This glorious and indulgent Forêt Noire belongs to my culinary traditions rituals. The same way I cherish Maamoul (Semolina cookies) for Easter, cookies and Bûche de Noël for Christmas, I can’t imagine my Birthday without this juicy fruity creamy cake for a cosy teatime with my friends. They, by the way, can’t imagine my special day without that either although the choice of delicious cakes in Germany is far from being limited. You will be dazzled by the rich offer of cakes and pastries at the baker’s on your first visit to the country, and by the baking skills of your German friends especially on special occasions.
Nevertheless my version of the German “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte” has won their hearts, and hopefully yours. You will love the fluffiness of the sponge cake, the fruitiness of the filling and the subtle taste of rum. Relying on my memory of the famous Forêt Noire we used to buy at one of the best Pâtisseries in Lebanon, I developed the recipe to recreate the flavours from home, with one small change though. I scaled back on sugar in the cake to adapt to my newly acquired German taste buds, and I added no sugar to the cream, or to the canned fruit cocktails syrup. That way, the delicate sweetness in all German sweets, that positively surprised me at the beginning, is well balanced in this cake.
In the recipe I mention Sahnesteif, a cream stabilizer available on the German market. Knowing that it is not available everywhere in this big wide world, I searched the Internet and came across Locust bean gum, which is extracted from the seeds of the Carob tree. The gum is available as a white to yellow-white powder, is neutral in taste and to my surprise used in German kitchens to firm creams. I looked for it at the Organic shop in my town, and easily found it! Another substitute for Sahnesteif is to mix 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar with 1 teaspoon corn flour and add to 250 ml whipping cream. My sister in the States uses heavy cream instead of whipping cream without using any firming agent. She says the cream gets very firm and bravely stands up to room temperature. One final thing; do whatever suits your taste buds, so if you feel you need more sweetness, add little confectioners’ sugar to your heavy cream.
Forêt Noire - Black Forest Cake
- For the sponge cake
- 6- egg whites
- 1 pinch of salt
- 6- egg yolks
- 1 ½ - teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons orange juice
- 250 g granulated sugar
- 240 g all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons Cacao
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- For the fruit cream filling
- 800 g whipping cream
- 4 teaspoons Sahnesteif if available
- 1 large tin fruit cocktail
- 3 tablespoons rum
- Chocolate shaving or curls to garnish
- For the fruit filling: Pour in the fruit cocktail with the juice into a bowl and mix in the rum.
- Preheat oven at 180°C/ 350°F. Cover the bottom of a 26-cm round springform baking pan with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour, Cacao and baking powder in a bowl. Separate the eggs into 2 different mixing bowls.
- For the sponge cake: Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat at high speed with your mixer until it reaches the perfect foamy stiffness. Set aside. No need to wash beaters before using in the next step!
- Add the vanilla extract, orange juice and sugar to the egg yolks and beat at high speed using the same beaters until the batter doubles in size.
- Gradually add the flour to egg yolk mixture, a little at a time, folding just till blended. Next, carefully fold in third of the egg whites into the yolk flour mixture to lighten it up. Now fold in the rest of the egg whites and make sure not to knock all the air out. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes. Do the toothpick test.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, run a knife around the side of the pan to loosen the cake. Now carefully open the spring form. Place a wired rack on top of the cake and invert it. Remove the bottom of the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Let cool for at least 2 hours. At this point the cake can be tented with aluminium foil and stored overnight at room temperature.
- Place the cake on the serving platter and slice it into 3 layers, either with a thread or a serrated knife.
- For the filling: whip the cream and Sahnesteif until stiff peaks form. Drain the fruit cocktail over a colander reserving the juice. You are not going to need the whole juice! Take half of the whipped cream and mix it with the drained fruits. Reserve the other half for the frosting.
- To assemble the cake: Lift the top 2 layers and place them on the rack. Drizzle about 4 tablespoons of the reserved juice all over the bottom layer. Take half of the fruit cream mixture and evenly spread it over the bottom layer. Cover with the second layer. Repeat as before with the juice and the rest of the filling. Place the top layer over the filling. With a fork poke a few holes all around the top. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of the juice over the top layer.
- Last step: Frost the cake with the reserved whipped cream and garnish with the chocolate.
- Chill for a couple of hours before serving.
Mada Jaafar says
Hi – The sponge cake recipe does not require any oil ?
Hi, no it doesn’t. Sponge cakes don’t require any butter or oil. Also don’t grease your pan for the sponge cake. Only baking paper for the bottom. If you grease the sides the cake will not rise properly.
Mada Jaafar says
Thank you!!! i’m doing this tonight
Oh great! Looking forward to hearing from again 🙂
Farrah koudsi says
What can substitute for Rum? I wanna make this cake for a friend of mine and they don’t drink alcohol.
You can just skip it. No need to add anything else 🙂
Said Hejazi says
Thank you for this recipe. I was just telling a friend that i want a recipe for Foret Noir cake like the one i grew up eating in Beirut and when i googled Foret Noir the first recipe i came across i was very pleasantly surprised when you mentioned trying to recreate Lebanon’s Foret Noir :). . I hope this lives up to my expectations.
