Add vanilla and pecans. Spread between layers and on top of cake.