Tag Archives: birthday cake

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}If you’re wondering where the cherries and chocolate cake are in this Black Forest Cake, well, this isn’t your average Black Forest Cake.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Ohhh no. This is my take on a hometown favorite: Black Forest Cake from Swiss Pastry Shop in Fort Worth, Texas. My mom and grandmother used to take my sister and me to lunch at Swiss Pastry Shop several times a year, and while the sausages and German potato salad were delicious, we were all really in it for the cake. In fact, I think most people who go to lunch at Swiss Pastry Shop are in it for the cake.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}There’s a reason the citizens of Fort Worth are so in love with this cake—it’s absurdly good, and unique for that part of the world. Made by layering crisp almond dacquoise (meringue with nuts) and whipped cream, and coated with thin chocolate sprinkles and shaved dark chocolate, this cake is hardly a cake at all. It’s pure bliss! Cold, crisp, super-light, creamy, nutty, chocolaty, naturally gluten-free bliss.

Full disclosure: it’s probably my all-time favorite dessert.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}I’ve thought for years that Swiss Pastry Shop’s Black Forest Cake was unique to them—I mean, I’ve never seen or heard of it anywhere else. Turns out, it’s actually a Swedish cake and unrelated to the cherry-chocolate version, only sharing a name (Schwarzvaldtårta). Who knew?!

(Cambridge Cowgirl and Wikipedia. They knew.)Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Now, I’m not going to pretend that this is a carbon copy of Swiss Pastry Shop’s cake—I cannot figure out how they get their dacquoise so thick!—but it tastes *exactly* right and hit the spot on my birthday a couple weeks ago. I made a teeny-tiny version on a whim, because if I had to turn 35 in a pandemic, there was *going* to be excellent cake. And, well, it just doesn’t get much more excellent than Black Forest Cake.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}I had no plans to put it on the blog (two home bakers have already posted their own versions), but other Black Forest Cake-deprived friends kept asking for it, so I tested and re-tested six times and here we are. Until the day that Swiss Pastry Shop figures out a way to ship, anyway.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake requires some skill and a time commitment, but is not actually difficult to make. Here are some tips for success.

-Don’t make this on a humid day and keep all your equipment squeaky clean. Whipped egg whites are temperamental.
-For the best flavor and texture in your almond dacquoise, grind your own raw almonds. I tested this recipe with both store bought almond meal and almond flour, and while they both work, they don’t hold a candle to fresh ground almonds.
-You don’t have to trim the layers after baking, but it makes them easier to stack and results in a more streamlined finished product.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}
-Use good chocolate sprinkles. The stuff in the ice cream topping section will work, but India Tree Chocolate Vermicelli or hagelslag are the very best. I promise you’ll find ways to use up the leftovers.
-Don’t wait to serve this cake—day-of is ideal. As with many whipped egg white-based things, the dacquoise will weep and degrade over time. If you have leftovers, I have included freezing instructions at the end of the recipe.
-If you want to make a tiny cake, halve the recipe and spread the dacquoise in two 4-inch circles before baking. Alternatively, make one 8-inch layer, then use a 4-inch ring to cut out two layers. Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Whew! Okay, I think that’s all. This one was a labor of love, y’all. Not for yours or mine, but for the love of cake. Really excellent cake.Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}
inspired by Fort Worth’s Swiss Pastry Shop
makes one 8-inch cake

Almond Dacquoise:
1 1/4 cups whole raw almonds*
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (granulated sugar will work)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 large egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt

Whipped Cream:
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, very cold
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

For assembly:
1/3-1/2 cup high-quality chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved or finely chopped
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Read the recipe all the way through before beginning. There is a large time commitment (mostly hands-off).

Egg whites will not whip properly if they are not treated well. Do not attempt this on a humid day. Before beginning, please ensure that all equipment used in this recipe is very clean and dry. I like to wipe down the bowl(s), whisk, and mixer attachments with vinegar before starting the recipe. There is no way to salvage this recipe if the egg whites are contaminated with oil, yolk, or even water.

