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I believe that salt is to food, what food is to life. In right proportions, it can heighten the taste of what you eat..and in the wrong - destroy! Even the most delicious sweets come added with some salt...to taste!

As for me, I've never enjoyed cooking. And as contrary to my owning a food-blog as it may sound, I always think about daily, routine cooking as a chore. But my tryst with the pots and pans began when I got a kitchen all to myself...I began experimenting and exploring new worlds in my own home. Some outcomes were excellent and some plain disasters. Then sprouted the need to keep track of all those good ones...and hence this blog!

Here, I share those experiments that pleased more than one palate!

August 5, 2010

Black Forest Cake

While baking regular cakes and frosting them for every birthday in the family became a routine, the only stone left unturned was to try and bake the master of all things pastry - Black Forest Cake. Just the three words all by themselves have the power to get anybody into an indulgent mood. That said, this year I decided I would take the plunge and try my hand at baking this divine dessert for my hubby's birthday (psst... and mine, too, which followed!)The last two weeks saw me making frequent trips to the grocery store as I tried to put together all the ingredients needed to make this fabulous cake long before the big day. Besides, since the procedure is a bit long drawn (But it is definitely not difficult! If I can do it so can you!!) I decided to spread the whole baking and decorating process over three days. If you love eating and baking, you will enjoy every single moment of putting together this luxurious cake!

So, two days prior to the birthday, I baked the Chocolate Cake which forms the base of the entire Black Forest Cake. One day ahead, I did the layering and basic assembly of the cake using sugar syrup, cherries and whipped cream. By this time, my cake had trippled in size and it sat the lowest rack in my refrigerator and I kept my fingers crossed that hubby dear would not notice it, since it was enrobed in cream and sort of got camouflaged into the white colour in the fridge. I decided to hit the sack early that night (although excitement of finishing up the cake decoration and all sorts of ideas kept me from falling asleep for a long, long time) and as I walked towards the bedroom I did the most stupid thing I'd have ever done in my whole life. I asked hubby - "Did you open the fridge this evening?". He was like, "Umm..No. But what kind of a question is that?". He obviously thought I was insane. Then I went ahead and said, "Oh why? Can I not ask you anything like that?" Good lord!! What was I talking? He smirked.

I decided that very moment to grab him down to open the fridge. Would you believe that? I showed him the cake that sat shabbily covered in whipped cream. I simply had to do it, lest he ends up dropping something on the cake if he wanted something from the fridge while I was asleep. I had done some random design on it with my star nozzle. Sadly, even after buying everything for the cake, I forgot to pick up piping bags for the frosting of the whipped cream and the damn nozzle kept slipping inside my zip-top plastic bag as I piped. So, I did the worst frosting work ever and ended up making the cake look like a pathetic attempt to decorate a wedding cake (which you see below) and decided to wake up early the next day to really fix things up to make it look perfect. He smiled on seeing the shabby cake and said "Thank you". I was like "Ugh! Guess what cake it is, will you?" (We women never quit, do we?) He goes, "How in God's world would I know....you have bathed the whole thing  in cream!!" That had us all in peels of laughter. So, I told him I would save at least that bit for his surprise the next day. And, on my hubby's birthday I gave the cake its finishing touches and final decoration just before he woke up - all in time for the surprise!!

Here's a pic of the disastrous decoration that sat in my fridge awaiting repair work.....

The next morning I woke up about half an hour early and fixed the decoration. I placed the done-up cake on the counter. The moment he freshened up and came out of the bathroom, I beckoned him into the kitchen to see and guess what sat awaiting him!

"Oh....Black Forest, huh! That looks good!". Was I relieved or what?! Now, so much for having bored you to death with that long story. But, good food is worth long stories, right? Ok. Ok! Here's the recipe!

Oh hang on!!! Before I jump into it, just one last thing. I've split up this recipe for a three layered cake into three steps:

STEP I - Baking the Chocolate Cake Base
STEP II - Layering and Basic Assembly
STEP III - Decorating the Cake to a Finished Product

I feel I've gone back to my Technical Writing profession talking about steps and procedures as write User Manuals all over again! Well well!
So, each of these steps can be done one day at a time. Now, that's easy, is'nt it?

