Here's my take on the classic Black Forest cake. Instead of the typical chocolate sponge though, I used my dark chocolate cake recipe as a base, because it always comes out so moist and flavorful. I didn't have any cherry liquor (Kirsch) in my pantry, but I did have a jar of my mom's delicious dark cherries in syrup. And I made the chantilly cream a bit denser, as I usually do, by adding cream cheese to the mix. So, like I said, not the purest form of Black Forest out there, but my own version, and it seems to please others as well!
DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
FILLING AND TOPPING
1 jar of dark cherries (preferably stoned) in syrup
1 1/3 cups liquid heavy cream (at least 30% fat), chilled
5 oz. cream cheese (or 150 grams), chilled
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla pod)
1 dark chocolate tablet (at least 46% cocoa)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 2 x 9″ cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the remaning ingredients to the bowl, mixing well after each addition, using a whisk or electric beaters. The batter will be liquidy. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven. Bake 15 minutes longer or until a toothpick comes out clean – approximately 35 minutes total. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
Pour the cream into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the chilled heavy cream until it thickens and forms stiff peaks (about 5 minutes). Add cream cheese, vanilla and confectioner's sugar and beat for another minute, until well incorporated. Place bowl in the fridge.
Cut each cake horizontally in order to obtain 4 layers. Place first layer down on serving plate, use a couple of tablespoons of cherry syrup to moisten the cake and spread 1/3 of stoned cherries. Get the bowl with whipped cream out of the fridge (Reserve one half to cover top layer and sides). Spread one third of the other half on top of of the first layer.
Repeat with other layers. Cover top layer with the reserved half of whipped cream and spread it all over the cake (top and sides). With a sharp knife, shave dark chocolate tablet to make woodchip looking bits. Sprinkle over the cake.
Now slice and enjoy!