Black Forest Cake without cherries?!

summary: Black Forest cake made from scratch with red currants instead of cherries (link to recipe)

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

links to recipes used for this cake

Black Forest Cake Birthdays just after New Year’s Day can be tricky. We’ve already eaten so much rich food. But there still has to be a cake!

We discussed it and Black Forest was chosen. We stopped on the way home at the supermarket to get sour red cherries for making the cake the next day. We knew exactly which shelf to go to because we had got sour red cherries there for the sour cherry jelly salad we made at Christmas. And that section of the shelf was empty!!! What???

We could have gone further afield to search other stores’ shelves but it was late, a little cold and we were on our bikes. We made an executive decision that canned red currants would work as well. (Please don’t report us to the missing cherries department of Black Forest Cake Police.)

While we prefer cherries in the cake, it turns out that red currants are an excellent substitute in Black Forest Cake.

Mmmmm… Black Forest Cake…

And I don’t mean those ridiculous sweet dry quasi chocolate cakes covered in cloying whipped edible oil product and adorned with maraschino cherries. I mean the real thing – firm moist chocolatey chocolate cake oozing with kirsch-laced syrup, slathered with real whipped cream and real kirsch-laced fruit.

When I make Black Forest Cake, I follow a recipe (altered somewhat by me) I copied years ago from an article about the Schwarzwald in the flight magazine on Air Canada – or was it Canadian Airlines? Instead of the cake they suggested, I usually make our eggless chocolate cake to use for the layers. But T asked if I would mind if he made his chocolate miracle cake instead.

Would I mind?? Why, of course, I wouldn’t mind. I’m very happy if someone else wants to make the cake!

I’ve got to say that this was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had! And that says a lot. Over the years, I have constantly droned on that our eggless chocolate cake is fabulous. And I still think it is one of the best cakes. But I must admit that T’s miracle cake has a slight edge and has risen to the number one position on my list.

Black Forest Cake Which left the rest of the cake making to me. The fun part: soaking fruit in kirsch, making syrup, whipping cream (licking the bowls clean :whee:) and assembling and decorating the cake.

Normally, we soak the fruit overnight but … eeek I forgot … the fruit only soaked for about an hour; it turns out that it doesn’t make all that much difference.

Making the syrup was easy – the magazine suggests making the syrup with water but I like to use the fruit juice from the drained fruit. I love the smell of the fruit in the syrup as it bubbles. I also love the colour of the syrup. It’s so intensely red.

Of course, whipping the cream was also easy. I used our hand blender (yes, I know, I could have used a whisk and really should have – it’s better for the environment – not to mention that it might have used up some of the excess calories that I have consumed over the past few weeks!) to bring the cream to stiff peak stage and then folded in the kirsch that the currants had been soaking in.

The trickiest part of the assembly was cutting the layer in half and lifting the half to get it to balance on top of cream and red currants. One of the difficulties was that the cake had broken when coming out of the pan. But that’s the real beauty of frosting a cake! Who can see those cracks and breaks?

Black Forest Cake The icing sugar stabilizes the cream so that even the next day, the cream holds its shape. The cake was just as good the next day as it was the first!

Here, you can see where the cake was broken. Cream has oozed down into one of the fissures. I guess you can imagine the skirmish over who got to have that particular piece… :-)

Note to self: Use a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the cake pan. It’s much easier to remove the cake!

(click on images for larger views and more photos)

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  • bing

    Looks fabulous. And I say that even though I don’t really like whipped cream.

    But … no chocolate shavings on top?

  • Although I don’t think red currants could ever replace black cherries from my Grandma’s orchard as the filling for my Black Forest Cake, I’d definitely be willing to give this a try!

  • ejm

    Oops! I completely forgot the chocolate shavings, bing! Oh oh. I guess that means we may have to make the cake again. :whee: We can’t make it with the left over red currants though. Somebody used them to make a pie today….

    As long as you don’t think of it as a replacement for Black Forest Cake made with real cherries, Brilynn, it’s equally good. (Lucky you to have black cherries from your Grandma’s orchard! I bet they make fantastic Black Forest Cake!)

  • bing

    But with chocolate shavings, you couldn’t have that pretty juice-decoration on top.

    Maybe you should serve the chocolate shavings on the side, have your cake and eat it too as it were.

  • ejm

    Hmmm, there is that. But perhaps I could have thrown the chocolate shavings around the bottom edge of the cake.

    But that is a good idea to serve the chocolate shavings on the side. Too bad there’s no more cake to test the idea to make sure. :lalala:

    (The red currant pie is fabulously good….)

  • Cake always tastes better when someone else bakes it and serves it to you. I’ve never made black forest cake before, though I always considered it a “special occasion” cake when i was a kid.