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Black forest cake is a decedent chocolate sponge cake originating from Germany. The cake is named after the local liquor Kirsch or kirschwasser, which is a famous cherry flavored brandy produced from distilled morello cherries and originating in the Black Forest region of Germany. It is from this liquor that the dessert gets its name. For our German Black Forest Cheesecake we make a chocolaty cheesecake using traditional German ingredients like quark. The cheesecake is then topped with kirschwasser soaked cherries and a homemade cherry infused whipped cream.
Making the German Black Forest Cheesecake
This cheesecake takes a couple days to make as you want to soak the cherries and the cheesecake needs to sit in the refrigerator overnight prior to topping it so you want to plan ahead.
Soak the cherries in the kirshwasser
The first step in making the cheesecake is to soak your cherries in the kirchwasser. You want to use pitted sweet cherries for the recipe.
After thawing the cherries soak them in the 1/2 cup of Kirschwasser. Cover and refrigerate them overnight. Note: this makes for a pretty boozy cherry topping. For a little less booze flavor soak the cherries for a shorter period of time, or consider only soaking half of the cherries. Of course you can omit the Kirsch all together but it is not a Black Forest cake without the Kirsch.
Prepare the chocolate graham cracker crust
To make the chocolate graham cracker crust, finely crush or chop the graham crackers in a food processor. Add the sugar and melted butter and process to combine well. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 inch spring form pan. Place in the refrigerator until needed.
Make the filling for the German Black Forest Cheesecake
For the German Black Forest Cheesecake filling you will need cream cheese, Quark, bittersweet and German sweet chocolate, sugar, eggs, vanilla, some chopped cherries, and cocoa powder.
What the heck is quark?
Quark means “fresh curd” in German and is soft cheese that can best be described as a cross between cheese and yogurt. It’s mild taste and creamy texture make it a staple in many German dishes, both sweet and savory, including cheesecake like we are using it here. If you can’t find quark you can replace it with another block of cream cheese, but we recommend giving it a try. Likewise, you can increase the amount of quark if desired and just decrease the cream cheese accordingly.
Melting the chocolate
For our Black Forest Cheesecake recipe we like to use a mixture of German sweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate. You will need about 4 ounces of each.
Coarsely chop the chocolate and place into a metal bowl or, if you have one, into a double broiler.
Heat water in a saucepan until just simmering then place the metal bowl with the chocolate over the pot. Be careful not to burn your hands with any steam.
Stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth then turn off the heat.
Complete the cream cheese filling
Add the sugar, softened cream cheese, and quark to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix the cream and sugar together until it is smooth.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add the cocoa powder. Mix for about a minute until well combined. Next, add the eggs one at a time. Beat and scape the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Finally, add the melted chocolate, vanilla, and chopped cherries and beat until just combined.
Pour the filling over the crust in the 9 inch springform pan. Smooth the top of the mixture and make sure it reaches all of the edges of the pan.
Baking the German Black Forest Cheesecake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes, then rotate the cheesecake 180 degrees and cook about another 30 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the middle of the cheesecake has lost most of its “jiggle” and the top of the cheesecake is starting to look dry.
Once cooked, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes on the counter. After the brief rest move the German Black Forest Cheesecake to the the refrigerator and chill, overnight, uncovered.
Make the Kircsh Cherry Topping
Remove the cherries from the refigerator.
Pour the cherries into a strainer, reserving the juice.
Combine the cherries and sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Next add the sugar coated cherries to a sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. While heating, combine 1/4 cup of the cherry juice with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a sperate bowl, and stir to combine.
After about 5 minutes the cherry mixture should reach a boil. At this point stir in the cherry juice-cornstarch mixture and stir until the syrup has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the cherry whip cream topping
The final step in making you German Black Forest Cheesecake is making the cherry infused whipped cream topping. You will need 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, and about a teaspoon of the cherry juice/Kirsch liquid. Of course you can just use store bought whip cream but is is not nearly as good.
We use our iSi Gourmet Whip to make the whip cream, which makes it super easy. If you do not have an iSi Gourmet Whip, simply add the cream, sugar, cherry juice, and vanilla to a medium sized bowl and beat with a beater until thick and creamy.
Finish and serve your German Black Forest Cheescake
Remove the chilled cheesecake from the refrigerator and top with the cherry topping. Top the edge of the cheesecake with the cherry whipped cream topping. Slice and serve chilled. Refrigerate any leftovers.
This German Black Forest Cheesecake would make a perfect finale to you favorite Germanic meal. Need some inspiration? Give one of these classic recipes a try.
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German Black Forest Cheesecake
- 9 inch Springform Cake/Pie Pan
- food processor
- iSi Whip or hand beater
- 1/2 Cup Kirsch
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 12 Ounces Dark Sweet Cherries Thawed
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 tea Lemon Juice
Cherry Whip Cream
- 1 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1/2 Pint Heavy Cream
- 1 teaspoon Juice from the Marinated Cherries
- 6 Ounces Quark
- 3 Packages Cream Cheese
- 1 1/4 Cups Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
- 4 Ounces German Sweet Chocolate
- 4 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
- 3 Eggs Beaten
- 1 tea Vanilla
- 1/4 Cup Dark Sweet Cherries Chopped
Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
- 15 Chocolate Graham Crackers Finely Crushed
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 8 Tablespoons Butter Melted
Soak the Cherries
- Soak the cherries in the kirschwater for at least 4 hours or overnight. For less alcohol flavor only soak half of the cherries and reserve the remaining cherries.
Make the Crust
- Finely chop the crackers in a food processor. Add the melted butter and sugar and pulse to combine.
- Form the crust into a greased 9 inch springform pan and refrigerate until needed.
Make the Filling
- Add the sugar, softened cream cheese, and quark to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix the cream and sugar together until it is smooth. Scape the sides of the bowl then add the cocoa powder and mix to combine.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing and scaping between each addition.
- Melt the chocolate using a double broiler on in a metal pan over a pot of simmering water.
- Add the melted chocolate to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture along with the chopped cherries and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
- Pour over the graham cracker crust and smooth and even our the top.
Bake the Cheesecake
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour rotating half way through. The cake is done when the center barely jiggles and the top no longer appears wet.
- Refrigerate, uncovered overnight.
Make the Whipped Topping
- Add the heavy cream, powdered sugar, cherry juice, and vanilla to a bowl and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
- If using an iSi Whip add all the the chilled ingredients and use one charge for the iSi Whip. Shake 5-8 times or until it reaches the desired consistency.
Make the Cherry Topping
- Remove the cherries from the fridge and pour over a strainer. Reserve the cherry juice and set aside.
- Stir the sugar in with the cherries then add to a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- In a separate bowl add the cornstarch in with 1/4 cup of the reserved cherry juice and stir until smooth.
- After about 5 minutes the cherry mixture should reach a boil. At this point stir in the cherry juice-cornstarch mixture and stir until the syrup has thickened, about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assemble the German Black Forest Cheesecake
- Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and top with the cherry topping. Top the edge with the whipped cream topping.