“So, do you want to maybe go to Germany today?”  Anne-Marie asked us. Not your usual breakfast time cconversation but it’s one of the benefits of spending time in the Alsace region of France. Taking a brief drive to have lunch in Germany is a fully realistic option. And we took our friends up on it during a trip in the fall of 2010, piled in the car and in about 30 minutes’ time were crossing the border onto German soil. Such a glorious day, the adventure, the company, the weather. Perfect.

I had no idea an iconic food experience was to be on the agenda as well. Actually two, perhaps. The sausage/pickles/vegetables lunch I had at the Sonne-Post inn our friends frequent seemed so typically German, and delightful. (Apparently that inn hosts a culinary festival each year that our friends attend without fail, staying at the inn for a weekend and indulging in great repasts served with wonderful German wines – would love to get back for that!)

But the hallmark culinary moment that day was sitting at a lovely café overlooking Lake Titisee in the sunshine, sipping tea and eating a piece of Black Forest Cake while in the Black Forest of Germany.

That cake’s been on my mind since that moment. Shortly after returning home I sought out recipes, determining in the long run to go with the recipe from the Germany volume of the beloved Time-Life Foods of the World series. The photo copy of that recipe perched on my fridge for-I kid you not-well over a year before I finally got around to my attempt at recreating that lakeside slice of cake. I picked up the requisite postcard featuring the cake at a shop in that lakeside town, more for reminiscence than anything. The recipe on that card is highly simplified and calls for 3 sheets of gelatin in the whipped cream, which was unappealing.

With friends coming over for dinner recently, I capitalized on an opportunity to make the cake I’d been staring at on the fridge for so many months. It’s really a simple collaboration of ingredients: chocolate cake and cherries (plus cherry syrup for imbibing the cake) with whipped cream for a frosting. This first go around wasn’t bad. The cake had great chocolate flavor. I used elegant griottines cherries that were delicious (plus the bonus kirsch syrup they’re stored in eliminated need to make a syrup). And what’s not to love about the richness and simplicity of whipped cream for enclosing all that goodness?

The only quibble with my results was the softness of my whipped cream, I was working to avoid getting to that “butter” stage when whipping it but probably halted the action a bit too soon. It held up okay but not as well as I’d have liked. I’ll risk butter next time.

And yes, you bet, there will be a next time. And hopefully soon. I’m glad that unexpected trip to Germany not only added a bit of unexpected fun to our vacation itinerary, but also gave me a first-hand taste of a classic cake that I know want to perfect for my repertoire. After I make it through a couple more dry runs, I’ll share the recipe. I promise!


My Black Forest Cake interpretation, version 1.