Black Forest gateau
|Alternative name(s)||Black Forest cake|
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Main ingredient(s)||Chocolate cake, cherries, whipped cream, Kirschwasser|
Black Forest gâteau (British English) and Black Forest cake (American English) are the English names for the German dessert Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (pronounced [ˈʃvaʁt͡svɛldɐ ˈkɪʁʃˌtɔʁtə]), literally "Black Forest cherry-torte", where it originated.
Typically, Black Forest gateau consists of several layers of chocolate sponge cake sandwiched with whipped cream and cherries. It is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. In some European traditions, sour cherries are used both between the layers and for decorating the top. Traditionally, kirschwasser, a clear spirit made from sour cherries, is added to the cake. Other spirits are sometimes used, such as rum, which is common in Austrian recipes. In India, Black Forest cake is generally prepared without alcohol. German law mandates that kirschwasser must be present in the cake for it to be labelled a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. True Black Forest cakes are decorated with black cherries.
The cake is named not directly after the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) mountain range in southwestern Germany but rather from the specialty liquor of that region, known as Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser) and distilled from tart cherries. This is the ingredient, with its distinctive cherry pit flavor and alcoholic content, that gives the cake its flavor. Cherries, cream, and Kirschwasser were first combined in the form of a dessert in which cooked cherries were served with cream and Kirschwasser, while a cake combining cherries, cookies / biscuits and cream (but without Kirschwasser) probably originated in Germany.
Today, the Swiss canton of Zug is world-renowned for its Zuger Kirschtorte, a cookie / biscuit-based cake which formerly contained no Kirschwasser. A version from the canton of Basel also exists. The confectioner Josef Keller (1887–1981) claimed to have invented Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in its present form in 1915 at the then prominent Café Agner in Bad Godesberg, now a suburb of Bonn about 500 km north of the Black Forest. This claim, however, has never been substantiated.
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was first mentioned in writing in 1934. At the time it was particularly associated with Berlin but was also available from high-class confectioners in other German, Austrian, and Swiss cities. In 1949 it took 13th place in a list of best-known German cakes, and since that time Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte has become world-renowned.
The record for the world's largest authentic Black Forest cake was set at Europa Park, Germany on 16 July 2006, by K&D Bakery. Measuring nearly 80 m² and weighing 3,000 kg, the cake, which was 10 m in diameter, used up 700 L of cream, 5,600 eggs, 800 kg of cherries, 40 kg of chocolate shavings, and 120 l of Kirsch. On 9 December 2012, a team led by chefs Jörg Mink and Julien Bompard made Asia's biggest Black Forest cake at the S-One Expo in Singapore. The 500-kg cake was made from 165 l of cream, 1,500 eggs, 68 kg of cherries, 60 kg of chocolate shavings, and 10 l of Kirsch.
Swedish "Black Forest cake"
A Swedish cake called Schwarzwaldtårta is related to the traditional Black Forest cake only by name. It consists of layers of meringue with whipped cream in between. The whole cake is also covered with whipped cream and decorated with chocolate.
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