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Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

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Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is a German dessert. The English names for it are Black Forest gateau (British English) and Black Forest cake (American English and Australian English).

Typically, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte consists of several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and cherries between each layer. Then the cake is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. In some European traditions sour cherries are used both between the layers and for decorating the top. Traditionally, Kirschwasser (a clear liquor distilled from tart cherries) is added to the cake, although other liquors are also used (such as rum, which is common in Austrian recipes). In the United States, Black Forest cake is most often prepared without alcohol. German statutory interpretation states Kirschwasser as a mandatory ingredient, otherwise the cake is legally not allowed to be marketed as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.


The cake is named not directly after the Schwarzwald mountain range in southwestern Germany but rather from the specialty liquor of that region, known as Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser) and distilled from tart cherries. This is the ingredient, with its distinctive cherry pit flavor and alcoholic content, that gives the cake its flavor. Cherries, cream, and Kirschwasser were first combined in the form of a dessert in which cooked cherries were served with cream and Kirschwasser, while a cake combining cherries, biscuit and cream (but without Kirschwasser) probably originated in Germany.

The well-known confectioner Josef Keller had affirmed that he was the one to come up with the nowadays-style kirschtorte in 1915 at the Café Agner in Bad Godesberg, close to Bonn. But since this information hasn't been yet verified, it can't be stated as a fact.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was first mentioned in writing in 1934. At the time it was particularly associated with Berlin but was also available from high-class confectioners in other German, Austrian, and Swiss cities. In 1949 it took 13th place in a list of best-known German cakes, and since that time Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte has become world-renowned.

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Black Forest cake,

Germany: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake),

Black Forest Gateau (Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte),