Black forest cake is the second recipe among my Paleo cakes, that can be presented, served and consumed without any excuses or reservations related to the limitations of a very restricted diet compared to traditional baking. The cake goes beyond most common restrictions in Paleo cake recipes – being grain, dairy and refined sugar free. This recipe does not contain any starches, any sugars, including natural, unrefined, any gums or thickeners, as well as chocolate in any shape or form. Nevertheless, all the main attributes of Black forest cake are there. Dark sponge layers with a mix of deep flavours, including a touch of bitterness, followed by cherry jam layers with tart overtones, separated by the thick layer of fruit mousse with marshmallow type texture.
As with all my recipes there are different options for all three layers. Compared to the classic Black forest cake, which is not meant to be stored for a considerable time, this cake survives 2-3 days storage at room temperatures, and some more if refrigerated. It might be not the first attribute to be considered, but I wanted to mention it.
Both the sponge and cherry jam can be prepared ahead, and only mousse layer has to be made on the day of the cake assembly. I also want to mention, that sponge layer in Black forest cake shown in photos, was not soaked in cherry and honey liquid (very light syrup), because the cake had to be stored for several days before consumption.
for 22cm round sponge, cut in two layers
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 150g raw organic honey
- 110g (1 tub) commercial pure apple puree (I used SPC brand)
- 85g almond meal, sifted
- 30g coconut flour, sifted (I used new brand – Well and Good Coconut flour from Raw Ingredients range)
- 20g poppy seeds
- 15g, 1 serving spoon grapeseed oil
- 5g baking soda, 1 tea spoon
- 1 tea spoon lemon zest
- raw organic coconut oil to grease baking pan
Every individual coconut flour has different liquid binding capacities. Depending on coconut flour, the texture and consistency of the sponge may slightly differ in dryness. If making this cake for special occasion, going for trial sponge bake might be a good idea. However in case of the moist sponge, its soaking in cherry syrup might not be necessary, while in a more dry sponge, the quantity of cherry syrup used would depend on the texture of the sponge. In any case, sponge structure would be sound, and capable to withstand any pressure from other cake layers.
- 500g frozen sour Morello pitted cherries
- 280g raw organic honey
Morello sour cherries are the best for the recipe, but they can be substituted by regular fresh/frozen cherries. With regular cherries, the quantity of honey in the recipe would have to be adjusted (lowered substantially), because of the more mild taste of regular cherries, compared to sour Morello cherries.
fruit mousse layer
I made this cake with apple and plum zefir as the mousse layer of the cake. You will have enough mousse for 1 cake, the rest can be piped out as sugar free natural confection.
- 30g egg white, divided in two equal portions (egg white of 1 large/extra large egg)
- 410g fruit flesh (cored and peeled apple flesh and pitted plum flesh with skin, 3 Granny Smith apples and 2 plums), which produces 155g apple and plum thick puree after cooking
- 360g organic honey, 210g and 150g separately
- 8g agar-agar
- 50ml water
Sugar free plum pastila can be used as a softer, more tender mousse layer option. Quantities of ingredients in the recipe are enough for one 22 cm cake, the rest half of the mixture can be set separately to make plum pastila.
- 250g plum puree (500g of plums, not overly ripe, pitted)
- 200g raw organic honey
- 15g of egg white (approximately 1/2 egg white), room temperature
- 200g raw organic honey
- 6g agar-agar
- 40ml water
This mousse option uses cranberry panna cotta, prepared with coconut cream and gelatine, with quantity of gelatine increased, compared to panna cotta recipe. If using frozen cherries, honey quantity in the recipe has to be lowered.
- 150g frozen cranberries
- 120ml water
- 200-220g honey (depends on how tart or sweet you like the mousse layer to be)
- 270ml can organic coconut cream
- 1/3 tea spoon of pure vanilla powder
- 4 sheets of gelatine (gold grade)
Another option of panna cotta mousse in this cake with thick cherry, honey and chia jam.
