Thursday, February 20, 2014

Recipe: Black Forest Cake Trifle

This recipe is kind of a sham.

It's really just an excuse for me to talk about problem solving and show off the awesome dessert I made.

So it's a sham, but it's a delicious sham.

My friend Ashley's birthday was yesterday, and for MONTHS, she's been bugging me to make her a Black Forest cake. She said, "You're German, you can make those!"

Well...ethnicity aside, yes, I can make a Black Forest cake. The name in German is Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest cherry torte. Really, it's not named after the place, but after the liquor from that region that is distilled from cherries. 

Of course, Germany is a big country. 

*this is from

The Black Forest is actually in the southwest, near Stuttgart. 

The cake was originally associated with Berlin, in the northeast. 

My family is from Gerstenberg, a little town about an hour south of Leipzig, close to the Czech Republic's border. 

So I don't know how being German (my great-grandparents were from Germany, and I absolutely have gotten yelled at in German, but I'm also a lot English, Irish, and Native American) from Gerstenberg means I can make a Black Forest cake but I went with it. 

I mean, it was her birthday. 

Now, most Black Forest cakes look like this: 

*And, actually, this isn't the German dessert I grew up with. We had it, but we also had magenflaster, which is leftover bread dough deep fried for a few minutes, then sprinkled with granulated sugar while it's hot. So basically the best food ever.

But Ashley doesn't really like sweets, so I knew she wouldn't want a whole cake, and I don't like cherries that much. 

And then it started sprinkling. 

See, Memphis is super humid basically all the time. But we've had a rash of warm weather, and it's super humid, and my kitchen, which is tiny, has both the dryer and dishwasher in it, which doesn't help. 

So my cake baked, but I couldn't get my frosting to set. 

So I improvised. 

And made a Black Forest cake trifle. Kind of. 

A trifle is really a custard dish, but I've loosely interpreted it to mean a layered dessert. 

Semantics really. 

I started off with this: 

Yeah, I'm not really a baker. 


It's a standard cake mix: 3 eggs, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Greased pans, 350 degree oven, you know the drill. 

You'll also need: 
Cherry pie filling
Maraschino cherries
Reddi-whip/whipped cream
Milk chocolate frosting

That's it!

After it came out, and I realized nothing would set, I roughly cut the cake up into bite size pieces.

*Also, we clearly have a powerade problem in my house. 

Since I was making a small cake for Ashley and I, I actually grabbed two wine glasses to put our cakes in. 

I started by putting in some cherries, a little of the frosting, then some Reddi-Whip and a few cake pieces: 

Then I just did 2 more layers and added a final layer of Reddi-Whip and a maraschino cherry: 

This was the perfect amount for one person. 

But of course I had made an entire cake mix. 

So I made a larger trifle for my house - we have people in and out a lot, and my roommate is a boy, and one of our neighbors and friends loves cake. It will get eaten. 

And since I don't have a trifle bowl, or any glass bowls really...I put it in tupperware. I'm very classy. 

I did this the same way. Just layers until the top, when I put Reddi-Whip and cherries and smushed them together a bit, then topped with some crumbled pieces of cake. 

So good. 

The cream and the cherries and the little bit of frosting keep the cake moist. I put mine in the fridge, and when I took it out, it had kind of solidified into a more solid, coherent cake. 

This is also a lesson in not being afraid to change the plan halfway through. The thing is, if your cake tastes okay, it doesn't really matter whether it's 4 beautiful layers or all smushed together in a pretty wine glass - your friends will still love it. 

And then there's this: 


Ich liebe dich, y'all!

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