Back in my home country Pakistan, Traditional Black Forest Cake is undoubtedly the most popular cake typically paired with fresh fruits of the season. We have grown up with it and traditional black forest cake is the first ‘decorated’ cake I learnt to make. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia also, this cake is available off the shelf in almost all super markets but somehow, I have never liked the cakes here. They all have same taste (my guess is they use the same mix) and that also not quite appealing. With a little effort, you can make your own black forest cake which is delicious and good looking.
Another reason, I wanted to perfect this cake is that its my family’s absolute favorite. My husband specially either likes plain pound/evening cake or black forest cake. I have made this cake many many times and only this time, I knew it came out perfect and I can safely share the recipe. Also genoise/sponge cakes do not really go well with buttercreams and really tastes nice with fresh cream hence I don’t get chances to make it often. They are not sturdy enough (because no or less butter) hence not firm and suitable for decorated cakes.
What is the difference between a genoise and a sponge cake?
Genoise (pronounced “JENN-wahz”) is a special type of sponge cake that has a little fat in it in the form of butter or oil or milk or a combination.
I have also tried genoise recipe in which cocoa powder is mixed in hot water, or it uses real chocolate but they can get a little tricky and the result is not far from what I am sharing today.
Sponge cake on the other hand is just eggs, sugar, flour and cocoa (incase of black forest) and it is as simple as that. If you are making sponge cake for the first time then you might want to try this recipe of basic black forest sponge cake recipe rather than genoise.
What is the difference between chocolate cake and black forest cake?
Chocolate cake usually has significant amount of oil or butter or a combination of both and is quite rich, sturdy and typically paired with butter creams and ganache therefore used in decorated and fondant cakes.
Why it is called Black Forest?
You can read about its origin here.
However, the fact that it is dark brown colored cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and fruits and nuts might be responsible for its name.
What does genoise cake tastes like and what is the texture of it?
A little bit of information on genoise. It is an Italian sponge-type cakes (as opposed to butter cakes) that are aerated with beating of eggs, the baked sponge is then moistened with syrup and is made into a gateau with fresh whipped cream and fruits of your choice. Traditionally cherries go with it but strawberries, mango etc. work equally well. The shavings of chocolate completes the look and taste.
Its texture is light, and melt in mouth. It is also less sweet than typical buttercream cakes.
What is genoise used for?
Besides turning it into typical layered cake or gateau, you can use it in trifles like this chocolate trifle or just with a dust of powdered sugar or ganache drizzle.
How long can you keep black forest cake in the fridge?
Though I recommend, keeping it fridge for a couple of hours in order for flavors to be matured and also settle the cake, you should keep two things in mind:
- Cake has creams which might prevent it drying from inside when stored as whole but they can absorb smells from other things kept in fridge, best way is to store it in a box covered and on the upper racks, away from strong odours.
- Cut and leftover cake be placed in an airtight box in refrigerator.
For the Genoise Sponge
- 3-4 eggs / 150 grams *
- 90 grams or 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 60 grams or 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons or 15 grams corn flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons or 15 grams cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon or 20 grams butter
- 1/8 cup or 15 grams milk
- Vanilla few drops
For Whipping Cream
- 2 cups Whipping Cream
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3-4 chopped strawberries, 3-4 halved strawberries **
- Chocolate chips and chocolate 100 grams for barks
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoon strawberry jam (optional)
For the Genoise Sponge
- Prepare two 6 inches pans or place a collar of parchment paper around one 6 inches pan for added height of total 5 inches. Grease them well with butter/oil and dust with flour. The pans should not have any shiny spots. Discard the excess flour.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Place eggs and vanilla in a super clean glass or stainless steel bowl. Whisk. Wipe with lemon or vinegar to ensure no traces of water or grease to make sure this bowl is super clean.
- Pour boiling water in a larger pan and place your egg bowl over it and snugly fits.
- Add sugar and whisk till sugar is almost dissolved. This happens at around 40 degrees celsius. This is an important step because we are not using any baking powder or soda. To make the eggs and sugar aerate to maximum capacity and to give volume to the cake. You can skip it though with slight compromise.
- Remove from hot water pan and beat with electric mixer for 8-10 minutes until triple in size. You will be able to draw an 8 without the ribbon disappearing.
- Melt butter and milk together in microwave or on low heat but don't burn or boil.
- Sift the flour, corn flour and cocoa powder tree times. Again this step is to give volume to the cake. You can skip with compromise.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, gently folding and not whisking and deflating too much.
- Add 1/2 cup of batter to milk and butter mixture and mix well. This will lighten the butter and milk mixture and you will be able to add it to batter easily.
- Fold it back into the egg mixture.
- Pour in prepared pans evenly (measure it if you require perfect layers) and tap for bubbles.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until done, toothpick test.
- Take out from pans after 5 minutes and cool completely.
For the fillings:
- Caramelized the sugar by melting in a clean pan without stirring, when golden brown, add almonds, pour on a greased surface, cool and grind coarsely in a food processor.
- To make the jam, take frozen or fresh strawberries, squeeze some lemon juice and sugar to taste. Cook for 10 minutes until tender, mash or blend.
- Whip two cups of cream with 1/2 cup of icing sugar until stiff peaks. Use 35% of fat content cream.
- For chocolate, melt and spread on a wax paper, just before it sets roll it and refrigerate. Unroll and you will have chocolate barks. You can grate the chocolate or just use chopped chocolate for sides. If you are using couverture chocolate, you will have to temper it.
- Slice the cake(s) so you have four layers, 1 inch tall.
- Place first layer on a cake board and soak with 1/4 cup milk.
- Spread the whipped cream and fresh diced strawberries.
- Place 2nd layer of sponge. Soak again with 1/4 cup of milk.
- Spread the whipped cream and sprinkle almond praline.
- Repeat for 3rd layer. This time place the prepared jam.
- Place the final sponge layer, soak, with remaining 1/4 cup of milk.
- Frost the entire cake with whipped cream, pipe the swirls on top with remaining cream and decorate the sides with chocolate barks, top with chocolate chips and swirls with strawberries halved.
- Chill and serve.
* if small or medium eggs, use four, if large or extra large use three
** You can use any seasonal fruit like mango, pineapple, cherries , berries etc.
The fillings and toppings are options and just a guide, not a rule.