This Black Forest Loaf Cake can be made with or without alcohol and makes the perfect centrepiece for your holiday table! A rich chocolate cake with cherries and cream, it’s easy to make and delicious!
I have to admit, I am struggling to feel festive this week as the last couple of weeks have been truly terrible, but I thought by making and sharing this awesome Black Forest Loaf Cake, I’d make myself feel a little better because… chocolate. And cake.
Where do I start?! Certain things I can’t go into detail about because I’m getting legal advice, but I was supposed to be leaving work on Christmas Eve… instead I left last Monday. I reached breaking point with my back, the nerve pain, the muscular spasms, the sciatica… it was excruciating; my legs were numb, I couldn’t walk or drive, so I got an emergency appointment with my Doctor who took one look at me and said I wasn’t fit to work, so signed me off for the rest of my notice period. All of this because my adjustments at work were taken away by one person.
I’m also having to come to terms with the fact that I actually do have a disability. I’ve fought for so long to not be labelled as disabled and to try and be as “normal” as possible, but me trying to be bloody minded and carry on whatever pain I’m in is only making it worse. It’s been 2 weeks of resting, with one shift at work, and there’s been very little improvement. I’m still meant to be on bed rest, l can’t drive, I can barely stand and I’m so fed up. I just want a little improvement so I can at least go for a walk and get some fresh air.
My pain is nothing in comparison to our friends right now though. Last Monday night a good friend of ours had a severe stroke and is still fighting for her life. I can’t even imagine what her closest family are going through, it feels bad enough for my husband and I. While she has made remarkable progress in the last week (the doctors honestly thought she wouldn’t make it through her last operation) she is still asleep and we won’t know the extent of any damage until she wakes up.
It really makes you think how precious life is and how you can be living a normal life one day and the next you’re fighting for your life.
I’m not normally one for religion, but I have been praying to whatever or whoever is up there that she pulls through this week. She’s got a loving husband and two young sons and it’s not her time. It just can’t be. They need her back.
Let’s talk about more positive things like this Black Forest Loaf Cake. I am a sucker for chocolate and cherry anything and whilst Black Forest Gateaux normally have kirsch in, because we are teetotal I made this version without and it tastes just as good.
I made a rich chocolate cake, folded in tinned cherries then baked it before pouring the liquid from the cherries on top of the cake whilst still warm.
The infusing of the cake really ramps up the cherry flavour and helps keep the cake tender.
I’ve said in the recipe that you can add kirsch to the cake batter, but it’s completely up to you. Do you want a family friendly centrepiece for your Christmas table, or is it adults only..? 😉
I decided to make this a loaf cake because, while traditional layer cakes looks the part, I understand that at Christmas, we are all incredibly busy and we need something that looks amazing, but is easy to make for dessert!
Once you’ve baked the cake and poured the cherry juice on, you just have to wait for it to cool before spreading whipped cream on top and sprinkling chocolate shavings and cherries to finish it off.
5 minutes to decorate, but you still end up with a cake worthy of being on your Christmas table!
Black Forest Loaf Cake
- For the cake:
- 1 1/2 sticks (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) caster/white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp kirsch, optional - I didn't use it
- 3.5 oz (100g) dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 1/4 cups (315g) plain/all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
- 2/3 cup (135g) tinned cherries, drained - sieve over a bowl and reserve the juice for later.
- For the topping:
- 1 1/4 cups (300ml) double/heavy cream
- 3 tbsp caster/white sugar
- Fresh cherries and shaved chocolate for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F and spray a 2lb loaf tin with cooking spray. Take a thin strip of grease proof paper with enough length to have overhang either end of the pan and place along the middle. This will make it easier to life the cake out later.
- Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy, around 2 minutes on medium-high speed.
- Add in the eggs, vanilla and kirsch, if using, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until well incorporated, around 1 minute on medium speed.
- Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and mix briefly to combine.
- Add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix until it begins to come together, then add the milk.
- Mix on medium speed until everything is well combined and smooth. Tip in the tinned cherries and fold in by hand.
- Tip the batter into your prepared loaf tin and smooth into an even layer. Place into the oven for 60-70 minutes, until risen and an inserted skewer into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes before taking a skewer and poking holes all over the top of the cake. Take your reserved cherry juice and spoon it over the cake. You may not need it all, just slowly spoon it over and wait for it to absorb. I used about 7 spoonfuls of cherry juice - you want the cake to be moist, but not soggy with cherry juice.
- Leave to cool completely before lifting the cake out onto a plate to decorate.
- Place the double cream and sugar into a large bowl and whisk until firm peak. You want to be able to pull the whisk out and it holds the peak, but the tip bends over.
- Either spread the cream over the top of the cake, or place in a piping bag and pipe swirls over the top. Place fresh cherries on the top and sprinkle shaved chocolate over the cream. If you have any cherry juice left, you can also spoon a little bit over the cream.
- Slice and serve!
- Black Forest Loaf Cake will keep covered, in the fridge, for 3 days. Without the cream topping, the cake will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature for 4 days, so you can make this ahead of time and just decorate it when required!