So, I have this thing I love to do. Baking. Obviously. Well, I especially love baking for people on their birthdays. If you live near me or with me you know. I made Mandi tiramisu for her birthday (I can post this another time if you want. Let me know!) and then recently for my other roommate Rajiv, I made his favorite, Black forest cake.
If you've ever had the chance to make a bonafide black forest cake, then you know it takes a few steps.
First things first:
(For the cake itself)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
(For the filling between layers)
1/2 cup kirschwasser
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon strong brewed coffee
2 (14 ounce) cans pitted Bing cherries, drained
(For the icing)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon kirschwasser
1 (1 ounce) square semisweet or dark chocolate
Some but not all of the ingredients.
Having three separate lists of ingredients gives you an idea of the detail oriented-ness of this cake. Also, kirschwasser is cherry infused brandy. You can get the cooking style which is fairly inexpensive at your local liquor store. It's handy that I live next to Magnolia Wine company!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. I usually wait later in the game to do this. A lot of directions tell you to do this as step one and then I feel like I have my oven on forever because I take my time. Next time I will list it as Step 4 maybe. Anyway, line the bottoms of two 8 inch round pans with parchment paper circles or you can just spray them well. Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
I can't not post a photo of this. Seriously people, don't ask me why but it makes me think of how Scrooge McDuck in Duck Tales swam in is room of golden coins. I wish I had a room of cocoa to swim in. I know, I am weird.
Dry ingredients. They look so soft.
Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined. Pour into 2 round 8 inch pans.
A note on buttermilk: If you don't have any, you can make it!! You can make it out of whatever milk you have on hand by putting 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 cup of milk and let stand for 5 minutes. I love this trick. There are a few other variations on how to make your own buttermilk, I believe there's a way with cream of tarter too.
It tasted as good as it looks. You know you want to lick those beaters.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when you poke it in the middle. Cool completely. Patiences my friends! Cut each layer in half, horizontally, making 4 layers total. Sprinkle layers with the 1/2 cup kirshwasser.
Two layers after cooling.
I thought it was going to be more difficult to cut the layers in half (4 total). I took it pretty slow. I think that is the best advice. Try and make them pretty even otherwise your cake is going to look pretty uneven and wonky.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar, pinch of salt, and coffee; beat until smooth. If the consistency is too thick, add a couple teaspoons of cherry juice or milk. Spread first layer of cake with 1/3 of the filling. Top with 1/3 of the cherries. Repeat with the remaining layers. The cake is pretty tall which I like!
I forgot to take pictures of this process. Sometimes I get in the zone and/or my hands are too dirty to touch the camera.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon kirshwasser. Frost top and sides of cake. You can garnish with the chocolate however you desire. I grated and chopped some chunks up to sprinkle on top. You could use a potato peeler and make chocolate curls. Which reminds me, I need to get a potato peeler.
There are different ways of icing and garnishing this cake. This one seemed most authentic to me. The icing is rich but not too sweet. Perfect. For what it's worth, icing that is too sweet takes away from the whole of a cake in my opinion.
Ok, so I mentioned my pumpkin scones with ginger molasses icing and pumpkin chocolate chip-walnut cookies. I'll post those soon! What do you like to bake? Also, I am willing to accept most challenges of something you'd like me to try out baking! I dare you to dare me.