White Forest Cake

Written on 9th December 2011
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With cherry season in full swing, it’s time to make the most of them. And really, we can’t think of a better way than this – make this a feature on your table this Xmas perhaps??

This is an absolute cracker. Easy to make and it looks fabulous all white. There is something really alluring about fresh cake and cream – it takes me back to my childhood, when the local cake shop made all the cakes that way. Those days has have long passed, sadly. Don’t look at this recipe and say ‘this is too long for me’. It involves just making a cake, stewing some fruit and whipping cream. It started out life as a quick version of Black Forest Cake, but once you have perfection, why add more cherries and lots chocolate? Good cooking is all about knowing when to stop. You’ll love where we have stopped.

White Forest Cake

Serves 8

Cherries in brandy
750g fresh cherries, pitted
250ml brandy
2 tablespoons caster sugar

225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
½ teaspoon natural almond extract
9 eggs, separated
250g dark chocolate, coarsely grated
125g plain flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
100g ground almonds

180ml kirsch
375ml cream, whipped to soft peaks
750ml cream
125g icing sugar, sifted

To make the cherries in brandy, put the brandy and sugar in a pan over low heat and stir continuously, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the cherries, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the cherries are quite tender, but still holding their shape. Remove the cherries from the liquid using a slotted spoon, and set them aside. Increase the heat to medium and simmer the liquid for 5-10 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has evaporated and you have a syrup (be sure to watch the syrup towards the end of the cooking time so it doesn’t burn). Toss the syrup with the cherries and set aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the cake, preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease three 23cm round cake tins, and line the bases and sides with baking paper. Put the butter, 170g of the sugar and the vanilla and almond extracts into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the egg yolks, beating until well incorporated. Fold in the combined chocolate, flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds. Beat the egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the remaining sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture in three or four batches. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake tins, and smooth out the surfaces with a spatula.

Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow the cakes to cook briefly, then turn out onto wire racks lined with baking paper. Cool completely.  

To assemble, place one cake upside down on a cake plate. Drizzle with one-third of the kirsch, then spread with half the cream and sprinkle with half the cherries. Place another cake on top and repeat the process. Place the last cake on top, and drizzle with the remaining kirsch. For the icing, whip the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form, then frost the top and sides of the cake. You now have a big beautiful white cake. Yum!

From “Good Food” by Neil Perry, Murdoch Books