Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake)


I’ve gone back to pastry school! This time, my friend Marcus came down from Edmonton to do a one week German baking course at the Vancouver Pastry Training Center. I knew very little about German baking going in, so this was very educational in a few different ways!

This schwarzwälder kirschtorte or black forest cake was one of the first things we made in German pastry school. A lot of black forest cakes that you can find today use a frozen sponge and some whipping cream, and they lose the essence of a true black forest cake. The legend goes that this cake was inspired by the traditional garb of the women in the Black Forest region of Germany. This particular recipe has chocolate and cherry bavaroise and enough liqueur to knock out a small child.

German pastries day 2 (2 of 8)

“You should feel slightly tipsy after eating a slice.”
-Chef Marco



  • 6 eggs
  • 60 g trimoline sugar
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 140 mL whipping cream
  • 100 g butter (melted)
  • 90 almond powder
  • 140 g cake flour
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 8 g baking powder
  • 60 mL Kirschwasser


  1. Preheat oven to 340 – 360 F and prepare two 6″ cake rings with a parchment paper base
  2. Put the eggs, trimoline sugar, and granulated sugar into a stand mixer with whisk attachment at high speed to make a sabayon. This should get to ribbon stage, where you can see the lines formed by the whisk for a few seconds after stopping whisking
  3. Set cream and butter on a bain marie over low heat to melt
  4. Sift the almond powder, cake flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into a bowl
  5. Once the sabayon is done, add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and fold in with a spatula
  6. In the small bowl, mix together a small amount of the batter with the whipping cream/butter mixture and Kirschwasser until this is well mixed
  7. Add the contents of the small bowl back to the mixing bowl of batter and fold in
  8. Pour into the cake rings ~3/4 full
  9. Bake until the top springs back and a toothpick comes out cleanly (~45 minutes)


  • Trimoline is a form of liquid sugar that is thicker than glucose. If you don’t have trimoline, use regular sugar instead, NOT glucose. Glucose will make the cake gooey.
  • This recipe is richer than a typical sponge and would not be great for making roulade
Making the sabayon


Line the two pastry rings with parchment paper



  • 100 mL water
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • lemon juice (1/2 piece)
  • orange juice (1/2 piece)
  • 60 mL Kirschwasser


  1. Add the water, sugar, lemon juice, and orange juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil
  2. Once the mixture cools slightly, mix in the Kirschwasser



  • 2 g gelatin sheet (1 sheet)
  • 80 mL red wine
  • 40 g granulated sugar
  • 10 g cornstarch
  • 240 g sour cherries


  1. Bloom the gelatin in a bowl of cold water, making sure to fully submerge it
  2. In a saucepan, bring 2/3 of the red wine and the granulated sugar to a boil
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/3 of the wine and the cornstarch
  4. Once the wine mixture has started to boil, add in some of the cornstarch mixture while whisking constantly. Add only as much cornstarch as needed to get the desired viscosity
  5. Bring the mixture to boil again to boil out the starches
  6. Remove the saucepan from heat and mix in the (squeezed out) gelatin
  7. Stir the cherries into the compote


  • Do NOT use normal cherries. Use sour cherries (traditional).
  • You can use cherry juice instead of red wine
  • Gelatin is added since this is going inside of a cake, and we want to ensure it gels a bit
  • Don’t add the cornstarch in with the sugar, as you don’t necessarily want to use all of the cornstarch
  • When adding the bloomed gelatin, make sure to squeeze out excess water
Making cherry compote



  • 8 g gelatin sheet (4 sheets)
  • 150 mL homo milk
  • 150 high quality dark chocolate
  • 20 mL Kirschwasser
  • 300 mL whipping cream, whipped


  1. Bloom the gelatin in a bowl of cold water, making sure to fully submerge it
  2. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil
  3. Once the milk is boiling, remove the pan from heat. Squeeze all the water out of the gelatin and dissolve it in the milk
  4. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and whisk until smooth
  5. Whisk the Kirschwasser into the chocolate mixture
  6. When the mixture has cooled and you are ready to assemble the cake, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture



  • 12 g gelatin sheets (6 sheets)
  • 270 g sour cherry puree
  • 140 g granulated sugar
  • 75 mL full fat yogurt
  • 60 mL Kirschwasser
  • 300 mL whipping cream, whipped


  1. Bloom the gelatin in a bowl of cold water, making sure to fully submerge it
  2. In a saucepan, heat the cherry puree and granulated sugar at a low temperature
  3. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove from heat add the (squeezed out) gelatin to the cherry puree and mix in well
  4. Mix the yogurt into the puree
  5. Mix the Kirschwasser into the puree
  6. When the mixture has cooled and you are ready to assemble the cake, fold the whipped cream into the cherry puree
All of the components (compote, syrup, bavaroise)


  1. Remove cake from the ring. Use a single knife motion and not a sawing motion. It helps to keep the cake perpendicular to the ground
  2. Cut off the top and bottom of the cake, and cut the cake into two ~1 cm layers
  3. Line the cake ring with acetate and layer the cake inside the ring as follows:
    1. Sponge cake (soaked in syrup)
    2. Chocolate bavaroise (about halfway up the cake ring, leavespace for compote)
    3. Cherry compote between the chocolate bavaroise rings (see image below)
    4. Sponge cake (soaked in syrup)
    5. Cherry bavaroise (up to the top of the cake ring)
  4. Level the top off to the top of the ring
  5. After refrigerating until cool, remove the ring and REMOVE THE ACETATE
  6. Ice the whole cake with whipped cream and pipe rosettes on top
  7. Use a spoon to create chocolate shavings by scraping against a block of chocolate; pick the cake up and add shavings to the sides and top of the cake
  8. Pipe some flourishes and put some cherries on top


  • If the chocolate  or cherry bavaroise has cooled too much, you may need to sliiightly heat it up
  • Mix the whipped cream into the bavaroises as you are assembling the cake
  • You have limited working time with whipping cream so don’t be too much of a perfectionist
  • Once the cake is iced with whipping cream, you shouldn’t freeze it
Torting the sponge to cut into layers
Adding the chocolate bavaroise and cherry compote
Adding and levelling cherry bavaroise
Creating chocolate curls



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