This easy recipe for Black Forest Cake is not only delicious, it is also made a little healthier by using whole wheat flour. Don’t worry though, this beautiful chocolate layer cake still boasts a fabulous taste and texture that’ll have your guests coming back for more.
First grease a round baking pan of 7.5 inches diameter with oil. You could also line the pan with a parchment paper. Or use two round cake pans (6 inches diameter) and divide the batter equally between two pans.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius/392 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sift whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda on a plate. Use good quality cocoa powder.
In another pan or bowl, take sugar.
Add cold water. Stir and mix until all the sugar dissolves.
Add oil. Stir briskly for 2 to 3 minutes so that everything is mixed well and emulsifies. Use any neutral oil.
Add lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir and mix again.
If you do not have lemon juice, use 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
Add the sieved dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Using a wired whisk, mix everything well until you get a smooth batter.
Ensure that there are no lumps in the cake batter. The batter has a medium thin consistency.
Pour the cake batter in the prepared cake pan or pans.
Tap the pan/pans on the countertop, so that the extra air bubbles are let out.
Baking chocolate sponge
Placing the pans in the center rack of your oven, bake the cakes in the preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius/392 Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 mins. Since temperatures vary from oven to oven, do keep a check.
For baking in a convection mode of microwave oven, preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius/356 Fahrenheit degrees for 15 minutes. Then bake the cake at 180 degrees Celsius/356 degrees Fahrenheit for the 30 to 35 minutes.
For doneness check the sponge cake with a tooth pick. The tooth pick should come out clean.
If the tooth pick is sticky, then place the cake back in the oven and continue to bake for some more minutes.
Place the pans on a wired tray and let the cakes cool at room temperature.
Note that before frosting let the cake cool completely at room temperature or wrap the cake with a cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours. You can keep the cake in a covered box and refrigerate.
In a stand mixer take the the cold whipping cream and icing sugar/confectioner's sugar/powdered sugar.
At the highest speed, whip until the cream becomes stiff. This process will vary depending on the power of your mixer.
To check, just invert the bowl. If the cream does not fall, the cream has stiff peaks. Be sure not to over-whip your cream.
Remember to chill the cream in the refrigerator at least for a day or two before you use it.
If you have used the Indian brand of Amul cream it may take 8 to 10 minutes to whip.
If you have baked one cake, then slice the cake neatly from the center with a large knife or serrated knife. You can also use dental floss to slice the cake into two.
Place one layer of the cake with the bottom side facing you. If the top of your cake is domed, then slice the top domed portion evenly so it will lay flat.
Make a sugar syrup dissolving 1 tablespoon sugar in 3 tablespoon water.
Brush the cake lightly and evenly with this sugar syrup. You can also use rum or wine instead of sugar syrup.
Frosting the sponge layers
With a spatula spread about ¼ or ⅓ of the whipped cream on top of the cake.
Then add a layer of finely chopped glazed red cherries. You can use canned red cherries, glazed cherries or fresh sweet cherries.
Sprinkle grated chocolate or chocolate shavings all over.
Cover with the second cake and brush the top with the sugar syrup.
Spread again ⅓ part of the cream on the top evenly. Spread on the sides of the cake too. If you have a rotating cake stand, this will make frosting the cake much easier.
TIP: If you don’t have a cake stand, then use a small, flat plate covered with aluminum foil and place the cake on it before icing. The foil covered plate along with the cake is kept on a heavy board. This way you can easily rotate the foil covered plate while spreading icing on the sides.
Making Black Forest Cake
Add the remaining whipped cream in a piping bag and use any decorative nozzle. Decorate the cake however you like.
Place whole cherries on top of the cake. Top with some chocolate shavings or grated chocolate.
Now cover the sides of the cake with the chocolate shavings. Take some chocolate shavings in your fingers. Gently pat and press them on the cream layer with your fingers.
Turn the cake stand as you go on placing the chocolate shavings on the cream layer all over the sides. Some chocolate shavings will fall on the the cake stand. Collect these and use them for the decoration on the sides.
Cover the cake with a large bowl without it touching the sides and place in the fridge for the cream icing to set. Keep to set for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
When the cream icing has set well, slice and serve eggless black forest cake.
Serving Suggestions and Storage
Serve black forest cake as is or for a rich luxurious treat pair with a chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy as an after meal dessert or as a sweet snack anytime of the day.
The cake stays well for about 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Keep the cake in a covered box or container when storing in the fridge.
Prep Ahead: To make the work of building a beautiful layer cake seem less daunting, I suggest you split the tasks into two days. Bake the cake a day before (or up to one ahead of time if you have a freezer!) and do the frosting the next day. The cake can be refrigerated overnight (or frozen up to one month) and the frosting can be done the next day.
No cake stand? Not a problem: If you don’t have a cake stand, then use a small flat plate covered with aluminum foil and place the cake on it before icing. The foil covered plate along with the cake is kept on a heavy board. This way you can easily rotate the foil covered plate while spreading icing on the sides.
Cold cream: Use chilled cream and equipment for making whipped cream. You want to whip the cream in as little time as possible to prevent a grainy texture, and keeping your equipment cold helps the cream stay cold while you work. You need the cream to be cold so that it can emulsify properly and the fat can hold shape to keep the air in the cream.
For light and spongy cake: Be sure to use cold water as the recipe indicates. Temperature is very important when it comes to the chemical reactions of baking, and cold water is important to creating a spongy consistency in this eggless sponge cake.
Parchment tip: Keep the serving platter clean from decorating by laying small strips of parchment down around the edges of the cake. When you’re done decorating, pull them out and your platter will look perfect.
Cherries: In my opinion, any cherries in syrup will do so long as they are not maraschino cherries. I know some may disagree with me on this point, but the artificial coloring and flavoring of maraschinos really puts me off. Morello cherries, sour cherries, sweet canned cherries, glazed cherries or even the Indian karonda berries are my personal preference.
Flour: Whole wheat flour works nicely here, but if you are not a fan, feel free to include all-purpose flour or pastry flour.
Making cake for birthdays: If you wish to make a tall layer or a large cake, scale the recipe ingredients proportionately. Bake in two 7.5 inches pan or four 6 inches pans. Do consider your oven size so that it accommodates all the pans easily. All the pans have to be kept in the center rack of the oven for even baking.