Cakes · Desserts

Dusting off the cobwebs for a Black Forest Torte 2015

*Dusting off the cobwebs with an old fashioned feather duster*

Hoo! It’s been a while, three whole years. And I’ve done so many amazing and interesting things! At the time of my last post, winter-ish of 2012, I had just gotten a job at The Ravens Club as a Food Runner/Expo. That winter, I got to work in their kitchen as a pastry/prep cook, and then in the summer I became the Garde Manger (cook or chef that manages the cold food line, where dishes like salads, meat and cheese boards, and desserts are prepared).

While I was there, the Ravens Club was featured in the Detroit Hour magazine, and I got to have my picture taken for the magazine! Click the link to see the article. I had to brag, I’m sorry. I’m not looking too spiffy in the pic, but I’m still going to brag about it. In all honesty, the face that I’m making in that photo coined my nickname in the kitchen, Bitchface. It’s funny, I promise. Call it a term of endearment. Working at the Ravens Club was an incredible experience, and I’m grateful for everything that I learned there.

That following fall, I decided to leave the Ravens Club because I couldn’t work the crazy hours of the food service industry and manage to finish my senior year of college at the same time. I admire the kids my age who do. I got a job as the baker of an Ypsilanti coffee shop, B-24’s, and then that spring, I graduated college! April 2014, I received a Bachelors of Science in Creative Writing, with a minor in Psychology. Why it was a Bachelors of Science, I don’t know….

I decided to give the service industry a break this winter, and completely changed my career path. I found that I wanted something more stable, with normal hours, more than $20,000 a year, health benefits, and a 401k. I still don’t have any of those things besides the normal office hours, but I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’m currently a temp, but I’m assigned with a really great company, and I would love to get a job there. Either way, I’m gaining great experience and making lots of wonderful connections with my coworkers. And part of the reason that I’m so inspired to have my shit together with a grown up job and apartment, and cat (I adopted a cat last year, Bells, she’s an adorable little bastard with a Hitler stache) is because of this guy: Bronson. He’s my incredible partner, one of the best people I know. I’ll gush later. We’re currently living in Southgate, MI, and having a ball.

This is what I actually look like, by the way. It’s nice to see you too…
Alright, rant over, time for the point. A black forest torte! I already have a post on my blog for a black forest torte, yes. If you’ll remember, I baked that cake for my father, and my father gets excited for black forest tortes. He has asked for a black forest torte for his birthday for the last three years, and every year I’ve tried to make it better. This year, I did pretty damn well.
Look at those bright cherries!

I have decided to change something about my posts though; taking pictures of every step a bit tedious on my part. From now on, for the most part, I’m going to post the pictures that I feel are really necessary when things might get confusing, when you’re having that moment where you think, ‘Shit, is it supposed to be doing that?’, and of course, the beautiful finished product.

For this year’s black forest torte, I decided to try a specially dark chocolate cake. I wanted a deep, rich, moist cake that would be highlighted by the sweet cherries and cream in this traditional German torte.
I started the cake by combining all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then, I added the wet ingredients; the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. I lacked the forethought of prepping this batter in my mixer, and was making this batter by hand. This may really have just been from my fear of being crushed by my standing mixer, it currently resides on the top shelf of the pantry which is much taller than I am. I have to be very careful when I attempt to pull my mixer down, gravity is not with me in this situation. I’m terrified of it bonking me on the head someday. The next directions for this dark chocolate cake are to beat the wet and dry ingredients together for a solid two minutes. I decided that I was up for the arm work out. It was much easier than I thought to manage two minutes of stirring batter furiously.

I had set 1 cup of water on the stove a little while earlier, so I had the boiling water ready to add to my batter. I switched to a whisk here so that I wouldn’t be splashing boiling hot water around myself and I could stir the batter easily. The batter was fairly thin at this point, but the directions told me that was okay.

As my last step, I decided to add my cherries. This wasn’t part of the original cake recipe, so I had to improvise this a little bit. The problem with wanting to bake a black forest torte with fresh cherries in Michigan’s early spring is that there are no fresh cherries. So, that favored option was out. I thought that maybe I could be slick, and re-hydrate dried cherries with liqueur or something. But then I could find no dried cherries. However, there were plenty of cans of cherry pie filling. My problem was that everyone I know hates that overly sugary, corn-syrupy sauce that the cherries are canned in. I decided that I would drain the cherries! Unheard of and unorthodox, I know. But, it worked! I was left with some very sweet, very red cherries. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing in a deep, dark, decadent cake.

I had sprayed two round cake pans down with Pam, my ultimate nonstick best buddy, and poured the batter between them. I baked in the 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. I let the cakes cool in their pans for about ten minutes, and then flipped them onto a wire rack. They honestly looked black from the dark cocoa, I was amazed. When the cakes were fully cooled, I flipped them onto plates and trimmed off tops.
While the cakes were cooling, I whipped cream for the topping. I have perfected my recipe since my last post about whipped cream. It’s superbly simple and you won’t believe it. I disown my previous post about adding vanilla or extra milk to whipped cream, I was wrong! Here it is:
-Whipping cream
-3-5 tablespoons of powdered sugar
Whisk cream until stiff peaks form, add powdered sugar gradually.

Bam! That’s it, the best whipped cream recipe that you’ll ever get; two ingredients, two steps. I plopped a large cloud of whipped cream on top of the first cake layer. Then, I gently set the second layer of cake on top. I was afraid of dropping it too hard on top of the whipped cream, in case it caused the whip cream in the center to fly out the sides and lose its height. I decided that I liked the cake’s simple look with the stark layers of white cream and black cake. So, I just garnished the top of the cake with a layer of dark chocolate shavings. I made sure to keep the cake in the refrigerator so that the whipped cream wouldn’t fall. If you’re ever overly concerned about your whipped cream falling, add a few tablespoons of corn starch to it. Be careful though, too much corn starch gives the whipped cream a chalky texture.

My father loved the cake! My family had taken him to Metzger’s German restaurant for his birthday dinner, and we had all stuffed ourselves silly. But that didn’t stop anyone from holding off on birthday cake. The cake was literally gone by the end of the night! I had barely finished my first piece when everyone was going back for another. And then it was all gone. So sad, but I was quite proud of myself. This cake was everything that I had wanted in this torte; the sweet cherries, the dark, rich cake, and the mellow soft cream. I’d been bragging about this cake at work, and a coworker of mine asked me to bake him one for his birthday on Thursday. I’m so excited to make this cake again. I hope that you enjoy it just as much!

Update: Here is the cake that I made for my coworkers! It turned out that there were actually three birthdays in my office this week, so instead of writing Happy Birthday with each of their names on top of the cake, I cut out letters from construction paper and laid them over the top of the cake. Then, I shaved chocolate over the whole cake and pulled up the letters. But, it didn’t spell their names…

What does that spell, boy and girls?

I decided to spell a generally positive, peppy, partying statement, YAY! Who wouldn’t be happy with a cake that said, ‘Yay!’? My coworkers were so surprised to see it, and then to hear that I had made it myself. The black forest torte got rave reviews, and my coworkers all had a very happy birthday cake.

For the cake:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 can Cherry Pie Filling
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans .
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Drain cherries and rinse with water to remove the syrup. Mix into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Prepare whipped cream and spread between cake layers. Garnish with shaved chocolate and cherries.

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