I was thinking it’s probably about time to post some new Valentine’s Day posts. It’s that time of year that people are searching for that sort of thing so I should probably take advantage of that right? I’m not really a crafty person so a recipe it is!
For some reason when I think Valentine’s Day treats I always think of cherries. Maybe because my dad always gave my mom a box of maraschino cherries to mark the occasion. Those are a little too sweet for my liking but I do love cherries and my favorite cherry treat is Black Forest Cake. And since my whole family is currently addicted to Zumbo Just Desserts with all it’s “petit gateaus” I knew my daughter would love to get in the kitchen and help me put together some mini Black Forest Cakes.
A few notes about this recipe:
I used a three inch round cutter to make my cake layers. That gave me enough three cakes with three layers each. My layers were nice and thick so I easily could have split each layer in half and done six cakes of three layers. You could easily go down to a 21/2 inch cutter and possibly even 2 inches if you wanted something a little smaller.
I used a jar of sour cherries for this recipe. I find the slight tartness is a really nice balance with the decadent chocolate and whipped cream. I also like the softer texture of jarred/canned cherries (but not pie filler) in between the cake layers. They are easy to cut into with your fork. Feel free to use whatever kind of cherry you want. Frozen cherries (sweet or sour) work well as do fresh cherries if you can get them.
If you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe that will fill a 9×13 pan, by all means use it. I just find a cake mix easy and just as tasty for this recipe since you are putting lots of flavour into the recipe elsewhere. I used a Swiss Chocolate cake mix (I know – a Swiss mix for a German cake!).
Mini Black Forest Cake
Makes 3-6 cakes (see notes above)
- 1 box of chocolate cake mix and the ingredients listed on the box to prepare
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 2 tablespoons of kirsch OR juice from canned/jarred cherries OR 11/2 tsp of cherry extract
- Approximately 1 cup of cherries (see note above) cut in half
- 3 cups of whipping cream
- 1/3 cup of icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream
- 2 ounces of chocolate chopped into small pieces
Prepare your cake according to the directions on the box. Pour into a prepared 9 x 13 pan and cook according to the directions.
While the cakes is baking prepare your kirsch syrup. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Stir together and let the mixture come to a boil. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the kirsch (or juice or extract). Pour into a small bowl or cup and put in the fridge to cool.
Once the cake has cooled cut out rounds using a three inch cookie cutter (see notes above about size).
Once you have all your layers cut you can go ahead and make the whipped cream. Place the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and whip until peaks form.
To assemble the cakes start with one layer of cake and, using a pastry brush, brush the top of the layer with the kirsch syrup.
Next put on a generous layer of whipped cream and some of the cut cherries.
Top with another layer of cake and repeat (kirsch syrup, whipped cream, cherries). Then top with the third and final piece of cake.
Cover the entire mini cake with whipped cream.
Repeat until you have all of your cakes assembled.
To make the chocolate sauce place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Keep a close eye on it and stir it often to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Once the cream is heated pour it over the chocolate.
Let this sit for about 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. I like to place a lid (I just use a small plate) over it to retain the heat from the milk. After 5 minutes whisk the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. If you find your chocolate isn’t completely melted place the bowl in the microwave for 10 seconds and mix again. Repeat as necessary.
Pour the chocolate sauce around the perimeter of your cakes and allow to flow down the sides. *NOTE if you had to microwave the mixture to finish melting the chocolate allow the mixture to cool before you pour it over the cake or you will melt your whipped cream.
Garnish with cherries and shaved chocolate, powdered sugar if desired.