Black Forest Cake
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
For the sugar syrup:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
For the filling and frosting:
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 Tbs. confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp. kirsch
- Poached cherries (see note above)
- Semisweet (plain) chocolate curls
To make the cake, sift together the flour and cocoa powder onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, vanilla and granulated sugar on high speed until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture in 2 additions and carefully fold in with a large rubber spatula. Fold a large dollop into the melted butter, then fold back into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the cake is puffed, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the sugar syrup, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
To make the filling and frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream and confectioners' sugar until medium-stiff peaks form. In a small bowl, combine the kirsch and the sugar syrup.
Run a table knife around the edge of the pan and unmold the cake onto a work surface. Turn the cake right side up, leaving the parchment paper in place. Cut the cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Put the top layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Brush with some of the syrup, then spread with about one-fourth of the whipped cream. Strew the cherries over the cream (reserve 1 cherry for garnish), leaving a 1/2-inch border of cream around the edge. Position the middle cake layer on the cream. Brush with some of the syrup and spread with another one-fourth of the cream. Position the third cake layer, cut side down, on the cream and peel off the parchment paper. Brush with the remaining syrup. Spread the remaining whipped cream on the top and sides of the cake.
Press the chocolate curls onto the top of the cake. Put the reserved cherry in the middle. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10.