Thursday, December 29, 2011

Black Forest Cherry Torte

Black Forest Cherry Torte
Source: Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2006 ed.), pg. 54.

Making this cake was quite a production but I did it in stages, over several days. I've made Black Forest Cake before but used a different recipe. This one was very good although at first I thought the nutty texture of the cake was odd. I believe the cake gets better after a few days. This is a BIG cake, takes up a lot of room in the refrigerator and will feed a lot of happy people. I took this to my mother's house on Christmas day.

I made the filling and the Kirsch syrup first and stored it in the refrigerator. I made the cake the second day and froze it. The whipped cream frosting was made last, on the morning of the day it was served, and the cake was assembled. I thought that the whipped cream recipe made way too much frosting. In fact, I think it could have been halved and there would have been plenty of frosting and filling for the cake. I didn't do the best frosting job but I was in a hurry!

(Note: The wording in the recipe has been slightly edited in parts but the content is the same).

The Cake:

1/2 cup almonds, blanched or unblanched
1/2 cup sifted, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
9 large eggs
1 TB. water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt

Adjust rack 1/3 from the bottom of the oven and preheat to 350. Butter a 10x3 inch round cake pan or spring form pan and dust the sides with dry bread crumbs (these are in addition to those called for in the ingredients).

Finely ground the nuts in a food processor or nut grinder and set aside.

Sift together the cocoa and flour and set aside.

Separate 8 of the eggs and place the yolks, the remaining whole egg and the tablespoon of water in a mixer bowl. Beat at high speed for 4 or 5 minutes until the mixture is pale lemon colored. Reduce the speed and gradually add 3/4 cup of the sugar (reserving 1/4 cup). Increase the speed to high and beat for a few minutes until the mixture forms a wide ribbon when the beaters are raised.

On lowest speed add the ground almonds and the bread crumbs, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until incorporated. Fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula then briefly beat at lowest speed until everything is incorporated. Remove from the mixer.

Place the 8 egg whites and the salt in the large bowl of the electric mixer. With clean beaters beat at high speed, until the whites barely hold a soft shape. Reduce the speed to moderate and gradually add the reserved 1/4 cup of sugar. Then increase the speed again and beat until the whites hold a firm shape but are not stiff or dry.

Add two or three large spoonfuls of the whites to the chocolate mixture and stir to lighten the chocolate a bit. Fold in two or three more spoonfuls. Then add all of the chocolate to the whites and fold only until blended.

Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and briskly rotate the pan a bit first one way, then another, to level the top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip.

Immediately cut around the sides with a firm, sharp knife to release the cake. Cover with a rack and invert, remove the pan, cover with another rack and invert again, leaving the cake right side up to cool.

If possible, chill the cake in the freezer for about an hour to make it easier to slice into two layers.

(My notes: I put toothpicks around the center of the cake to help me cut it as evenly as I can)

Cherry Filling
This may be made several days ahead if you wish.

1 1 lb. cans red sour pitted cherries (water packed)
3/4 cup plus 2 TBS. liquid drained from the cherries
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBS. cornstarch
Few drops red food coloring
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Optional: additional kirsch (to be used when assembling the cake)


Drain the cherries (you will have about 3/4 cups of cherries), setting aside 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the liquid - you will not need the remaining liquid.

Spread out the cherries on several thicknesses of paper towels to dry thoroughly.

In a small saucepan, stir the sugar and cornstarch to mix thoroughly. Gradually add 3/4 cup of the liquid, reserving the remaining 2 tablespoons. Stir constantly to keep the mixture smooth.

Place over moderate heat and stir gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture comes to a low boil. Reduce the heat slightly and barely simmer, stirring gently, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the food coloring and almond extract.

Pour into a bowl, add the drained cherries, and stir. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate.


Kirsch Syrup

This may be made ahead of time if you wish.

2 TBS. liquid reserved from the drained cherries above (or water)
2 TBS sugar
1/3 cup kirsch

Place the cherry liquid and the sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over moderate heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Let boil for one minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the kirsch, and let stand to cool.

Whipped Cream Frosting

4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup kirsch

Chill the mixer bowl and beaters (or whisk).

Place all the ingredients in the mixer bowl and beat (or whisk) until the mixture is firm enough to use as a filling and icing - it must hold a definite shape.

To assemble the cake: Line a large cake plate with four strips of aluminum foil. If you have not already done so, cut the cake into two layers).

Place the bottom layer cut side up and brush it with half of the kirsch syrup. If the cherry filling has stiffened too much, stir in very little (1 to 2 tablespoons) of the additional kirsch.

Place all of the cherry filling on the cake, moving the cherries around to make an even layer - and keeping the cherries about 1/2 inch away from the edges.

Spread some of the whipped cream about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick over the cherries.

Cover with the second layer of the cake, placing it cut side down. Brush the top with the remaining syrup.

Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Or reserve about 2 cups of the cream for decorating. Spread the cream smooth. (If you wish, you can decorate the cake with rococo rosettes using a pastry bag). Sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Remove the foil strips.

Refrigerate for the better part of the day. It should have time to mellow (it gets better), but whipped cream is not as light and delicious if it stands overnight.

1 comment:

Carol said...

pretty cake. Good idea about the toothpicks~Carol