One of my favorite desserts is Black Forest Cake! This chocolate & cherry cake is known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in its native Germany. Schwarzwälder, meaning “Black Forest”, describes the region of Germany where this dessert originated. The Black Forest was named by the Romans who referred to it as such because the forests were so dense that they blocked out most of the sunlight, making them very dark. The Black Forest region is in the southwestern corner of the country in the state of Baden-Württemberg. I’ve marked the forests on the map below with red stars. The Kirschtorte half of the name comes from the traditional inclusion of an alcoholic liquid called Kirsch, made from distilled cherries. A torte is a cake. When you put it all together, you get Black Forest cherry liquor cake, and in fact, in Germany, you can’t market the cake AS a Black Forest Cake withOUT the liquor. Our recipe contains no Kirsch and is completely non-alcoholic, but feel free to add it if you’d like. This Americanized version still contains the chocolate cake, cherries and whipped cream that makes it so delicious!
I know that a lot of people read my blog who can be very busy or sometimes have restrictive schedules; because of this we made our recipe with a boxed chocolate cake mix. If you have ample time and wish to make your cake batter from scratch, we recommend Martha Stewart’s basic chocolate cake recipe. More time-saving measures would be to skip the fresh cherry preparation and the homemade whipped cream frosting and to instead use canned red tart pie cherries (1 & 1/4 standard size cans should do) and/or pre-made whipped cream. However, for best results you should always use fresh ingredients and start from scratch!
- 1 boxed chocolate cake mix – prepared to bake or one recipe homemade chocolate cake ready to bake
- 2 Cups fresh cherries or 1 & 1/4 cans cherry pie cherries
- 1/4 Cup granulated sugar (if using fresh cherries)
- 2 pints heavy whipping cream or pre-made whipped cream
- 2/3 Cup confectioner’s sugar (if making your own whipped cream)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
You Will Also Need…
- non-stick baking spray or baking cups (paper or silicone will do)
- cupcake/muffin pan
- melon baller
- pastry bag with your choice of tip
- hand mixer (whisk beaters are a plus)
- glass mixing bowl
If you are using fresh cherries, pit and half fruits the night before you prepare the cupcakes. Sprinkle 1/4C granulated sugar over 2C of cut cherries and mix to disperse evenly. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight. This process is known as maceration and is intended to soften or break down the fresh fruit while drawing out the juices at the same time.
Prepare chocolate cake batter as instructed based on which type you chose to bake; box mix will have instructions and ingredients list on the packaging. Once the batter is ready to bake, either spray the cupcake pan with non-stick spray or line it with baking cups. I personally find the cups easier to clean up after as the spray can tend to bake onto the pan. Fill the cups evenly 3/4 of the way and bake at temperature and for the time suggested in respective instructions.
When finished baking, remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool. While cakes are cooling, place macerated cherries in a medium saucepan along with the extracted juices (and Kirsch if you are using it) and sauté until fruit is soft like pie filling. If you are not using fresh cherries, this would be the right time to open your cans of cherries. Right now you should place your mixer beaters and your glass bowl in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to get it nice and cold before you start your whipped cream frosting. If you are using store bought whipped cream then skip this and go on to the next step.
When cupcakes are cool enough to handle, remove part of the top center of each cake, leaving a cavity in which you will put the cherries. I have seen many people do this using a small cylindrical cookie cutter; however, we have found that the quickest and most efficient way to remove this part of the cupcake is to use a melon baller. We save & freeze or snack on the removed parts of the cake because it’s a shame to waste good chocolate!
After you have made space in each cake for the cherries, spoon the fruits into each opening until the top is level and ready to be frosted.
Remove the chilled beaters and the glass bowl from the freezer. Place heavy cream, vanilla and 1/3 of confectioner’s sugar into chilled bowl and whip with mixer set on high. Once combined, slowly add the rest of the sugar until soft peaks begin to form.