It's Christmas Eve and I am extremely homesick for a home that is not mine. Let me explain - for the past several years I've spent Christmas with my best friends family. Their traditions have become mine and I feel like this this holiday season isn't complete without listening to the Disney Christmas album, making sugar cookies (dreidel shaped ones for me of course), and opening presents under a tree decked out with pink flamingo ornaments.
This year, I'm baking solo for the holidays and even though I'm not in the same company, I do have an opportunity to share my treats the same way I was always sent home with a giant tin full of cookies. What are you making this year for the holidays?
I had never made a Black Forest Cake before and to be perfectly honest, I wasn't totally sure what it even was. After some brief research on the Google, I understood it as a chocolate cake, stuffed with maraschino cherries soaked it cherry brandy, generously covered in fluffy whipped cream, and decorated with chocolate shavings. Black Forest Cake is stunningly decorated and I couldn't wait to try one for myself. It was so much fun arranging sweet cherries atop a whipped cream stars and using a vegetable peeler to make chocolate shavings (great trick!) This recipe either makes a 6" cake + some mini cupcakes, or a 9" cake
For the Cake (two 9" or two 6"+ cupcakes)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 teaspoons unsalted butter, room temp
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temp
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup milk
For the whipped cream
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cherries
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- 1 tablespoon Kirsch [optional]
Dark Chocolate Shavings
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray cake pans with cooking spray
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and smooth
- Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat at medium speed to combine
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition
- Combine the water and milk in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Alternate between adding the flour mixture and hot liquid in the batter starting with the flour (batter will be watery)
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Lightly drop each pan onto the counter to settle the batter.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- While cake is warm, level the tops with a serrated knife or cake leveler
- Cool completely before beginning to decorate or else whipped cream will melt off the cake
Make the whipped cream while cake is baking
- With an electric mixer, combine cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the pie filling, separate cherries and cherry syrup
- If using Kirsch, mix with separated cherries
- Discard cherry syrup
Decorate the Cake
- Place one layer of cake on the plate, top with a layer of cherries. A tip: keep cherries 1/2" away from the edge of the cake, when you place the second layer on top, the cherries with distribute outward and you don't want them to overflow out of the sides.
- Spread a generous layer of whipped cream over top the cherries so that they are completely covered
- Place the second layer, rough-side down, on top of the filling
- Cover the entire cake evenly with whipped cream
- Attach chocolate shavings to the cake but lifting them with an offset spatula and gently touching them to bottom edge of the cake
- Cover the top of the cake with more chocolate shavings leaving 1/2" inch from the edge with whipped cream exposed.
- Place remaining whipped cream in a piping bag with a star tip (I used 1M) and pipe stars in a circle atop the cake
- Arrange cherries on top of every other whipped cream star
Refrigerate if not enjoying immediately
- For mini cupcakes: pipe a whipped cream star, sprinkle with chocolate shavings, and top with a cherry!
photos: Zac Wolf Photography