Preheat oven to 250F. Using an 8-inch round pan as a template, use a pencil (or other writing implement) to trace 8-inch circles onto two pieces of parchment. Turn parchment pieces over (pencil-side down) and place on two rimmed baking sheets. Set aside.

Make the almond dacquoise. Place almonds in a food processor and process for 30-45 seconds, until finely ground. Do not over-process (it could veer toward almond butter). Measure out 1 1/2 cups of your homemade almond meal. Stir in the cornstarch. Set aside.

Stir together sugar and cream of tartar. Set aside.

Combine egg whites and salt in a very clean, dry mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with a very clean, dry whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until very foamy—the whisk should be leaving faint tracks. Turn speed up to medium-high. With the mixer running, add sugar to egg whites 3-4 teaspoons at a time. This will take a few minutes. Mixture should start to look glossy and begin stiffening up. Turn mixer speed up to high and beat continuously until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.

Add half the almond meal to the egg whites and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold it in. Repeat with the remaining almond meal.

Divide mixture into the circles on the two prepared pans (you may pipe if desired). Use an offset spatula to gently spread the mixture to the drawn circle edges.

Bake dacquoise for 1 1/2 hours. It will puff and spread. Do not open the oven at any time.

Turn off oven, leaving the dacquoise inside for another 1 1/2 hours (or up to overnight). Remove layers from oven and let cool completely. At this point, layers may be gently, tightly wrapped in plastic and stored in a dry place for a few days.

To trim layers, gently place an 8-inch round cake pan on top of one layer. Use a sharp knife to slice off edges—the top will fall slightly during this process, so don’t be alarmed. Repeat with remaining layer.

Make the whipped cream. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the cake. Place one layer of dacquoise on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a thick layer of whipped cream over it and then gently place the second layer of dacquoise on top. “Frost” cake on the top and sides with remaining whipped cream (you may have some leftover). Refrigerate cake for 15 minutes.

Line a surface with a piece of parchment and place the cake (on stand) on top. Use your hand to gently apply chocolate sprinkles to the sides of the cake. Scatter shaved/chopped chocolate over the top of the cake. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top.

Refrigerate cake for a couple of hours before slicing and serving. Slices will not be perfectly clean. Holding the exposed edge with a bench scraper (or a clean hand) seems to help.

Cake may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a day. The dacquoise will deteriorate over time.

Leftover cake may be sliced, placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet and frozen. Triple-wrap frozen slices with plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month.

Note:

You may use 1 1/2 cups store bought almond meal or almond flour in place of the whole raw almonds. Stir the cornstarch into it and proceed from “Stir together sugar and cream of tartar.”

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

Peanut Butter Marble Cake

Peanut Butter Marble CakeToday is my 34th birthday!Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakeIt’s been a really fun one so far: my little sister is visiting, I made this Sicilian pizza, went to dinner and to see Golden Girls Live! with a bunch of friends, did some vintage shopping, and saw Rocketman last night. Pretty great, right?!Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakeNow it’s time to talk birthday cake. I make many (many many many) throughout the year, but this one is mine: Peanut Butter Marble Cake, y’all!Peanut Butter Marble CakeWe’re talking thick layers made with my favorite peanut butter batter and swirled with dark chocolate a la Marble Bundt Cake. Yesssss.Peanut Butter Marble CakeThe cake is filled and frosted with a silky Chocolate-Peanut Butter Buttercream. This stuff is sweet-salty magic and it swoops like a dream!Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakeAll that, and I didn’t even mention all the chopped peanut butter cups in the middle! There are even more on top 😊 Peanut Butter Marble CakeIt’s a total showstopper—the ultimate chocolate-peanut butter cake, as far as I’m concerned.Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakeI can’t think of a more delicious way to start my 35th trip around the sun 🎉 Peanut Butter Marble Cake

Peanut Butter Marble Cake
makes one 2-layer 9-inch round layer cake

Cake Batter:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter*
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 ounces dark chocolate

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup creamy-style peanut butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream

For assembly:
12 miniature peanut butter cups + more for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and peanut butter until combined and fluffy. Beat in light brown and granulated sugars. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients followed by half the buttermilk. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining buttermilk. Set aside.

Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring in between, until melted. This may also be done in a double boiler.