STEP I - Baking the Chocolate Cake Base
This step involves baking a choclate cake which acts as a base to the entire finished product. If you intend to make Chocolate cake anytime, just follow this one and you'll have a moist chocolate cake ready in no time!
Ingredients for the Chocolate Cake (Base of the Black Forest cake)
1 Cup All purpose flour (Maida)
1 Cup Confectioner's Sugar/Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Butter - Unsalted, at room temperature
3 Extra Large Eggs, at room temperature (If you are using small eggs, use 4 nos.)
3/4 tsp Baking powder
3/4 tsp Baking soda
3.5 tbsp Cocoa powder
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1/4 Cup Milk
A pinch of salt

- Preheat oven to 350F and prepare baking dish by smearing oil/butter all over the insides. Dust flour to evenly cover all parts of the dish to prevent the cake from sticking to it once baked
- Cream together butter and sugar and set aside
- In a large bowl, sift together all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Repeat the sifting process into another large bowl to make sure you have a homogenous mixture of all these dry ingredients
- Now, break eggs into another bowl and beat until fluffy/frothy (about 10-15 minutes) and doubled in quantity
- Pour the beaten eggs into the creamed sugar-butter mixture and beat again until well mixed
- Add the vanilla essense to this wet mixture
- Slowly pour and fold in small quantities of this wet mixture into the dry ingredients using a flat spatula, as you combine it all together to form a smooth batter.
- This batter may be thick, so pour in the milk gradually until such a point where you are easily able to maneuver your spatula in the same and batter is all creamy and dreamy
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish (I have used a 9" round dish) and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when pierced in the center of the cake
- Once baked transfer the cake onto a cooling rack to allow the cake to come down to room temperature

If you intend continuing to STEP II, make sure the cake is completely cooled. But if you want to go to STEP II the next day, go ahead and place the cooled cake in the refrigerator overnight.

STEP II - Layering and Basic Assembly

This step involves cutting the cake into layers, dousing them in sugar syrup and topping them off with whipped cream and chopped cherries. Sound's easy breezy, does'nt it? Go right ahead and do it!
Take your cake out of the fridge and place it on your contertop until you grab the ingredients required to layer and frost it. This will allow the cake to come back to a warmer temperature before you flip it over your cake board/plate (The one on which you intend cutting it in the end). Now, get hold of all the following things from around your kitchen/pantry.

4 Cups - Whipped Cream/Topping (I used store bought ready-made whipped cream to save me some time. If you intend making it from scratch, go right ahead. Just whip together, in a chilled bowl,  3.5 Cups of heavy whipping cream along with 1/2 Cup (or more if needed) of Confectioner's sugar  until it forms soft peaks)
1 Bottle of Maraschino cherries (without stems) in syrup
3/4 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar (Regular sugar)

- In a saucepan, combine the water and granulated sugar and set to a boil
- Once the sugar melts, turn off the heat and set aside to cool
- Now, head back to your cake and flip it over your cake board/plate. If you feel the cake is giving you a hard time flipping over (and if you have used a microwave safe dish to bake it) then toss the cake, prior to struggling to get it out of the baking dish, into the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. This will warm up the cake and allow for it to be easily lifted off (by slowly tugging at the sides using a broad off-set spatula) and flipped over onto your cake board. Yet, be careful as you do this so that you dont end up with a broken cake!
- If your cake seems to wobble, turn it back onto original position and smooth away any bulging parts (using the serrated/ridged knife) and flip again onto your cake board so you have a sturdy base to work with. You could place a paper towel below your work area for all the (yummy) mess that follows
- Using a serrated/ridged knife cut the cake into two slices horizontally to form a three layered cake. Remove layers and set aside. Remember in which order and direction you have placed them, lest you end up placing them back in the opposite/wrong way leading to an odd shaped cake after its all done!
- Separate the cherries (I used only 3/4th of a 16oz./1lb bottle) from the syrup. Do NOT discard the syrup. Keep aside in a bowl.
- Chop cherries randomly into small pieces and set aside in another bowl
- (Optional step) Now, take about 5 tbsp of the cherry syrup and mix it with the cooled down sugar syrup to give the cake some extra cherry flavouring.
- At this point you should have one layer (the lowest one for the final cake) on your cake board. If not, place it on the same and mount it on your turn-table (Or put together a make-shift turn-table like I do - I just flip a large steel plate to place the cake, and then I mount this on my round chapati rolling stand. You can see it in one of the images below. Works just perfectly!)
- Lightly drizzle about 1/3rd of the quantity of the sugar syrup (or sugar-cherry syrup if you've included the previous step) over this layer of the cake, covering the entire surface area. This step is what gives the final cake that super moist texture!
- Now, scoop about 1 Cup of the whipped cream and drop the humongous dollop onto the lowest layer using a frosting spatula
- Spread all over the layer covering it completely such that you have a thick layer of whipped cream on it. Add more cream if you think your cream layer is not too thick since this is dependant on what size of a baking dish you used/size of your cake. A 1/2 to 3/4th inch thick layers of cream seem fine to me, but indulge if you like more!
- Now, sprinkle the chopped cherries over this cream layer. Your done-up layer should look similar to the image below

- Place the middle layer on top of this. Smooth out any cream that seems to be seeping out between the layers and place in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to set
- Pull out and mount the cake back on the turn-table. Repeat spplication of the the sugar/sugar-cherry syrup, topped up with the whipped cream and cherries to this layer and place the top-most/final layer
- To this top-most layer just drizzle the sugar/sugar-cherry syrup
- Now, using the frosting spatula drop about 1/2 to 3/4th cup of whipped cream and frost the entire cake. Your cake should look somewhat similar to the image below

- Don't worry too much if its not a very smooth coating all over since you can fix that in the next step
For now, place this frosted cake in the refrigerator overnight to allow all the flavours to marry, and try to get a good night's rest for the big day: The day you'd finish decorating and cutting and most importantly EATING the cake!

