Weekend Cooking: Black Forest Birthday Cake

I have had the fortune to be married to a sweet, kind, loving man for nearly six years now. It was his birthday on Friday (yup he was a Halloween baby. But this didn’t really mean anything in Singapore, at least not at that time).

Anyway, I’m a terrible gift-giver. I asked him to get himself a Lego set (ahem, so I could build it too!).

And so I made cake.

More specifically, Black Forest Cake. His favourite cake.

I kept dithering over this, trying to figure out if I had the time and the opportunity to actually set myself to the task. Plus I am horrible, absolutely horrible at decorating cakes. But I decided to just give it a go. Again.

So yeah, I made this last year, but the difference was my Mum was around! I had someone who could lend a hand, either with the baking or the kids.

But on Baking Black Forest Cake Day, the stars aligned and I had this big chunk of time when the 18-month-old decided to take a 2.5 hour nap!

So after picking up Wee Reader from preschool, and getting him to sit down and finish his lunch and eat some fruits, and plonking the younger one in the high chair so he could eat some grapes, I quickly got the cake batter going.

I grabbed this Double Chocolate Cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen to make the cake layers. I wanted something moist and liked the sound of using buttermilk and the coffee. As well as chopped chocolate and cocoa powder. It sounded like a good cake. I did cut quite a bit of sugar, using only 450 g to the original 600 g, which sounded like way too much. Plus I figured with all my frosting/cherries, it would be sweet enough.

So while the cake was baking, about an hour, I played with the kids, read stories, put the younger one to nap. Then had Wee Reader play with his box of beans and construction toys. Then some Legos. Then when all else failed, let him watch the cake-making. And a promise to let him eat the whipped cream and cherries.

And it was onto making the other parts of the cake.



With the Morello cherries, I set aside 12 cherries for decoration. Then added a couple of tablespoons of sugar (or however sweet you want it), added a bit of cornstarch to some cherry juice (from the jar) to form a paste. Then added the paste and a few tablespoons of cherry juice to the pot and heated it all, stirring until it thickened. Let cool.

By this time, the cake was done, I placed the layers on a rack to cool. When it was cooler, I sliced the cake. I had made one in a shorter round tin, the other in a springform tin (higher sides), so only sliced the one in the springform cake in half.

And made a chocolate ganache using 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate pieces. The Smitten Kitchen recipe has a chocolate ganache recipe but I didn’t want to use corn syrup.



I used the rest of the pint of whipping cream, adding some icing sugar, whisking until stiff peaks form.




Making sure the cake was completely cool, it was time to assemble the cake. I spooned some cherry juice from the jar onto each layer first. Just as an extra way to keep it moist. I hope!




First slather some chocolate ganache all over. Then add half the cherry mixture. Then top with the whipped cream.



Then add second layer of cake and repeat.





I had three layers of cake.

I wasn’t really interested in slathering the whole cake with whipped cream. Well, plus there was the simple reason that I didn’t have any more heavy cream left to whip. So I topped it with the chocolate ganache and the cherries I had saved for ‘decorating’.

If you’re a better cake decorator than I am, buy more cream! Then do that magical thing where you slather it around the cake and up the sides and make it all gorgeous and perfect. Then add some chocolate curls or chocolate rice or chocolate shards around the sides. Oh perfection! (Like this beauty here).



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  1. OMG that looks awesome! I”m not a great decorator either, but I figure that ultimately it’s the taste that matters, right?


    1. That is true! I’ve had one too many pretty cakes and cupcakes where it’s all about the frosting and the cake itself doesn’t taste of anything!


  2. Looks good! Dark and delicious. You are probably right that more cream would make it look “prettier” but then it would taste a bit much.


      1. I went to a friend’s house and she had bought Waitrose Black Forest trifle, in a PMT moment. We all had small helpings (the cream had a “long life” feel about it, and I am sure there is not chocolate sauce in a Black Forest gateau.)


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