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Summer 'Black Forest' Verrine


The Black Forest is located in South West Germany, just a hop, skip and a jump from my temporary home away from home, Strasbourg, on the border of France and Germany.

I was expecting to see Black Forest cake or gateaux or torte on menus here, given these locations are geographical buddies, but alas it wasn’t to be. In fact, I only stumbled across the dessert once, on the menu at the restaurant Aux Armes de Strasbourg, in the beautiful courtyard/piazza Place Gutenberg.

It was actually pretty tasty, and not too Kirsch heavy. The cake in German is called ‘Schwarzwälder Kirschtort’e, and the cake itself is actually named not after the Black Forest, but in reference to the Black Forest being the location the Kirsch (a rocket fuel liquor made from cherries that is splashed liberally onto the chocolate sponge) is made. I’m not a huge fan of Kirsch.

This cake was actually really light, and not as dense as many versions of Black Forest cake I’ve tried, in fact it was pretty heavenly. It didn’t look so great, but it was a bit like a light, creamy, cherry, chocolate cloud.

I’ve lightened things up even more, to make this Black Forest inspired verrine (layered dessert in a glass), that will be great for the hot Australian summer!

I’ve made a layer of cherry jelly in the base, but if you don’t have time or the inclination, or you’re not keen on the jelly texture, you could easily just layer the cherry compote in the base of the glass, or even roughly chopped ripe fresh cherries uncooked. If you do this, give them a little dust with sifted icing sugar, stir and let sit for 10 minutes before scooping into the glasses.

I’ve cooked fresh cherries briefly for this part of the recipe, but if you can’t get fresh, frozen will work – or you could go with the already cured sour cherries which are often found in this cake, especially when fresh cherries are not in season, and a lot of people love them. I’m not a fan. I love fresh cherries though!

I’ve omitted the Kirsch altogether, and introduced Malibu coconut rum to the whipped cream, for the boozy element. I love this combo so much, and pretty much declared myself a genius when I came up with it. It’s so light and cloud like, with a little kick of Malibu! It just seems much more appealing for a lighter Australian Christmas, when the weather is hot, and coconut rum makes you feel like it's Summer!

Toss a few chunks of chocolate cake over the cream, then shaved coconut to marry with the Malibu. We’re now moving towards that delicious combo of cherry/chocolate/coconut that’s ever so popular.

If you’d like to fancy this up even more, a quenelle of chocolate mousse would also be great at this stage, but there’s enough creamy action with the Malibu cream if you’d rather not have the extra work. Finally add the forest ‘twigs’ of chocolate and top with a fresh cherry.

This is such an easy dessert, but looks impressive, and is a bit of a nod to the ‘trifle’ as well, which is certainly appropriate for Christmas entertaining!

I’ve also included some more photos of Strasbourg, just because I’ve found it so enchanting! I hope you enjoy them as much I enjoyed taking them!


For a print friendly version, CLICK HERE!

Serves 4


Cherry jelly

225g cherries – seeds removed

60g caster sugar

300g water

3 sheets leaf gelatin

Malibu cream

250g thickened cream

25g icing sugar

1/3 cup Malibu (coconut rum)

Chocolate cake

(will make more than enough for 4!)

150g chocolate

125g butter

150g caster sugar

3 eggs (whole)

55g SR flour

Chocolate twigs

Tempered dark chocolate

Cocoa powder

To serve

Shaved coconut

4 fresh cherries ( if in season!)


Cherry jelly

Bloom gelatin by soaking sheets in cold water for 5 minutes.

Combine water, sugar and cherries in saucepan, stir until simmering, simmer for around 5-10 minutes, until liquid is dark in colour.

Let cool slightly, then add bloomed gelatin, stir through.

Pour into bases of glasses, refrigerate until set.

Malibu cream

Whip thickened cream and icing sugar, to soft peaks.

Add Malibu, beat lightly til combined.

Chocolate cake

Melt chocolate and butter together, stir to combine.

Add sugar, stir to combine.

Add eggs, that have been lightly beaten.

Add flour.

Bake in lined cake tin.

Cook at 160°C until skewer comes out with a few sticky crumbs on it.

Cool in cake tin.


Dollop (or pipe) Malibu cream onto set jelly.

Scatter cream with pieces of roughly broken cooled cake.

Scatter shaved coconut over cake.

Top with ‘twigs’ of chocolate.

Top with a fresh cherry if they’re in season, or a cured/preserved cherry if not!




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