I have never backed before but i am about to give this a try haha
one question though are the chocolate shavings milk or dark chocolate? and i remember the whole cake being covered with them sides and top
Great to hear that! If you follow the recipe, I think you will be just fine. The chocolate should be dark, and you are right, the sides were covered with chocolate as well.
Has anyone tried making this cake? How did it turn it out?
Why are you using that much eggs? Isn’t too much? And only 1 cup flour? Does this cake taste like the Black Forest cakes in Lebanon? I’m planning to do it for a party this Sunday but worried it might fail.
Hi Mahaba, the eggs are not much for the amount of flour, don’t worry. It is a fluffy sponge cake, and it works beautifully. Never grease the sides of your pan if making a sponge cake without using, like in this recipe, oil nor butter. Better to use a springform so you can release the cake by opening the sides. See photos in the post. If you use rum like in the recipe, it will surely taste like the one in Lebanon. Many have tried the cake. If you are worried, bake it on Friday. Let cool and cover with plastic wrap till Saturday evening. Fill it and store in the Fridge. It will come out very juicy on Sunday. Good luck! PS: Using scales are of course much better than converting into cups. Anyway, if doing so, try to be accurate as much as you can. Dina
Great! Thank you Dina
I will make it Friday and store it like you said.
Will let you my comments after Sunday!
You’re welcome! I hope I was able to help. Store the sponge cake in a cool place (not Fridge). If you are satisfied with your cake, fill it in the morning and store in the fridge. Best of luck!
When you fold the egg whites into the yolks mix do you still use the beaters or you fold with a spatula?
Never!!! Always with Spatula
Hi Dina , what is 240 grams in cups and 250 grams in cups? Thank you
I am not a fan of conversion from grams to cup. In metric conversion tables a cup of flour is 120 g. So 240 g are 2 cups. But it could be misleading as there are different measuring cups. I hope your measuring cup is the one used in those metric tables. Some cups measure 150 g for 1 cup of flour. Working with grams is much more accurate. Hope You can find a way to make the cake!
Liliane Khouri says
Hello in which step I added the rum
Hi Nancy, you add the rum in the fruit cocktail with the juice, and let fruit soak in it for at least half an hour. Transfer fruits onto a colander and save juice to drizzle later on the 3 layers.
The rum is mentioned in step 1 in instructions.
Eva chehimi says
If i want to make this cake for mothers day on Sunday , is it better to do it on Saturday? can i add mote cacao powder? Thank you
Hello Eva, yes it is better to do it on Saturday. Make the cake early morning and let cool at room temperature for several hours before cutting and filling. Chill overnight. It will then absorb all the flavors. You can add more cacao, but then you need to add a little more orange juice (1 tablespoon max. I wouldn’t add more than 1 tablespoon. Good luck!
Eva chehimi says
Ok thank you dear i will let you know how it turned out 😍
Hi, this looks amazing! Do you have a recipe for forêt blanc? I’m hoping to make it tomorrow for Mother’s Day but I’m not sure if I can follow this recipe and just leave out the cacao. Please let me know! I would really appreciate it
of course you can. Just leave out the cacao. It should be fine. Good luck!
Hi Dina, I looked up many recipes and never mentioned any orange juice. Is it necessary? I want to try a new Black Forest cake like yours to see if my batter with be more spongy. I used to make it and forgot all my measurements!! Most had your ingredients for the base but not the orange juice. Lol thank you!
Hi Jenny, I have this tip from my German mother in law. The addition of water to the eggs or egg yolks makes the sponge cake fluffier. She sometimes used to substitute water with orange juice in her sponge cake recipe. So do I. Why not trying that?
Rosie Saikaly says
Hello! I just made this recipe, and the cake is chilling in the fridge, but I am worried because I noticed the whipped cream has not much taste without sugar. I am serving the cake tomorrow; will it be alright? I just read your paragraph in the beginning saying that you were not used to German desserts with no sugar when you first tried it, will we have a similar experience? or is it still going to be tasty? Thank you!
So sorry for the late response! I couldn’t open my blog while in Lebanon. I hope the cake turned out to your taste. Sweetness is an individual thing, so I hope it was sweet enough for you.
I’ve tried this cake several times and it always turns out perfect! I do have a question though, the whipping cream always tends to melt and it’s very difficult to decorate the cake. Do you have any recommendations? I usually use the liquid whipping cream boxes and whip them with vanilla extract.
Also, if I use Dream Whip (powder) instead, what would be the recocmmended measurements?
and what is the substitute of x4 teaspoons Sahnesteif?
Sorry for the late reply. I have never worked with Dream Whip powder, so I am afraid I can’t help here. As for the Sahnesteif, a good substitute is Locust bean gum as powder. You can also use unflavoured gelatin to stabilize whipped cream.
Hope this will help.
Thank you for the recipe ! I wanted the Lebanese style Foret Noire , which I believe is better than the original recipe 😊. I’m gonna make it for my daughter’s birthday . Will let you know how it will turn out .
You’re welcome! Can’t wait for your feedback! If you like it sweeter, you need to add a little sugar to whipped cream.