Helen's Hungarian Heritage Recipes

Helen's Hungarian Heritage Recipes
Chef Ilona Szabo Reveals The Secrets of Hungarian Cooking

Saturday, July 17, 2010

BLACK FOREST CAKE - Fekete Érdö Torta

Fekete Érdö Torta
The Black Forest is famed for its smoked hams, for bacon, and for partridges cooking in white wine, served with wine-steeped sauerkraut.  The succulent plums that ripen in orderly orchards are made into smooth brandies and compotes simmered in their own juices. 

But the crowning culinary achievement of the region is the Schwarzwaelder Kirshtorte. The literal translation is Black Forest Kirsch Torte.   In many villages, the famed Black Forest Cake was originally made with pumpernickel crumbs and fresh sour cherries. It is a decadent multi-layered dark chocolate cake, drizzled with the luscious Kirsch liqueur, filled with tangy cherries and slathered with mounds of sweet whipping cream. What makes a Black Forest Cake special is the sour cherry liqueur called Kirsch. We include it in our recipe. It is a traditional Oktoberfest Dessert.

Cake Batter
6 eggs, separated
¾ tsp cream of tartar
1½ cups sugar, divided
1½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange peel, grated
1 tsp vanilla extract OR
1 tsp rum extract or Rum
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup dark cocoa or
4 oz chocolate squares, semi-sweet

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 round cake pans (4 layers) or 3 cake pans (6 layers). Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat at high speed until foamy.  Gradually add ¾ cup sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  Beat remainder of sugar with egg yolks. 

Dry Ingredients – Sift flour and baking powder, then add to egg yolk mixture alternately with liquid, orange peel and vanilla extract.  Mix until well-blended, about 1 minute.  Batter will seem a bit stiff. Not to worry.  Fold in egg whites gently so as not to deflate.  Spoon batter into layer cake pans and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in the pans, and then turn out and slice to make desired number of layers.

Cherry Filling
1- 28 oz jar sour cherries
3½ cups icing sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp almond extract
1 stick sweet butter
½ cup cherry liqueur
2 tsp strong coffee

Combine reserved juice, cherries, granulated sugar and cornstarch in saucepan.  Cook and stir over low heat until thickened.  Remove from heat; add almond extract, strong coffee and liqueur. Set aside to cool.

Butter Cream Filling
½ cup sweet butter
3½ cups icing sugar

Blend softened butter and icing sugar until creamy. Set aside. 

Whipped Topping
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chill medium bowl and beat cold whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract with electric mixer set at high speed - until stiff peaks form.  Reserve ¼ of whipped cream for decorative piping. Keep cool until needed.

Kirsch Syrup
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 oz Kirsch liqueur

Kirsch Syrup: Make simple syrup by bringing sugar and water to a boil, ensuring all sugar is dissolved.  Cool completely, add Kirsch Liqueur.  Cut cake into layers – drizzle or brush each layer of cake with syrup.

Shaved Chocolate Curls: by using a potato peeler – Place the 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate bar into the freezer to cool.  Take the cooled chocolate slab and peel curls onto a platter.

Cake Assembly:  On a large fancy pedastalled cake plate, take small sheets of waxed paper and place in a circle. Place a layer of cake onto waxed sheets.    Sprinkle each layer of chocolate sponge cake with cherry liqueur. Spread each cake layer with butter cream and then spoon on cherries, pressing into this filling.   Place another cake layer on top and repeat.  Continue in this manner until all cream and cherries are used.  Finally, slather whipped cream on top and sides of cake.  Decorate with few cherries and chocolate shavings or curls on top and sides.

Decorating Variations

Step #1: Pipe remainder of whipped cream along top and bottom edges of cake with star tip.
Step #2: Spoon remaining cherry filling over top of cake. 
Step #3: Keep top smooth with whipping cream and decorate with maraschino cherries (stems on) and chocolate curls. Now, get your cup of tea or coffee, and Guten Appetit!

Helen’s Secret:  To form stiff peaks quickly with whipping cream, chill the mixing bowl and the beaters before beating the cream.  Also, to ensure whipping cream stays stiff, use Dr. Oetker’s Whip-It Stabilizer Whipping Cream. For best results, make cake layers 1 day a head and refrigerate. (Or if you just can't wait - at least chill it for 1 hour)  PS - You don't need a piping bag or a cake decorating degree.  Just be free and slather on the rich whipped cream.

For more amazing recipes - visit http://www.helenshungarianrecipes.com/ 

Clara Czegeny AKA Hot Hungarian Chef