Desserts, Sweet Snacks

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte / Traditional Black Forest Cake

1 cups boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups jarred sour cherries (NOT maraschino cherries!), pitted, with juice
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 quart heavy cream
1 tablespoon whipped cream stabilizer
chocolate shavings, for garnish
3 tablespoons Kirschwasser
14 or so fresh bing cherries, for garnish
24 or so Oreo sticks, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 2 9-inch springform pans with baking spray

In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, ending with the flour.

Fill the pans about halfway, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cherry filling: Reserve 3 tablespoons of the cherry juice to mix with the corn starch while still cold, to make a slurry. Then, roughly chop the cherries and add to a saucepan over low heat, with the juice. Bring to a low simmer. Add the corn starch slurry and, while stirring, let come back to a full boil to thicken. Immediately remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. The filling should thicken somewhat.

In the meantime, whip the whipped cream with stabilizer until peaks form. Keep cool in the refrigerator. Shave chocolate for garnish.

To assemble: Cup the cake rounds in half, so that you have four cake layers. on each of the 4 layers, drizzle a bit of kirschwasser. Then between level one and two, spread about 1/2 of the cherry mixture. Between layers two and three, spread a layer of whipped cream, then repeat the cherry filling between the last layers. Spread an initial layer of whipped cream all over the torte (like a crumb coat) and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

As final decoration, put on a second layer of whipped cream, decorate with the oreo sticks and garnish with fresh cherries and chocolate shavings.

Keep refrigerated until almost ready to serve. Best not to make on a very hot day as the whipped cream curdles easily.

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