Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake aka Schwarzwälder Kirsch Torte

An indulgent gluten-free version of a traditionally delicious chocolate and cherry cake.

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

This recipe is a variation of my master almond cake shown on the cover wrap of the June 2017 Food & Wine Magazine.

The original cake was a whisked sponge and quality cherry pie filling to replicate cooking Morello cherries. Now, I’ve found that cherry pie filling is mainly cornstarch thickened sauce and very few cherries.

I’ve cooked bing cherries in sugar syrup and grand marnier cherry, cherries still firm and it was a pain to pit cherries. Some recipes say not to use canned cherries, others say use them. Same with frozen cherries.

I’ve used both a can of sweet cherries or the same amount of frozen/thawed sweet cherries. We prefer the texture of mixing cherry jam with cherries and not just cherry jam. Kirschwasser should be the cherry brandy used for more oomph. I haven’t found 1/4 cup miniature bottles of kirsch and wasn’t prepared to pay $30+ for a large bottle. Plus, companies won’t tell you if it is gluten-free, so I use Amaretto almond liqueur instead.

I find cake cooked in 2 x 9″ pans is too thin. You can buy 8″ foil cake pans in grocery store for thicker cake, they can be handwashed and reused. A dishwasher tends to blacken the foil. I usually only make and serve 2 cake layers with filling and topping. People will cut the same size wedge from 3 or 4 cake layers as 2 layers, over indulge or have to throw it away. Plus I always say cakes look ‘attacked’ once they are cut.  So make multiple 2 cake layer cakes and bring them out one at a time, so your dessert table looks prettier and cakes serve more people. This cake disappeared before I could get a photo of it intact.

Gluten-Free Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake

Makes 8 generous portions

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 2 oz (1/4 c, 60 ml) soft butter or melted coconut oil
  • 2 oz (1/3 c, 56 g) gluten-free semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 oz (1/2 c 112g) sugar
  • 4 oz (1 c 112 g ) gluten-free almond flour or almond meal (meal just means skin left on and can be described as ‘natural’ almond flour, solid white is blanched almond flour or ground almonds)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) gluten-free cocoa
  • 1 tsp gluten-free almond extract
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) gluten-free baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 1 x 14,15,16 oz (500 g) can of sweet cherries, drained, juice kept. Exact weight isn’t essential
  • 4 oz, 1/2 c , 120 ml gluten-free cherry jam
  • 1/2 c ( 4 fl oz, 120 ml) heavy/whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) gluten-free almond extract or 1 tbsp (15 ml) Amaretto liqueur.
  • Pinch of xanthan gum

Top and sides:

Either 1 c heavy/whipping cream, 1/4 c powdered sugar, 2 tbsp Amaretto, whipped until stiff and spread over top and sides of cake. Keep some whipped cream to pipe decoratively

OR 1 c cream, 1 cup chocolate chips and 2 tbsp Amaretto, melted together to form a ganache, refrigerate overnight, then some poured over cake and rest whipped until stiff and piped decoratively.

Directions:

1. Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 170 degrees C. spray 2 x 8″ pans, line with parchment paper (greasesproof paper) and dust with cocoa. Melt chocolate and butter/coconut oil together until chocolate is totally smooth.

2. Put rest of cake ingredients in 8c (2 ltr) bowl, add melted chocolate mix and beat for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Even though mix will now be dark from chocolate, it will lighten in color as it is beaten.

3. Divide cake mix between 2 pans. Put foil pans on cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Cake will still be soft but a knife in middle of cake will be clean. Remove from oven, let cool for about 10 minutes then turn onto cooling rack.

4. Filling: When cool, put one cake layer on serving plate. Spread with jam and top with cherries in one layer.

5. Whip cream, sugar and almond extract or Amaretto together until stiff. I add a pinch of xanthan gum as I whip cream, it helps it to stay firm, doesn’t affect taste or texture.

6. Spread cream gently on top of cherries. Top with second cake layer.

7. Top and sides. As above. Whip cream and cover cake or make ganache, whip and cover cake. Finish with toasted almonds and chocolate shavings.

If you think you have overcooked cake (forgot to set timer to say cake is done), now is the time to drizzle or brush layers with juice from can. Add some more amaretto if you want.

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