~ This is Day 165 ~
(Sorry, no pics yet. It’ll have to wait until I get another cake craving.)
My favorite cake growing up was Black Forest. I remember it fondly. My mother would buy it from a Japanese bakery when we were living in Hong Kong. I’ve had some American variations with the sickeningly sweet maraschino cherries, and those made me sick. I hated eating those artificial flavored cherries.
This recipe, just like the ones that I used to eat from the Japanese bakery, uses fresh cherries! Not only are the cherries naturally sweet, the cake and whipped cream are not overly sweet. I don’t have a big sweet tooth but when I do eat dessert, I like them very low in sugar and on the bitter or savory side of things.
Makes an 8-inch, 4 layered cake.
For the Cake
- 2 cups AP flour
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk @ room temperature
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 8-inch round baking pans lined with parchment paper.
Place all the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Stir on low to combine. In a bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients. When adding the hot water, pour in slowly so you don’t cook the eggs. Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the stand mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. The batter will look very thin, this is normal.
Pour evenly into the pans. I used a kitchen scale to ensure perfection. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Cherry Liqueur Syrup
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup cherry liqueur
Place sugar and water into a pot to make simple syrup. Bring to a boil, simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat. Stir in the cherry liqueur and allow to cool completely.
For the Whipped Cream
- 3 cups heavy cream, cold
- ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
For the Chocolate Bark
- 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped/pieces
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave in 20-second bursts. Using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate into a thin layer on a large sheet of parchment paper. Roll up the paper from the width side and then place it into the freezer until firm. Unroll to create chocolate bark.
- 3 cups cherries pitted, cut in half
- 1 bar dark chocolate, for shavings (optional)
- Cherries with stems, for garnish
Cut each cake later in half horizontally. Place one layer of the cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Brush generously with the cherry simple syrup. Top with approximately 1 cup of whipped cream and spread evenly with the offset spatula. Top with 1 cup of pitted cherries and gently press them into the whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining cake layers and frost the outside of the cake. Decorate with chocolate bark, chocolate shavings (using a vegetable peeler), rosettes, and whole cherries!