Black Forest Cake

Many people assume that the Black Forest cake, known locally as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, gets its name from the Black Forest, the mountainous region in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany. In reality, however, the cake gets its name from the Schwarzwälder Kirsch, clear liquor made from tart cherries produced in the region.

This is a truly delicious cake when made authentically. For my “Baden” book I worked with a man from Baden and we shot the process of making this cake from beginning to end.

“I don’t do all the steps my mother did,” Frank, my subject, told me.

His family uses recipes that guide one to make it from scratch and, of course, the modern day adventures in the kitchen also allow for more skipping habits than, say, his mother did when he was growing up.

“The secret is to use good ingredients, though,” Frank warned, as he was finishing up the 100% cream that he used to cover the entire cake, “Otherwise you will lose that famous taste.”

So, how you need to make this cake? Unfortunately, if you just Google the recipe chances are that you will end up with a not-so-authentic version.

“As a German woman, it breaks my heart to see all of these ‘black forest cakes’ in North America made with sickeningly sweet icing and gross cherry pie filling,” says Bekah Goertzen, a member of who posted a step-by-step recipe.

The recipe requires 72-hour preparation time, and 20-minute actual cooking time.

Give it a try!

AJ Paris is a New York based photographer and the author of the up-coming coffee table book Baden


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