Transfer 1 1/2 cups of batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate. Use a fork and/or silicone spatula to combine the two.

Divide remaining peanut butter batter among prepared pans. Tap full pans on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Dollop chocolate batter over the tops and use a thin knife or skewer to lightly marble it in. Bake 40-42 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edges. Invert cakes onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Make buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in peanut butter. Add in confectioner’s sugar in two installments, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla, followed by heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Place 12 miniature peanut butter cups on a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut them into small pieces (I like to cut them into eighths).

Use a serrated knife to even out the tops of the cake layers. Place one cut-side-up on a serving plate or cake stand. Top with a thin layer of buttercream, followed by chopped peanut butter cups. Top with the second layer cut-side-down. Frost and decorate cake. Garnish with more peanut butter cups, if desired.

Slice and serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five. If storing in the refrigerator, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Cake is best served at room temperature.Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream CakeYesterday was my birthday. I’m 33 now.Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
I may be a full-fledged adult in her *gulp* mid-30s, but I will never, ever, EVER (!) be too old for ice cream cake. That’s impossible.Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
Ice cream cake is too delicious, especially this mint chocolate chip version.Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
It’s as simple as slicing a layer of chocolate cake in half, stuffing it will 1 1/2 quarts of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and topping it with whipped cream.Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream CakeMint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream CakeMint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
You could just spread it on, but it’s my birthday and I’ll pipe if I want to…Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
…even if I’m just going to cover it with mint baking chips, mini chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles, and homemade chocolate shell.Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell
Yes, homemade chocolate shell! It takes just two ingredients and about 45 seconds in the microwave to achieve a drizzlable, quick-hardening chocolate sauce without the price tag or the weird ingredients you’ll find in the store-bought stuff. Trust me—once you make this version, you’ll never buy the bottled stuff again.Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
One last thing before I get to the recipe: take this ice cream cake and make it your own! Switch up the ice cream flavors! Use a different flavor of cake! Jazz up the toppings!Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
Except the chocolate shell. Don’t skip that.Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Cake:
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup strong, hot coffee
1 1/2 quarts mint chocolate chip ice cream, slightly softened

Whipped Cream:
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Garnish (optional):
Homemade Chocolate Shell (recipe below)
green mint baking chips
mini chocolate chips
chocolate sprinkles

Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the pan with oil. Line the pan with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl to sift together flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and egg, followed by buttermilk and coffee. Whisk in dry ingredients in three installments, just until combined. Pour batter into the pan. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake 23-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

Line a deep 9-inch round cake pan (I use a springform) with 2-3 large sheets of plastic wrap, leaving a foot of overhang on each end.

Use a serrated knife to cut cake in half equatorially so that you have 2 thin layers. Place one thin layer cut-side-up in the prepared pan. Top with scoops of softened mint chocolate chip ice cream and use an offset knife to smooth it into an even layer. Top with remaining thin layer, placing it cut-side-down. Wrap plastic wrap overhang over the top of the cake. Freeze 8 hours or overnight.

Remove cake from the freezer and lift/invert it out of the pan. Unwrap the cake and invert it onto a serving plate. Place back in the freezer while you make the whipped cream.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Spread or pipe whipped cream on top of the cake. Freeze cake for at least an hour or overnight.

Remove cake from freezer. Drizzle homemade chocolate shell (as much or as little as you like) over cake and top with optional green mint baking chips, mini chocolate chips, and/or chocolate sprinkles. Freeze for 30 minutes.

To serve, let cake thaw for 15-20 minutes. Dip a large, sharp chef’s knife in warm water and wipe dry. Slice cake, wetting and wiping the knife again between cuts. If you have difficulty slicing through the chocolate shell, use a slight sawing motion.

Leftover ice cream cake will keep covered in the freezer.

Homemade Chocolate Shell
makes about 3/4 cup

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably refined/high heat)

Combine chopped chocolate and coconut oil into a small bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Pour or drizzle over ice cream or ice cream cake, or use as a dip for other frozen treats.

Leftover chocolate shell will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. Reheat by microwaving in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream CakeHomemade Magic Shell