STEP III - Decorating the Cake to a Finished Product
This step involved coating the cake with a smooth layer of whipped cream and topping it up with all that you desire. Yup, yup! We're almost done and I am SO proud that you've read this far. Keep going...your divine dessert awaits you at the end of all this.

Left over whipped cream (You should have about 1.5 Cups left since we used only 2.5 cups before this)
4 oz bar of Semi-sweet Chocolate (I used Hersheys)
2-3 tbsp Chocolate syrup (I used Hersheys, again. I should probably rename this cake to Hersheys Black Forest cake, eh?)
A handful of Maraschino cherries, drained completely (You can use stemmed ones here if you wish)

- Chop the chocolate into slivers/shavings using a sharp, ridged knife and set aside in a bowl/box back in the fridge, so as to avoid melting
- Take small dollops of whipped cream and apply a layer of cream over the sides of the cake as you simultanuously rotate your turntable. Use smooth back and forth motions to cover the entire cake (sides) evenly. Dont worry too much about tiny peaks and valleys. We'll work on them in a few steps.
- Drop about 1/2 Cup of whipped cream on top of the cake and spread out evenly using a flat spatula
- Run your spatula against the top edge to remove any excess cream between the sides and the top of the cake
- Now dip a steel frosting spatula, in hot water, wipe with a towel and spread out any uneven parts of the frosted cake as you rotate the turntable, to get a smooth finished look
- Using a wide spatula, dab on the slivered chocolate on to the sides of the cake. I hope you still have that paper under your turntable. Don't tell me that I did not caution you against this yummy mess!!
- Be careful while doing this so that you dont lose out on the smooth finish of the cake. You can still see some flaws in mine! I really have to work on frosting cakes!!
- Place cherries one inch apart on the edge of the top of the cake
- Now, pipe dollops of whipped cream between each cherry
- Drizzle the chocolate syrup in a zig zag pattern and voila!

WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!! Pop the cake in your fridge for a couple more hours to set it. Take it out just about 20-30 minutes prior to cake cutting/serving time. I like it that way 'cuz it gets the juices flowing as the cake comes to room temperature. But, if you like it really chilled, go ahead and dig in.

You still here? Ok, nice! Now, cut up a slice of your Black Forest Cake (Ah! finally we get to call it that!) and thank the creator of this world to have given humanity the capability to create something this fabulous. As for me, I am off to sing the popular hindi song - "Tera mujhse hain pehle ka naata koi, yuhin nahi dil lubhata koi" (You share a long-lost bond with me...How else would somebody seem so dear to my heart?!)  to the last slice of my Black Forest Cake!

Makes 12 slices of pure joy!

I'm sending this one to Madhuri's Chocolate Fest  as she celebrates the first anniversary of her blog, Cook-curry Nook.


  1. wow, wow, wow, it has come out so beautifully !!! Congratulations on mastering this one as well :)

  2. Holy Molly! I was laughing in the beginning, but by the end of reading the post, you knew what happened to me right? Yes, I certainly was uncontrollably drooling by the gallon!

    Wonderfully explained with the 3-step thingy to make the 3-layered piquant cake. Terrific job with the frosting too...and all that whipped cream in the pic of the slice, did nothing to help me. If I chaffe from my diet, I know just who to blame now...lol!!

    Im sure anyone who reads this post will be tempted to run into their kitchen to whip up a BFC right then and there!

  3. As I said before LOVELY!!!! Thumbs up for a very detailed post/instructions too :) Bet all the effort was worth it!!!!

  4. i loved reading the write up..it happened with me ..my hubby kept teasing me when I was trying to decorate a cake for my son's b'day..but it came out wonderful after he gave me a lot of tips..
    Lovely cake..have to do this sometime..

  5. wow deepti ,u r awesome dear ...black forest cake looks divine ...very beautifully explained ...thanks for sharing dear ...i will try sure

    wow its a beautiful halwa priya ...i heard about this before but prepared it ...it looks so gorgeous ...i will surely prepare this ...bookmarked


  6. Thanks everyone! I'm glad I've not lost touch of explaining things in detail. But the real test is when you try making a BFC using this recipe. So, do try it out and let me know how well I've done! Thanks heaps for reading up!

    @ Satya - Think you've put a comment meant for Priya's blog by mistake out here. Thought I'd let you know!

