One of the most decadent and gorgeous tasting cakes
There are many versions around but the only really authentic ones are baked in the Black Forest.
When I was asked by my German conversation teacher in 6th Form College which part of Germany I would like to visit, I said the Black Forest, not dreaming that I would someday end up living near there. The Black Forest sounds like a place in a daunting fairytale.
The name Black Forest/Schwarzwald derives from the dark colour of the pine trees that grow in abundance there. It is, however, a quite beautiful place with National parks and many stunning spots. It isn´t just a forest but consists of stretches of high pastures and valleys, offering all kinds of outdoor adventure.
The German name Schwarwälder Kirschtorte derives from the Kirsch which is something like gin but made using slightly sour cherries. This gives the cake its distinct taste. German law demands that any dessert officially called Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte must have Kirsch in it.
And what better thing to do, after having exerted yourself on a mountain bike trail, or climbing up some steep rocks than visit one of the many cafés in the area for coffee and a piece of the famous Black Forest Gateau.
A cake’s best friend – coffee
In Germany there is a vibrant coffee and cake culture, so here is some information about how to choose your coffee and what coffee is all about.
Cake on a plate
It is said that a true Black Forest Gateau is only authentic if made from cherries grown in the Black Forest area. I had the pleasure of spending some weeks in Gengenbach in the Black Forest a few years back. A town that featured incorrectly in the film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as Düsseldorf. I was able to view the Cherry blossom in Sassbachwalden and spent many an afternoon doing research, chatting to friends in cafés, and sampling the famous cake. In this area, the size of a piece of cake fits only on a dinner plate, definitely not on a cake plate.
Two Claims to Fame
You would think that a Black Forest Gateau would come from the Black Forest. There are two claims to fame. The first was made by Josef Keller who was the pastry chef at Café Agner in Bad Godesberg which is now part of Bonn, the former capital of Germany and not in the Black Forest. This recipe was passed down and finally printed in a cookery book in 1930.
The second claim is made by pastry chef Erwin Hildenbrand who worked in many different locations in the Black Forest. In the town of his origin, Tingen they maintain that Hildenbrand had the first recipe in 1930 with written proof. By the way, the reason why there are so many cherry trees in the Black Forest is that it was customary for newlyweds to plant a cherry tree.
The Best Black Forest Gateau we know
Our connection with the Black Forest Gateau comes by way of my daughter’s grandmother, who was born in the Black Forest. She very much disliked cherries believe it or not. At the request of her husband, she baked a gateau and it turned out so well that from that day on she baked one for every family celebration for several decades. That was one main reason for looking forward to these occasions.
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We were most likely processing bread in a very frugal way and eating grains about 23,000 years ago. 9500 BC, probably by accident, we discovered that smashing the grain or grinding it with stone got rid of the outer husks and made it more digestible.
Do you know where the word Easter comes from? It dates as far back as the Anglo-Saxon goddess named Eostre other names are Astarte or Oster. The festival of Eostre was always held approximately at the time of the Spring Equinox. Early Christian missionaries in Europe adopted the name and merged the timing and the symbolism – New Life – into the Christian celebration of Easter.
Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, which means it falls between 3rd February 9th March. This year Shrove Tuesday is on 16th February – today! So go on, fill your home with the aroma of freshly flipped pancakes.
Black Forest gateau. (2021, 5. März). Abgerufen am 23. April 2021, von https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Forest_gateau
Germany: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake). (o. D.). Abgerufen am 25. April 2021, von https://www.europeancuisines.com/German-Schwarzwalder-Kirschtorte-Recipe-Black-Forest-Cake-Cherry-Kirsch
Zeni, S. Z. (2018, 4. Mai). Black Forest Cake: The Story Behind This Legendary German Cake. Abgerufen am 15. April 2021, von https://www.finedininglovers.com/article/black-forest-cake-story-behind-legendary-german-cake
A bowl of cherries
Photo by sixninepixels FreeDigitalPhotos.net