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Valentine Thoughts and a Black Forest Cake

Valentine’s Day may not be for everyone, but even the skeptic will fall in love with this decadent and irresistible Black Forest Cake.

Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

Valentine’s Day is not a holiday we celebrate in our house. In fact, if it wasn’t for school and Valentine exchanges in class, my kids would not know much about it at all. Scratch that. Mimi takes care of that. My mom, being your typical doting grandmother, finds every and any reason to bestow gifts onto her angels, her grandchildren. Besides the usual birthdays and Christmas, the kids receive gifts on Valentine’s Day, Easter (we’re not Christians), July 4th, you name it.

Mixing batter for Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

And it’s not my fault we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I do. I just don’t go nuts with it. My hubby doesn’t.

Surprise, surprise.

Adding cocoa powder to batter for Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

“It’s a commercial holiday made up by the greeting card industry to make you buy more crap!”

Making Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

My man is man’s man. He is not very sappy, overly romantic or sentimental. Don’t get wrong, the kids really tug on his heart’s strings and he is affectionate. But, cards, flowers, holidays and that kind of thing is not in his realm. For example, these are his actual responses to me:

Adding liqueur to Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

Valentine’s Day: “I don’t need THEM to tell me when to say ‘I love you’ or when to buy you overpriced flowers.”

Mother’s Day: “You are not my mother.”

Anniversary: “Why should the husband always be the one to give the wife a gift for every wedding anniversary?”

Birthdays, well specifically MY birthday: “Happy Birthday. What do you want me to get you? Why do I have to get you something? Let’s just go out to eat.”

Adding whipped cream to Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

What he lacks in sentiment and sensitivity, he makes it up in being handy around the house. He’s a tool man, specifically MY tool man.

He laid the tiles down in our house, the wood floors in the front and in the playroom. He builds me shelves, installs my appliances, assembles furniture and builds awnings and wooden structures for outside.

Adding liqueur soaked cherries to Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

He welded a wine rack (that’s for him) and our massive wrought iron curtain rods for the dining room. He paints the walls, changes light bulbs and kills spiders… you know, manly jobs.

He just doesn’t do holidays very well. Well, except Halloween. That’s because there are no gifts required, just good-old-fashion fun.

Assembling Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

Me? I’m the opposite. I’m the sappy one. I cry watching those cheesy commercials. I even got teary-eyed during “Toy Story 2 AND 3.” Yeah, you know which parts I’m talking about. When the kids get hurt, they come to me for hugs and kisses. When they are sleeping, they want my lap to curl up in.

Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

For my hubby’s birthday I made him this 3-layer Black Forest Cake. This cake is so NOT for the faint at heart. It’s easy enough to bake and assemble. It’s the decorating part that gets ya.

I truly hate decorating desserts. No patience, whatsoever.

Imaging chocolate shavings EVERYWHERE, but on the cake.

Chocolate shavings for Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

It took hours and my hand cramped from holding the potato peeler for so long to make the shavings. But, it turned out spectacular. The cake after you bake it is rather dry and fragile. But once you soak it with the kirsch and layer it with brandied cherries and whipped cream…. OMG, it’s almost a religious experience.

Decorating Black Forest Cake by FamilySpice.com

I almost forgot how much work was involved.

But that’s what I do for the ones I love.

And seriously, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Black Forest Cake

Three layers of rich chocolate cake drenched in liqueur with whipped cream, brandied cherries and a tremendous amount of shaved chocolate. Oh yes, this is a very special dessert! Recipe adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes


  • 1 lb cherries
  • 1 cup kirsch, or other cherry liqueur
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 2 TBS cake flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 7 eggs, large
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lb chocolate, *


  1. The night before you want to serve your cake, reserve 10 whole cherries, but pit and cut in half the remaining:
    • 1 lb cherries
  2. Place halved cherries in a bowl and soak with:
    • 1 cup kirsch , or other cherry liqueur
  3. Cover and chill cherries in refrigerator over night until ready to use.
  4. The day you want to serve your cake, preheat oven to 350ºF.
  5. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round pans with parchment or waxed paper. Do not grease the pans.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together:
    • 3/4 cup cake flour
    • 2 TBS cake flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  7. Using a stand mixer whisk together on medium-high for a minute to blend:
    • 7 eggs, large
  8. Slowly mix:
    • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  9. Whisk until eggs are a light yellow color and the stream of the batter, when the beater is lifted, leaves a thick ribbon.
  10. Sift the flour mixture into the eggs in 3 additions, gently folding after each addition.
  11. Take care not to deflate the batter, but make sure all of the dry ingredients are mixed in.
  12. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  14. The cake is very fragile so let it cool in its pan for at least one hour before removing it from the pan.
  15. When cool, gently run a knife around the cake edge and very gently, flip it over onto a cake board.
  16. Remove the parchment paper.
  17. To make the whipped cream, using a stand mixer beat into a chilled bowl:
    • 3 cup heavy cream
  18. Beat for one minute, until frothy, then beat in:
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  19. Beat until whipped cream forms stiff peaks.
  20. Drain the cherries and reserve the liquid.
  21. To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake board or cake plate.
  22. Tear strips of parchment paper and place strips underneath the cake, around the entire cake. This will keep your cake board or cake plate clean during the decorating.
  23. With a teaspoon or pastry brush, soak the cake with approximately 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid from the brandied cherries.
  24. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on top of the cake layer.
  25. Spread half of the cherries over the whipped cream.
  26. Cover cherries with more whipped cream.
  27. Place the next cake layer over the covered cherries and repeat steps 23 - 25.
  28. Place the final cake layer over the covered cherries.
  29. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.
  30. Using grater or a potato peeler cut curls and grate chocolate for garnish from:
    • 1 lb chocolate , *
  31. Decorate the top of the cake with the reserved whole cherries.
  32. Carefully remove the strips of parchment paper.
  33. Refrigerate cake for at least 4 hours or up to overnight before serving.


Serving Suggestions: Frozen cherries can be used if fresh ones are unavailable. Just thaw first, then combine the cherries and its juices with the liqueur. You can decorate with maraschino cherries, too (pictured above).

Cooking Tips: *The amount of chocolate needed depends on how much you want to use in decorating your cake. The above pictured cake required almost 1-pound of chocolate. A 1-pound brick of chocolate was purchased and refrigerated overnight. A grater and/or potato peeler was used to make the chocolate shavings. This is a messy job as the chocolate will start to melt in your hands. If this happens, refrigerate the chocolate for 20 minutes, then resume grating. To press the shavings into the sides of the cake, use one hand to slowly sprinkle the chocolate shavings with the other hand close to the sides of the cake, and quickly press into the sides. This is probably the hardest part of making this cake!


Recipe adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

Prep Time:

Yield: 16 servings

Cook Time: