Do You Know The Story Behind The Black Forest Cake?

There are so many stories behind this chocolate-and-cherry cake!

IMAGE Miguel Nacianceno

Cherries, chocolate, and whipped cream are the main ingredients of the Black Forest Cake. The version we know is a two-layered chocolate cake covered in sweetened whipped cream with pitted maraschino cherries dotting the top and chocolate shavings covering the sides of the cake. A bite reveals the cherry flavor further incorporated into the cake layers. 

It's the dream cake of those who love the combination of chocolate and fruits. In short, it's delicious. But did you know that the original Black Forest cake should taste different?

Contrary to what you may have tasted before, the original Black Forest cake should be soaked in a cherry liquor that isn't a maraschino cherry and is, in fact, not very sweet. 


The cream cake should be a layered confection of a liquor-soaked chocolate sponge with a rich whipped cream and sour cherries in between the layers. The liquor and cherries used gives it its intense and unique fruity flavor. It's these sour cherries which gave it its German name: Schwarzwald Kirsch Kuchen or "Black Forest Cherry Cake". The kirsch or kirschwasser (cherry in German is "kirsch" while water is "wasser") is a clear unsweetened brandy made from the sour cherries of Germany. 

There are many origin stories about the cake but what is true for all Black Forest cakes is that it's made with chocolate cake, cherries, and covered in whipped cream. Only the German version has kirsch-soaked layers, which is best enjoyed by adults only. 

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One possible origin story also claims that the cake was created by those living near the Black Forest in Germany. There is even an origin story which claims that the cake was inspired by a woman's outfit worn by the women living in the Black Forest: a black dress (chocolate), a white blouse (cream), and a unique hat which sports red pompoms (cherries) on top.


Possible? Maybe, but there are other stories that claim otherwise. 

Another story states that according to the town archivist of Tingen, it was a pastry chef named Erwin Hildenbrand who invented the cake, and it was named "Black Forest" because he had previously worked in the said place.


Another origin story from the website of the Café Schaefer claims that the creation of the cake is credited to Josef Keller, a pastry chef who passed down his recipe book to his apprentice-turned-co-worker, August Schaefer. His descendant, Claus Schaefer, is the current head chef of the shop. It was from this recipe book where a recipe for a Black Forest Cherry Cake was found. 

Despite the mystery behind the origins of the cake, the Black Forest Cake is still a well-loved cake. If you're one of those people who love the chocolate-and-cherry combo, here are two more recipes you should try so you can satisfy your chocolate-cherry cravings:

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