Making Black Forest Cake in Black Forest

I heard about “Black Forest” since I was a kid. As black forest cake was always the easiest one to recognize when I passed by a cake shop. It is covered by dark chocolate flakes, with cherries on top and a lot of cream. I love cream. I could always finish the whole cake by myself if my Mum allowed me. Now visiting the Black Forest in Germany, I got the chance to make one myself.

I had neither experience of baking bread nor cake, but I never refuse to try something new. Therefore, after visiting the Tannenmuehle in Grafenhausen, I was invited to see the process of making a traditional black forest cake. Of course, I grabbed the chance to ask: Can I try?

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The biscuit and the chocolate sponge cake had been prepared. I only needed to cut the chocolate cake and prepare the cream. Then, place them nicely layer by layer. Besides cherries, cream and chocolate cake, kirschwasser (40% liquor) also played an important part. Every chocolate cake layer needed to absorb a certain amount of kirschwasser before the cream was put on. I took a shot of the liquor but I didn’t recall any memory of the black forest cake that I had when I was a kid. As I am very sensitive to alcohol, it wouldn’t have been possible to finish the whole cake by myself.

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For me, the hardest part of making the black forest cake was the cream decoration on the surface. I was either pressing too hard or too soft with the long knife, and never got the pattern smooth and consistent. Though, with the coverage of chocolate flakes, it didn’t look too lame. At least the lady in the kitchen who had made over 3000 black forest cakes, came over taking a glance and said: it wasn’t bad for the first time. But how was the taste?

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I kind of forced the chef who taught me to eat a piece with me. But before he gave any comment, I could already smell that I put in too much kirschwasser. And the first bite was really like swallowing a cherry flavoured shooter which had some cake in it and mixed with cream. It wasn’t a good cake, but I finished my piece with a big smile. That was the first black forest cake that I had in the black forest. And I made it myself. I had fun.

Of course, I went into a café at Furtwangen the other day, to taste a real black forest cake. I paid extra attention to the kirschwasser. The chocolate sponge cake was also soaked with kirschwasser, and it still kept its texture. It didn’t fall apart. At that moment, I remembered when I cut the chocolate sponge into four layers, I didn’t cut them evenly. Therefore, some parts were thicker but some were thinner. The kirschwasser may have leaked into the cream and ruined the cake. Now I am quite curiously about the black forest cakes in Hong Kong. Do they also put kirschwasser in them? If so, then how could I have finished the whole cake as a kid? Black forest cake is the first cake I will eat once I am back.

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