I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to photographing my baking. I love to share my breads and desserts with you. I love to share my baked goods with other people too. And here is where the conflict of interest lies. Let me explain.
Say, for instance, you made a fantastic black forest cake. The layers are just right. The frosting is just so. The cake makes you feel warm and fuzzy and proud inside. Now here's the catch. You made this cake for a dinner party. You want to bring a beautifully frosted cake to the party to share. You also want to show off and share this cake to your wonderful online followers (that's you!). But you can't bring a cake to the party with a piece missing (well, you can, but people might stare and wonder whether you were so desperately starved that you dug in with your hands on the way there).
So what do you do?
I'm a bit greedy. I want the best of two worlds. So you know what I do? Oh, I cut the cake. I take the photos. I might even sneak a tiny bite with my fork. And then I slide that little piece back into the cake, fix up the frosting like this whole thing never happened, and don't tell a soul. I have no shame.
Shhh. This is our little secret.
This black forest cake is none too sweet, which is just right. When I imagine a black forest cake, I don't think of a sugary, gumdrop forest. I think of a forest that's dark, dense, with secrets hidden in the shadows. The cake is dense and rich. The cherry filling has subtle hints of rum. The pastry cream is oh so dreamy. And the whipped cream frosting is perfect. Just perfect. If you are looking for a cake to impress, look no further.
Black Forest Cake
Yields one 3-layer cake
For best results, make one day prior (or allow the cake to sit for 6 hours) before serving. This allows the flavors to mix and mingle properly, giving you the tastiest result.
I used this recipe for Incredibly Moist Chocolate Prune Cake because there is nothing more devastating than a dry cake (especially if you are going to spend hours in the kitchen making a masterpiece). You won't taste the prunes, but you WILL taste the moist. Trust me.
I adapted the recipe in the following ways:
- I increased the unsweetened cocoa powder from 3 tablespoons to 1/2 cup. This will give you a fantastically moist, fudgey chocolate cake.
- I used cake flour instead of all-purpose. This will make the cake lighter. However, using all-purpose will still work (and taste) absolutely fine.
- I also used 3 8-inch cake pans to bake the layers in instead of 2 10-inch cake pans. I want a three layer cake!
- I adjusted the baking time from 35-40 minutes to 25 minutes to compensate for the smaller layers.
2 (20 ounce cans) cherry pie filling
1/4 cup rum
1 tablespoon lemon juice
n a medium saucepan, combine the cherry filling, rum, and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until warmed. Remove from heat. Cool completely before applying to the cake.
Adapted from The Kitchn
1 1/2 cups milk (whole milk will give the richest cream, 2% a less rich cream)
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until it's warm. Set aside until its cool enough to touch (aka until you can stick your finger in for more than a few seconds).
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Mix in the flour and salt. Slowly pour in the warmed milk while stirring constantly. This should prevent the eggs from cooking.
Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. The mixture should thicken to the consistency of pudding. Once the pastry cream begins to bubble, watch the clock and continue stirring for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Strain the mixture over a bowl with a fine/medium mesh strainer to get out any lumps. Press plastic wrap against the pastry cream and refrigerate until its set (at least two hours). Pastry cream can be kept refrigerated for 5 to 7 days.
Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
In a large bowl, combine the whipping cream and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.
Trim off the tops cake layers so they are flat on the top and bottom. Brush off loose crumbs.
Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread 3/4 cup of the cherry filling on top. Spread on half of the pastry cream. Place on the second cake layer and make sure it is not tilted or at an angle (if so, spread out the pastry cream into a more even layer). Again, top with 3/4 cup cherry filling and the rest of the pastry cream. Place the third layer on top and adjust until it is level.
Frost the exterior and top of the cake with the whipped cream frosting. If desired, spoon some of the remaining cherry filling in the center of the top of the cake.
Allow the cake to site for as long as possible (6 hours or overnight) for the best flavor. But, if you can't wait that long, I won't tell. My lips are sealed.