Black Forest Cake – Recipe
For the cake:
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pans and parchment
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature, plus more for coating the pans and parchment
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cherries and syrup:
- 1 (15-ounce) can dark sweet cherries in heavy syrup
- 2 tablespoons kirsch or cherry-flavored liqueur
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the whipped cream:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 (4-ounce) piece semisweet chocolate
- 12 fresh cherries with stems, maraschino cherries with stems, or jarred sweet cherries with stems
For the cake:
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Cut out 2 (8-inch) rounds of parchment paper. Coat 2 (8-inch) cake pans with butter, place the parchment rounds in the pans, and coat the parchment with more butter. Coat the pans and parchment with flour and tap out any excess; set aside.
Bring the water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and cocoa, and whisk until smooth; set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Whisk together the measured flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until combined; set aside.
Place the measured butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fluffy and light in color, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
Return the mixer to medium speed. Add the eggs 1 at a time, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until just combined (the mixture will look slightly curdled). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
Add a third of the reserved flour mixture and turn the mixer to low speed, mixing until the flour is just incorporated. Add half of the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until just incorporated. Continue with the remaining flour mixture and chocolate mixture, alternating between each and ending with the flour, until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Stop the mixer, remove the bowl, and stir in any remaining flour streaks by hand, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and spread it into even layers. Bake side by side on the rack for 15 minutes. Rotate the pans from left to right and continue baking until the cake edges slightly pull away from the pans and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry with just a few crumbs, about 14 to 15 minutes more.
Remove the pans from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each cake, turn them out onto the rack, and slowly peel off and discard the parchment rounds. Flip the cakes over and let them cool completely. Meanwhile, make the syrup.
For the cherries and syrup:
Place the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. While stirring constantly, pour in 1 1/2 cups of the cream. Place the pan over medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil (the mixture will be lumpy, but it’ll smooth out). Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
Using a slotted spoon, evenly scatter all of the reserved cherries over the whipped cream, leaving any syrup in the bowl.
Leaving a 3/4-inch border, dollop 2 cups of the whipped cream over the cherries and spread it into an even layer to enclose the cherries.
Place the second cake cut-side up on top of the whipped cream and press down gently.
Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. (If desired, you can reserve up to 2 cups of the whipped cream for piping decorations on the top or base of the cake.)