So what exactly is a Black Forest Cake? It is a decadent combination of Morello Cherries and massive quantities of chocolate cake all bound together with lightly sweetened whipped cream and liberally laced with that famous liqueur of the Black Forest in Germany... Kirschwasser.
What is Kisrchwasser?
Kirschwasser is German for "Cherry Water", and while it may be as clear as water, the stuff packs a punch. This double distilled brandy made from the sour Morello cherry is, more often than not, simply referred to a Kirsch. In a nutshell, what the Marasca Cherry is to Maraschino (the Italian liqueur, not those unnaturally red things in the jar), the Morello Cherry is to Kirschwasser. This "not too sweet with a subtle cherry/almond flavored" liqueur is a vitally necessary ingredient to make a traditional Black Forest Cake; for that is where both the cake and Kirschwasser hail from... The Black Forest, or Schwarzwald, in southwestern Germany. They make an awesome ham too, but that is another post.
OK, I will confess, this is not the normal way I make Black Forest Gateau (cake). The reason for this modified recipe is to cut down on the amount of liquor I was using. Oh, it still exists in the cherry filling, but the filling is cooked so at least some of the alcohol has boiled off. There is also Kirshwasser in the stabilized whipped cream, but it's only 2 TB in 3 cups of heavy cream. I figured that was a low enough amount that it could be safely served to a 17 year old. After all, I would not want to contribute to the delinquency of a minor or anything... ;)
The main change was the cake. Normally I would use a chocolate genoise or chocolate sponge, but since I was not going to be liberally brushing the cake with Kirchwasser this time, I opted for the Best Chocolate Cake Ever! instead. It's deeply chocolaty and moist, without the additional liquor.
Black Forest Cake (Gateau)
Best Chocolate Cake Ever!, baked in 2 9-inch rounds
Morello Cherry Filling700 g Morello Cherries (drained with juice saved)
3/4 cup reserved Cherry Juice
1/4 cup Kirschwasser
5 tsp Cornstarch
pinch of Cinnamon
Drain the cherries and reserve 3/4 cup of the juice.
Stabilized Kirschwasser Whipped Cream
2 TB Kirshwasser
2 tsp gelatin (Unflavored of course)
1 tsp meringue powder
3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/8 cup powdered sugar
Bloom gelatin in Kirshwasser for 5 minutes.
Assemble the cake
First, slice the cakes in half horizontally, leaving you with 4 layers.
Candied Crab Apples (or Candied Cherries) on top.