Cakes · Desserts

A Black Forest Torte for Father’s Day

A few days ago, my father and I were texting a few simple messages back and forth to each other. Nothing exciting, nothing interesting, nothing special. Yet, when I changed the subject and asked my dad what kind of dessert he wanted for Father’s Day, his responses completely changed.


Dad: Call the nurse at the doctor’s office. 
Me: Got it. What kind of dessert do you want for Dad’s day?
Dad: Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting! 😀
Dad: Ooo, wait, can you make a black forest torte?
Me: Yes 🙂
Dad: Torte!?!!
Me: Yes, torte. 
Dad: Weeee!! TORTE 😀


My dad does not say “weee”. Ever. He went from a full grown man to a kid in .2 seconds. Black Forest tortes are a dessert from southern Germany, and it’s no surprise that my dad asked me to make one. My family loves German food. We have a lovely local German restaurant in Ann Arbor called Metzger’s that serves real, authentic German food. My family goes to Metzger’s whenever we have an excuse. Birthdays, hallmark holidays, just for the helluvit, we’re at Metzger’s. My family and I went there for dinner tonight at my father’s request. Their Black Forest Torte is very, very good, and I wasn’t sure how mine would measure up to it…

I looked through all of my cookbooks and realized that not one of them had a Black Forest torte recipe. So, I was left to scour the internet and dig one up. I found this great recipe through a Google search, on another blogging website.


It begins with flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder sifted together in a bowl. Then the recipe says to sift it another two times. There’s one thing about this recipe that will be frustrating to some people; some of the measurements are in grams instead of cups, so I had to use my food scale to measure out the flour. The recipe also calls for corn flour, which I did not have. I added more all-purpose flour in place of using corn flour.

Then in my mixer, I mixed eggs and powdered sugar for 10 minutes…

…until it was thick and fluffy. I poured in a splash of vanilla and gently stirred it in with a spatula. The recipe said to mix it until a thick ribbon falls from a spoon for at least 5 seconds…

Then I poured the egg mixture over the dry ingredients…

and folded it in gently. If I had just stirred the batter around aimlessly, a lot of air would have escaped from the batter and it would make the cakes flatter.

I really don’t know why some pictures end up long like this,
I  don’t have the option to turn them sideways.

I poured the batter into two prepared 9-inch round pans…

…and baked them in the 374 (or, as close as I could get) degree oven – I know, strange temperature. The recipe is also written in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, so I had to figure out what the temperature would be in Fahrenheit – for 10 minutes. After those ten minutes, I turned down the temperature to 350 degrees and continued to bake them for another 20 minutes.

I let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, and then I inverted them onto a cooling rack.

At this point, I saw something very disappointing, my cakes had barely risen! To assemble the cake, I was supposed to cut each of the cake layers in half, so that there would be a total of four layers in the cake. But, I couldn’t do that if I couldn’t cut the cake in half! My theory as to why my cakes didn’t rise was that I didn’t mix the eggs enough, maybe they could have been stiffer? I took extra care to make sure that I didn’t stir the batter too much so that air would escape, so I don’t think that was it. I’m also wondering how much of a difference corn flour actually makes…

While the cakes were resting, I started on the cherry sauce. I put the cherry syrup from a bottle of maraschino cherries in a saucepan with some flour and some kirsch liquor. 

I let that simmer while I started on the whipped cream. I used the same method the last time I made whipped cream, except I did not add extra milk or vanilla. The recipe specifically called for 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Like I said in the post, you can make the flavor of whipped cream vary from very sweet to very creamy. When whipped cream is being used as frosting for a cake, it tastes best with just a hint of sweetness. 


When the cherry syrup mixture was boiling, I turned off the heat and let it cool a bit.

Cakes? Check. Whipped cream? Check. Cherry syrup? Check. I had everything ready to assemble the Black Forest torte. I started by turning one of the cakes onto a plate and spreading some of the cherry syrup on the top of it.

Then I chopped up some cherries and mixed them with some of the whipped cream. I spread the mixture in the center of the cake, and then spread some more whipped cream around the sides.

Then I placed the second layer of the cake upside-down on top and spread more cherry syrup over top…

…and poured the rest of the whipped cream onto the cake and spread it all over.

I garnished the top with bittersweet chocolate shavings and maraschino cherries. 

After my family enjoyed our German dinner, my father couldn’t wait to get home so we could eat the torte. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it when I showed it to him before dinner. I kept the torte in my mother’s refrigerator during dinner so that the whipped cream would hold. When it was time to cut the cake, my dad actually took the knife out of my hand. He didn’t cut himself a slice, he just used the knife to outline the piece that he did want so that I could serve it to him. It is Father’s Day, after all. 



This cake was delicious! The whipped cream wasn’t too sweet, the cakes weren’t dry, and I was a happy baker. I had been a bit self-conscious about the presentation of the cake. Metzger’s Black Forest torte is decorated very well, with spirals of whipped cream and perfectly placed cherries, and the website that I got this recipe off of was very impressive as well. I know that I’m not trained in cake decorating yet, but I appreciate what I’m learning on my own. I just can’t wait until the day when I will be the master of all things cake……


Recipe for Black Forest Torte: Thanks to PassionateAboutBaking.com

Sponge
Eggs – 6 (300gms)
Powdered Sugar – 150 gms
Flour – 125gms ( flour= half the weight of the eggs 150 gms – 3tbsp (for cocoa) i.e. 125gms )

Cocoa – 3tbsp
Cornflour – 2 tbsp (makes the cake texture lighter) *I used all-purpose flour
Baking powder – 1tsp
Salt – 1 pinch
Vanilla Essence/Extract – 1 tsp

Filling/Topping:
Cream – 500ml (whipping/35% fat)
Icing Sugar – 4-5 Tbsp
Canned cherries – 1 tin/approx 1 cup of chopped bits; reserve a few halves for the top; reserve the syrup too.
Juice of 1 lime *I didn’t use any lime
Cornflour – 1 tsp  *I used 1 tsp all-purpose flour

* I also added 2-3 tablespoons of Kirsch liquor

 

Method:
  • For the sponge:
  • Preheat oven to 190 deg C (374 F), reduce to 180 deg C (350 F) after 10 mins of putting the cake in.
  • Line, grease & flour a 9″ tin; A spring form cake tin is always better.
  • Sift the flour +cocoa + baking powder + salt + cornflour 3 times.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar well with beater till very thick ribbon falls and holds in place for at least 5 seconds (beat for approx 10 mins)
  • Add vanilla essence and beat for 1 min.
  • Gently fold in the sifted flour; mix lightly so that air doesn’t escape.
  • Turn gently into tin and bake for 30-35 mins till done.
  • Once done, remove from tin after 5 mins and leave on rack to cool completely. Cut horizontally into 3-4 layers.
  • Filling:
  • Mix a tsp of cornflour in the cherry syrup. Bring about 1/2 cup of the syrup (and 2-3 tablespoons of Kirsch liquor) to a boil, add the cornflour mix, & boil till thick. take off heat, add lime juice, and leave to cool.
  • Whip the cream with 4tbs powdered sugar until thick and holds peaks. Reserve 1/2 for icing the top.
  • Take the remaining cream & mix in the chopped cherries.
  • Place the bottom most layer of the sponge on your serving platter, spread 1/3 of the cherry syrup, spread 1/3 of the whipped cream and bits over it. Make sure you remember to sprinkle the layer with the syrup only after placing it in position on the serving platter.
  • Repeat with remaining layers.




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