  7. my fav BFC of all time...hats off to ur patience deepti...truly worth the pain...divine,bful.gorgeous,heavenly,mindblowing,fantabulous...mmmmmmmm..short of words...great jov deepti...wish i was ur neighbour.....keep rocking girl..hugs

  8. Caught ya girl!! Making this sinful, super BFC and making us all drool like crazy!! This sure is one cake which beckons you again and again. Fab job Deepti!!

    Psst.. You gotta carry a huge cake like this for me when u come to India:-))

  9. @ Sanyukta - Tx! Btw, have you moved to NJ?

    @ Suma - LOL! I sure would love to bring one for you...only don't complain if all you get is a tiny piece...Cuz with me bringing it down, there is no promise I'd not nibble on it all the way thru (and its a long, long way!!). How about we Blr Bloggers bake this sinful treat together someday when I'm there, instead :)

  10. Loved the story, and the cake! Nice step by step recipe. I love baking blackforest cake and eating it too!

  11. Drool. Loved reading the detailed post and now I can't wait to bake this BFC.

  12. hey deepthi..long time since i commented in ur blog.was on vacation....BFC has always been a "to-die-for'" cake...ur story and the how -to- make -it part was so nice....i hope to try this soon

  13. Thank you Radhika and Binsu. Do try this one out. It's way easier than you think!

  14. hi,
    I am new to this blog. But I love your recipes.
    Can you please tell me the brand of whipped topping you used here, and also which flavor?

  15. Hey Ramya!

    Firstly, welcome to SSTT. I am glad you liked what I have out here.

    As regards the whipped topping, I have used a local supermarket (Shoprite) brand for this one. And, I have not used any flavoured one it is the regular whipped topping. Hope this helps. Do leave me a note if you need any other information. Glad to help!


  16. Oh yes...I am so glad you replied. Well, I don't have a hand mixer here but wanna bake Black forest cake. I have a box of Duncan hines vanilla frosting. Can I use it in between layers or should I get some thing else like Readi Whip (aerosol spray whipped topping) or Cool whip?
    Please help me asap...

  17. @ Ramya - I do not have a hand mixer too. But, I do have a whisk ...and whisk I do - until my hands hurt! LOL. Time to invest in a good hand mixer for me, too!

    And, nopes you cannot use Duncan Hines Vanilla frosting. That is icing and not whipped cream. What you need is Cool Whip or a store brand equivalent of the same (like what I've used). I would not recommend aerosol spray whipped topping because you cannot control the quantity as you possibly would with boxed whipped topping. Secondly, I am not too sure how well aerosol toppings would hold once you assemble the cake. So, go and pick up Cool Whip and bake your BFC soon! If possible do send me pics to somesalttotaste@gmail.com!
    Haffun baking!

  18. @ Ramya - Just a couple pointers on Icing/Frosting: Duncan Hines/Betty Crocker or any other brand of Frosting that you get (whipped or regular) which is stored in the supermarket aisles (not refidgerated) are all normally vegetable oil/butter/butter cream based frostings. On the other hand, for things like Black Forest and Pineapple Pastry you have to use whipped cream, which you get in the freezer/refridgerator section of your supermarket, which is nothing but fresh cream whipped with sugar to form soft peaks. This is what makes the pastry as delicious as it is! I hope this extra information helps you. Do get back to me if you need to know anything else. I will help you to the best of my knowledge.

  19. Thanks you for the suggestions...I have finally made the cake. I used Cool whip and instant pudding mix for frosting..My husband loved it so much.thanx again!

  20. Thanks so much for being a part of the Chocolate Fest, as part of Cook-curry Nook's 1st Anniversary celebrations! Hope you had a rollicking time preparing all those chocolate goodies and devouring them. The winner of the giveaway will be announced shortly, along with the round-up. Keep those fingers crossed! May lady luck be with you :)


  21. yippie deepti,i did it....finally i made this cake,it was yummylicious,as my lil one sez...

  22. @ Binsu - AWESOME!! Once you're done gorging down this you could possibly try the Pineapple Pastry, too. It's on the same lines. I am SO GLAD you all loved it.

  23. hi deepti ..made this cake for my hubby s bday today using ur wonderful instructions ...it turned out soooooo well ..thanx a lot for having the patience to write in such detail ....

  24. Hey Zarina!

    I am more than happy to know that you tried this recipe and it came out very well. I am super thrilled that you and your family enjoyed it. Do keep checking back for more delicious posts!

    Also, you can now find Some Salt to Taste on Facebook. Do leave me your comments/suggestions/photos of tried recipes etc. Would love to hear from you!

  25. Hi Deepti,

    I discovered your blog just 3 days back and since then I cannot stop myself from reading your posts. The recipes are amazing and more than that the stories behind the recipes are even more interesting. Keep up the good work and thanks a lot for the great recipes.