Sunday, September 18, 2011

Black Forest Cake

Happy fall to everyone! Had a small hiatus on posting, but have some fun recipes to share with you all :)
Last weekend, the husband of my very good friend from dental school turned the big 3-0 (I know, old right? haha). Since we were going to visit them for his birthday, I offered to make his birthday cake. I asked if he had any requests on cake flavor/idea, and my friend (his wife) said that the combination of cherry and chocolate is one of his favorite flavors. 
So I went on my search for a good black forest cake. I have made a cherry cordial cupcake before, which is a similar combination of the requested cherry and chocolate flavor, but it did not use actual cherries, so I wanted something different. I have seen many promising black forest cupcake recipes, but when I came across this great recipe at the Brown Eyed Baker, I knew my search was over. Her recipe seemed simple enough to make at my friend's kitchen, but still with all the requested flavors.

The cake from the Brown Eyed Baker makes a 9-inch double layer cake. Since this was going to be for a bigger group of people, I chose to double this recipe and make 2 layers of a 9x13in cake pan. After the cake was filled and covered, it made for a pretty big cake, but the birthday "boy" was very pleased :)
I don't have a picture of what the cake looks like on the inside, but I tell you it was yummy!
Black Forest Cake
Makes double layered 9x13in cake

For the cake:
4 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups boiling water

For the cherries:
2 cans (40 ounces total) cherries, drained (I used dark cherries)
1/2 cup cherry-flavored brandy

For the whipped cream:
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9x13in rectangular baking pans.
2. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin). Divide batter between the two prepared pans.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a thin knife or toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
4. Reserve 12 cherries (or so) for decorating. Combine the remaining cherries and the cherry flavored brandy; set aside.
5. To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until soft to almost-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use.
5. Once the cakes are cool, level the tops and place one layer on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries and place on the cake layer. Top with about 1 cup whipped cream, spreading over cherries (that’s an estimation, as I didn’t measure, just covered the cherries and spread into an even layer). Place the second layer on top. Here is an optional step: poke holes on the top of the top layer to spread some of the cherry-flavored brandy and let it soak through the cake (this made for a more moist and cherry-flavored chocolate cake). Frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate as desired: I used some of the cherries that I had set aside on top of the cake, and then lined the sides of the cake with chocolate shavings.

* Note: To make the chocolate shavings, I used a cheese grater (the bigger side of the grater) to "grate" a block of chocolate. To attach them to the cake, I lifted them with an offset spatula and gently touched them to the sides of the cake.
Happy birthday Mike!

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Original chocolate cake recipe adapted from Hershey’s