Aaron is predictable when it comes to birthday cakes. Black Forest Cake. Same cake, every year. For the longest time I refused to make them because I thought the ingredients would cost more than just buying the cake at the shops. Until I found Luisa Weiss’s recipe in Classic German Baking when Food52 Baking Club was going through it back in June 2017 and saw just how easy it was. So now, when his birthday rolls around, I know exactly what I’m making.
The recipe is actually quite straight forward. It’s a chocolate sponge cake, reminiscent of a proper English sponge, with lots of eggs in the batter. You start off by whisking egg whites with salt and sugar and then when it becomes nice and frothy you beat in the egg yolks and then fold in the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa and cornflour. You put this into a 9 inch cake pan and bake it for 25 minutes.
And now for the razzle dazzle – the cherries are a jar of pitted sour cherries that you heat in saucepan with some cornflour to thicken the juice into more of a cherry pie filling. You need to whip some cream with a bit of sugar to ice the cake, and I bought a lot of chocolate flakes that I crumbled apart to cover the cake.
To assemble you cut the cake into thirds horizontally and brush eat layer with some kirsch. Then you begin the layering process with cake layer, whipped cream, cherries, cake layer, whipped cream, cherries, cake layer and whipped cream over the entire outside of the cake. Then you simply cover it in the chocolate flake crumbs and add a few reserved cherries to decorate the top.
Don’t tell Aaron but this is one of the easiest cakes I make! And the results are always spectacular. Happy birthday, Ay-ay-ron!
Throwback to June 2017 when Food52 Baking Club was going through Luisa Weiss’s book Classic German Baking. Sooo many delicious looking desserts that just had to be baked ASAP.
Her Sour Cherry Streusel Cake or Kirschstreuselkuchen very quickly became one of my favourite recipes and I’ve probably made it half a dozen times over the last 9 months. The recipe can be found online, so there’s no excuse not to try it for yourself. And as long as you keep a jar of tart cherries in your cupboard and have basic baking ingredients on hand, this is a cake you can whip up in a jiffy if you suddenly find yourself in need of a cake.
There’s 3 basic components in this recipe: the streusel, the cherries and the batter. The streusel you mix by hand and is made of flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. The cherries are really interesting as you drain the juice and bring it to a boil with a bit set aside to create a slurry with some cornflour and then whisked in to make it get thick and syrupy. Then you reincorporate the cherries and set it aside to cool while you make the batter. And the batter is a dead simple basic butter cake – where you cream butter and sugar and some eggs and vanilla then add your dry ingredients and a little milk (I usually use buttermilk). Then you layer it up in a 9×13 inch pan and bake in a moderate oven for 45-50 minutes.
It turns out great every time, and while I’m actually a little disappointed with the lack of color in the streusel this time around, it still tasted fabulous. I used a new type of gluten free flour and it behaved a little differently. This is another thing of interest, how adaptable this recipe is to gluten free. We regularly bake for a gluten free guest and so this is an easy recipe for me to make for her by simply replacing the plain flour with gluten free and everything else remains the same. The cake is not overly sweet making it easy to eat more than one slice and the red color on the cherries is so elegant that it would sit very nicely on a high tea platter.
I’m really surprised this is the first time I’ve posted about this book because it is one of my absolute favorites. I look forward to sharing more from this book soon!