A Summer Black Forest Cake

Cake and ice cream - they were real treats growing up, only making appearances when birthdays came around. Back then, before the days of indulgent mousse-filled triple-decker cakes from large chain bakeries, the black forest cake was the crowd pleaser. In some households, it was probably second only to to the equally crowd-pleasing jelly-topped pandan cake. The black forest cakes of my childhood were probably more a celebration of whipped cream than anything else - I can picture in my minds eye, the marachino cherries and the chocolate curls adorning the thick layer of cream on top of the cake. With that said, I still absolutely loved how the cream would give way to the soft chocolate sponge. Yes, I was all about the chocolate, often scooping out the cherry filling and leaving it at a little corner on the plate.

"What would boys like?"

We were going through some cake recipes, trying to pick one for Hanad's birthday and the black forest cake came to mind. Chocolate for the boys - check. Fruits to help the girls feel just a little bit better about having cake - check.

We decided to add a little summer spin to it because we simply couldn't resist those lovely strawberries that we get this time of year.

Based on Linda Greer's Black Forest Cake I Recipe


2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cans black cherries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon
8-10 strawberries
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake tins.
In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, vanilla and beat until well blended.
Pour and equal amount of batter into the prepared cake tins and bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool before removing them from the tins.

Drain cherries, reserving 1/2 cup juice.
Combine the reserved juice, cherries, sugar, cornstarch and strawberries in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
Stir in vanilla and add lemon juice. Allow to cool before using.

Spread a generous layer of berry filling on one of the cakes before topping it off with the whipped cream. Gently place the second cake on top of the first one, creating a sandwich.

We made it a little easier on ourselves by only having two layers of cake - horizontally splitting the cakes to create more layers seemed a little too ambitious for us. The strawberries gave the filling a freshness (and a little something to remind us of the better weather) that I loved while the slight zing from the lemons provided a foil to all that sweetness.

"But where's that whipped cream topping?", you say.

We decided to use a simple chocolate frosting to finish off the cake (yes, even more chocolate for the boys!) and let everyone have free rein of how much cream they want with their cake. I think the birthday boy enjoyed this little interactive bit - treating the can of whipped cream like a weapon and taking joy in completely covering his cake with a mountain of cream.

So there we go, my grown up Black Forest Cake - less cream-laden, marachino cherry-less and absolutely delicious.

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