- grease 22cm round baking pan
- prepare sponge batter as described here
- transfer the batter into the pan, level the surface of the batter with spatula
- bake in preheated to 145-150C fan forced oven for 60-70 min
- turn the cake over to a wire rack, let it rest and cool completely
- cut the sponge into 2 equal layers, best done just before you ready to apply jam layer
Morello cherry jam
- place frozen Morello cherries into a sauce pan
- add honey
- cook on medium heat until boiling point and 5 min more
- take 100ml of runny liquid, set aside to use for sponge soaking
- continue cooking for 10-12 min
- use stick blender to homogenise the mixture
- cook until light sour cream consistency
- pour into container, store refrigerated until use, it will thicken when set
option I with zefir mousse
- the day before making the cake reheat sour cherry jam until runny
- use set aside cherry and honey liquid to soak bottom sponge layer (quantity of the liquid depends on how soft and moist you want your sponge layer, the structure of the sponge would withstand the substantial amount of the liquid)
- soaking can also be done as the last stage of the cake assembly, when the cake is lowered into a plate with the cherry liquid
- place the sides of the springform baking pan on top of the sponge layers, leave 1.0-1.5cm distance from the edge
- pour cherry jam while still hot and runny, carefully turn the board with sponge layer for the jam layer to spread evenly, be more careful with the top layer
- leave jam to set for at least 5-6 hours, refrigeration will spoil the surface, leave the jam to set at room temperatures, do not cover while the jam is still warm to avoid condensation
putting the cake together
- prepare 2 piping bags with different nozzles, one for edge piping, the other with wider opening, for piping out the middle of mouse layer and zefir confections
- have all the sponge/jam layers prepared
- organise working space
- make zefir as described here
- fill the piping bags with the warm mixture
- use the first bag for edge piping
- pipe the mousse as edges of both sponge/jam layers, try to make sure there is no gaps between the jam and the mousse
- work on the top cake layer with most attention
- after piping edges on both layers, switch to another piping bag and fill the middle of the cake with mousse
- place the top layer, making sure that the edges of both layers fit, move it slightly if necessary
- leave the cake to rest and the mousse layer to set
Option II and III
- use cake ring, or the side of the spingform cake pan to make both sponge layers exactly the same size
- line cake ring with acetate roll
- insert bottom sponge layer into lined cake ring
- apply cherry liquid to soak the sponge
- reheat half of cherry jam to a runny consistency
- pour the jam on top of soaked sponge
- let the jam cool down and wait until it is set
- prepare plum pastila (option II) or coconut panna cotta (option III) as mousse layer
- pour the mousse into the cake ring
- tap the board or the plate with cake ring on the benchtop to let all air bubbles from the mousse
- with plum pastila you can use the top sponge layer immediately after, with coconut panna cotta, you have to wait until mousse layer is set
- place the top sponge layer on top of the mousse
- gently press in down
- reheat the second half of cherry jam and pour it on top of the sponge, make sure it spreads and makes level surface
- let the cake rest and allow all components to set properly
- on the say of serving remove the cake ring and carefully peel acetate lining
I am planning to make this cake for the second time with the option II for the mousse layer. I will add photos of that cake as soon as they become available.
The cake is very easy to cut. It can be served with some remaining Morello cherry jam. As I have already mentioned before in the post of sugar free zefir recipe, zefir mousse in my opinion, is slightly too hard for this cake, pastila with its more gentle and soft texture would be a better mousse option for the cake. However, it will completely change the appearance of the cake, as piping would not be possible for to the runny consistency of pastila while warm. The only suggestion I can make, is to reduce quantity of agar-agar in the recipe to 7g.
Combination of ingredients for the sponge gives the colour of the layer very similar of that for chocolate. And even without chocolate, or its common replacement carob, the taste of this sponge mimics chocolate sponge. This Paleo Black forest cake is very pretty and can be hardly recognised as a cake with so many restrictions in the ingredients list.