Tipsy Fudgy Black Forest Cake

On a visit to the Black Forest in Germany, we decided to take the Hochstrasse (the High Road) through Schwarzwald (Black Forest). Being ever on the lookout for delicious German treats, we learned that Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) is the absolute winner when looking for one of the booziest cakes you’ll ever try. We stopped at Mummelsee Lake where a little bakeshop kept our Oktoberfest surprise on hand. We were warned in advance not to eat cake and then drive, so we had it carefully wrapped and headed for our destination before opening up our tipsy slice of heaven to try. What an incredible taste sensation. Creamy, chocolaty, cherry-y and… We quickly understood why there was a “no cake then drive” warning. A few bites in and we knew that a lit match would have ignited our hair on fire. This was one boozy cake!

Knowing that Oktoberfest is more than pretzels and beer, we wanted to provide you with a delicious recipe to finish your Oktoberfest celebration on a sweet note. We’ve adjusted the recipe slightly so you don’t get a hangover from your dessert and added some fudgey density to the cake so that it will hold up well to the alcohol in the cherries and the cream. Feel free to adjust the amount of Kirsch (the famous cherry liqueur of the region) or remove it all together according to your own taste. After you’ve oompahpahed your way through the brats and schnitzel, this tipsy fudgey wonder will readily satisfy your sweet tooth.

Tipsy Fudgy Black Forest Cake

To prepare the cakes:

1. Beat 1 egg. Add 4 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup sugar and ¾ cup milk and beaten egg to saucepan. Place saucepan over low heat and stir while melting until mixture thickens and ingredients are smoothly blended. Cool to room temperature.

2. Blend ¼ cup softened butter and ½ cup softened shortening (e.g. Crisco). Gradually add 1 ½ cups sugar and cream together thoroughly. Add 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Add 4 eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Sift together 3 cups Swans Down or other cake flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt.

3. Add 1 cup milk to dry ingredients (in 2.) in portions, beating between each addition until smooth.

4. Blend in chocolate mixture (in 1.) until thoroughly blended. Pour into 3 round 9-inch cake pans, lined on bottom with parchment paper. Bake in oven at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, until done, then cool completely on wire racks.

To prepare the cherries:

1 can (20 oz.) of cherries or equivalent fresh or frozen cherries, as available (drained). Reserve 14-16 cherries for decorating the top of the cake and set them aside. Combine approx. 1/4 cup Kirsch liqueur and 1/3 cup cherry preserves with the rest of the cherries. You want the mixture to resemble the thick filling for a cherry pie. Adjust the amount of liqueur and preserves accordingly.

To prepare the whipped cream:

1. To 3 cups very cold heavy cream, very cold, add 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons Kirsch liqueur. Whip until almost stiff peaks form. Place in refrigerator until ready for use.

To assemble and decorate:

1. Take one of the cooled cakes and place as layer on your cake plate or platter. Make sure the cake is even or gently shave to make it flat. Top with the cherry/preserves/Kirsh mixture and spread evenly to cover the entire top of the cake layer. Then add the second cake layer on top of the cherry filling. Again, make sure the cake is even or gently shave to make it flat. Remove whipped cream from refrigerator and with spatula, spread a thick, even layer over the second cake layer. Take the final layer of cake and place on top, again being sure that it is flat and even. Frost the outside edges and top of the cake with the whipped cream. Reserve some of the whipped cream to pipe onto the top and place the reserved cherries into a nest of cream at intervals for piece-cutting guidelines.

2. To finish decorating, take your favorite chocolate bar and use grater or knife to make chocolate shavings. Sprinkle shavings all over tops and sides of the cake. If necessary, use spatula to press them gently onto the whipped cream frosting.

Keep cake refrigerated until you're ready to eat it. When you do, imagine yourself on a crystal clear day, puffy clouds in the sky, sitting at a picnic table high atop the Black Forest of Germany, taking a rest from your drive and enjoying the cake and the view.

If we've succeeded in getting you into an Oktoberfest mood, check out more about it from our complete details on how to have Oktoberfest at home and delicious comparisons of Best of the Wurst to a little historical answer to the question Why Isn't Oktoberfest in October?