Foret Noir

Or what we call Black Forest Cake. I made this cake a few months ago, one of the first cakes I made after I got back to the States. I've made my fair shares of black forest cake in the past, but they are all different. See this, this, this, and the first one I made in college (using canned maraschino cherries. Yikes!).

I was first introduced to Black Forest cake when I was in Indonesia. It is one of the most popular cakes there, a classic one. In Indonesia, Black Forest cake is made from 2-3 layers of chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream (sometimes buttercream), and canned dark cherry, with rum sometimes added or not. In the US, it is mostly similar except that they are using canned red cherry pie filling instead of the dark canned cherry, and no rum.

When I got more interested into advanced baking, I started to find out more of what the actual black forest cake consists of and I've found my own conclusion. Based on the many many recipes online and from the French books I have, Black Forest Cake usually consists of layers of chocolate cake, chocolate layer, and white layer (Kirsch cream). The chocolate layer can be chocolate mousse, chocolate whipped cream and the Kirsch cream can be just plain whipped cream flavored with Kirsch, or Kirsch-flavored bavarian cream. Of course it is not limited to only these, but the basic is the same, it is always the chocolate cake, choc. layer, and white layer. It always has cherries of course! The original cake uses griottes/morello cherries/sour cherries. I have tried using it once but it was too sour for my taste, even after cooking it with sugar, water, lemon, alcohol, it was still sour. So I decided that I will stick with the dark sweet cherries for my cake.

In the past, I always used rum, just because that's what I had known from Indonesia. I've started using Kirsch after I found out that it is what the cake is supposed to have, instead of rum. I was never a fan of Kirsch before, I think it tasted like a cough syrup and I always tried to avoid it, but not anymore, thanks to Hidemi Sugino. He uses Kirsch in his bavarian cream and his soaking syrup, just the right amount that it is actually really fragrant and tasted great!

I've made my own brandy-soaked cherries last year (as well as brandied raspberries). It was ready to use in December but it was also the time that I was gone for a few months. After I got back, I was so eager to use it in something. This is the perfect occasion for this, until I tasted it. It tasted really strong and while some people might like it, we have a pregnant woman in the group :). So what I did was mix the brandy-soaked cherries and the regular dark cherries and told her t avoid the cherries.

This cake was actually made for my friend, C's birthday. From what I heard, she is a chocoholic, and I've got to make a chocolate cake. I already had the sponge ready in the freezer (which is always a life-saver), I had dark sweet pitted cherries that I froze from last summer. All I needed was to make the chocolate and the white layer, easy. The classic Foret Noire always has chocolate shards as decorations, and I stay with that.

Love this candid pic!

Foret Noir (a.k.a Black Forest Cake)
Yield: one 8" square cake
2 layers of chocolate sponge
Note: I used what's available in my freezer, but feel free to use any kind of chocolate sponge/biscuit/joconde

Kirsch Cream
3 egg yolks
60g sugar
160g milk
1 tsp. powdered gelatin dissolved in a little bit of water (or 4g gelatin leaf)
15g Kirsch brandy
180g heavy cream
  • Make creme anglaise with egg yolks, sugar, and milk and bring it to 84C
  • Melt the gelatin and add it to the anglaise mixture
  • Strain and cool on an icebath, stirring it from time to time
  • Whip the cream until soft peak and fold it into the cooled anglaise mixture
Chocolate Chantilly
80g bittersweet chocolate (I used 58% cocoa)
10g sugar
170g heavy craem
  • Melt the chocolate
  • Mix 2 Tbs. of heavy cream with the melted chocolate. Set aside to cool
  • Whip the cream until soft peak
  •  Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture


Nadia said...

Hi, lovely blog n amazing recipes , do u mind telling me where to get these pans for gourmet cakes ? Any pointers , thanks

Bertha said...

Hi Nadia, I bought my cake rings from different sites. On this cake, I used 8" square cake ring with 2" high. I think I bought it at
for the pattern on top, I had this textured thick acetate sheet that I cut out to the size of my cake ring and assemble the cake upside down to get the pattern on the top of the cake.
Hope this helps.