Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is a word that is perhaps beyond the reach of many people who have not studied German. It’s a rich world with a rich history, but perhaps a bit too exotic to describe a treat most of us are probably familiar with.
And what a treat it is! Filled with rich layers (usually 4) of chocolate sponge cake, mortared together with a flavorful whipped cream and a delicious assortment of cherries, then frosted and topped with more of the same.
That’s right! The treat in question is a Black Forest Cake. And Black Forest Cake Day celebrates this most amazing and interesting treat.
History of Black Forest Cake Day
A true Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is made with the rich flavorful liquor that comes from the region for which it is named: Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser). In this region in the southeast of Germany grows a variety of tart cherries that lend the spirit its unique flavor and, in turn, provide a notable and local flavor to the Black Forest Cherry-Torte.
The cake itself certainly has a long, storied history, having first appeared in Schwarzwälder (The Black Forest) in 1915. Or at least that is the tale that was told by Josef Keller, until his death in 1981. Keller was the pastry chef who claimed to have invented the cake and has passed the recipe down through chefs in a cafe (Cafe Agner) that still exists today in Bad Godesberg.
Other legends date the cake back a couple of centuries before the birth of Josef Keller. The 16th century was when chocolate was first integrated into cakes and other baked goods, symbolizing a dark, mysterious ambience that the forests were famous for. Add in some tart cherries with cream, and the cake (also called a gateau) brings forth a blend of flavors that the Germans can certainly be proud of.
Whichever tale is true, what is well known is that this delectable treat was indelibly tied to Berlin by 1931, and has spread throughout the world to become a famous and recognizable treat.
Interestingly, there is actually a Swedish variation of this dish, consisting merely of layers of rich flavorful chocolate and whipped cream. Once this is completed the Schwarzwaldtårta is decorated with rich slivers or plates of chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder for a distinctive and delicious appearance. In spite of the shared name, it has no other relation to the Cherry-Torte mentioned above. But that doesn’t stop us from enjoying it as well on Black Forest Cake Day!
Black Forest Cake Day combines the love of all of these beautiful things: chocolate, cake, cream, cherries, forests, and Germany. No matter what, Black Forest Cake Day is the perfect chance to indulge in this German delicacy!
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How to Celebrate Black Forest Cake Day
Celebrate Black Forest Cake Day in the best way possible–by eating Black Forest Cake, in any of the dozens of varieties that this delicious chocolate treat can come in. While eating the cake is a great way to celebrate, consider these other celebration options to take Black Forest Cake Day to the next level:
Make a Black Forest Cake Treat
While the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte has a very specific recipe, there is always room for variation when a person is enjoying a Black Forest Cake! In fact, the basic idea has been developed over the years to include a whole host of different treats that can be associated with the Black Forest.
Maraschino cherries are without question a popular selection for these recipes, but they can also be made with Rainier Cherries for a sweeter flavor, or the dark red cherries that are traditional for a tarter, more striking taste.
Try making some of these or come up with other creative ideas:
- Black Forest Cheesecake. Typically a chocolate cheesecake with layers of chocolate sponge cake, topped with whipped cream and cherries in a delicious sauce.
- Black Forest Ice Cream Sundaes. A frozen take on the original, this dessert is made with a brownie base where ice cream, cherries, chocolate syrup and cream are piled on top for a delicious treat.
- Black Forest Cake Roll. A large chocolate sponge cake baked with cherries and then rolled up with an ice cream center. Served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top.
- Black Forest Yogurt. For a simple and slightly healthier treat, try piling cherries, chocolate syrup and bits of chocolate brownie on top of a bowl full of yogurt.
Share Black Forest Cake Treats with Friends
Whether they’re made at home or at a local bakery, bringing Black Forest Cake treats is sure to be appreciated when shared with friends, family or coworkers. From Black Forest Cupcakes to a gluten-free version of the cake, the little gesture of sharing a sweet treat can make a big impact on relationships.
If ordering from a local bakery, don’t forget to call ahead to see if they will be offering any deals or discounts in honor of Black Forest Cake Day.
Attend a Black Forest Festival
Those who have the opportunity can head to the cherry gateau festival that takes place every two years in Todtnauberg, Germany in the spring (even-numbered years). Pastry chefs and confectioners gather to offer their delectable creations based on the concept of the Black Forest Cake. While there, don’t forget to visit Cafe Agner, the original home of this lovely treat!
Or, if Colorado in the US is more accessible, check out the Black Forest Days Festival there, located in the Black Forest region of the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs.