Baden-Württemberg is the federal state which is home to the beautiful Black Forest, Schwarzwald. It is also the name given to one of Germany's most calorific cakes – the Black Forest gateaux.
Slightly at odds with the naughty but nice gateaux are the health spas which the region is famous for. Baden-Baden has become popular for its thermal baths which have made it a sought after summer destination. It is famed world wide as one of Europe's most luxurious spa towns.
The beautiful town of Calw is renowned for its picturesque buildings and market square. Most tourists begin their exploration if the Black Forest from Calw. There are bistros and restaurants where visitors can sample Black Forest treats such as the famous gateaux.
Triberg Falls are Germany's highest and most spectacular waterfalls. They are illuminated during the early morning and night and tourists flock to view the breath taking attraction like moths to a flame.
The Black Forest is imposing and a little scary. The brothers Grimm set the dark story of Hansel and Gretel amongst the forests dark ever green canopy. The forest region is also home to the oldest known cuckoo clock makers in the country. The wood from the forest is used to produce finely carved clocks which chime the hour with the iconic cuckooing bird.
The Black Forest is one of Germany's most spectacular areas and the cake isn't bad either!
What you'll need
60g plain flour
5g cocoa powder
25g caster sugar
40g butter, softened
2 tsp kirsch
6 large eggs
140g soft light brown sugar
60g cocoa powder
700g morello cherries in syrup
3 tbsp kirsch
500ml double cream
50g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
300g morello cherry jam
25g dark chocolate, to decorate
How to make amazing Black Forest Gateaux
For the pastry layer:
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Whisk together, then mix in the remaining ingredients to make a dough. Wrap in cling-film and chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and grease the base of a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
Roll out the pastry to 5mm thick and use to line the base of the tin. Prick all over with a fork, then bake for 15 minutes, until crisp.
Remove from the tin and set aside on a wire rack to cool.
Grease and line the tin.
For the sponge:
Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until they begin to thicken. Sieve over the cocoa powder and a pinch of salt and fold in.
Whisk the whites in a separate clean bowl, until stiff but not dry.
Fold a little of these into the yolk mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest very gently, so you knock as little air out as possible.
Carefully spoon into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 35-40 minutes, until puffed up and set on top. Leave to cool in the tin.
Drain the cherries, retaining the syrup. Mix 100ml of it with the kirsch.
Cut the cooled cake into three horizontal slices and put on separate plates. Spoon half the syrup over the slices and leave to sink in. You can add more if it is all absorbed, but don't overload it.
Whip the cream until thick, then sift in the icing sugar and add the vanilla extract. Whisk until voluminous, but not too stiff to spread.
Put it all together:
When you're ready to assemble the cake, set aside 12 cherries, then put the pastry layer on a cake stand or board. Spread with a quarter of the jam, a fifth of the cream and a quarter of the remaining cherries. Put a sponge layer on top and repeat the jam, cherry and cream layer. Repeat again with the other two layers, and press down gently.
Use a palette knife to spread the remaining cream on top in big, puffy waves. Grate chocolate curls generously over them, and arrange the remaining cherries around the edge. Chill for an hour before serving.