Blackforest Cake Tragedy!

Baking By ReeL Updated 26 Jul 2011 , 4:26am by scp1127

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ReeL Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 3:32pm
post #1 of 9

Hi All!
I was just trying to bake my very first black forest cake (youtube recipe... i know... i could not find it anywhere else!)
And I just failed miserably at the decorating part of it and maybe the cake baking as well. I just don't know where to begin. Once my cake was out of oven, one of the cake was very sticky. I am not sure why. I placed it in a dish and when I took it out to put it as a layer on top of another one, it felt so sticky! The cake was soft and seemed to be moist but sticky. what could have could have gone wrong?
Now the decorating part. I made a chocolate ganache 2 days back and stored it in the fridge. When I took it out it seemed pretty heavy and solid-like and was happy that it would spread easily. When i piped a border around the cake with it.. it started melting down! that's disaster # 1. Disaster # 2 was my whipped cream. I have seen so many recipes for this and every recipe said, don't overwhip it as it may turn it into a curdly mixture which would not be very nice. So I was pretty cautious about it. I stopped when there was soft peak on the hand mixture as I took it out of the whipped cream. But Guess What? That too turned out to be a little to thin to stay as an icing between the layers. As soon as I placed my top layer, the cream just came out flowing between the layers! And I just had my very first experience with the piping tools. And it was such an ordeal!

I had placed the cake in the freezer for around an hour and then put it in the refrigerator. The cake today looked pretty good except the frosting on the sides. The cherry looked pretty good on the top. But the cake never turns out to be as soft as you can find in stores.

Can anybody tell me where did I go wrong and what can I do to make it right the next time? How to make an extremely soft cake? I really enjoy baking but these kind of incidents disappoint me! I am not a professional but just baking is just a new hobby that makes me very happy.
p.s - it was really hot here in new jersey and it was close to 80F. could that be the reason???

8 replies
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Narie Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 4:24pm
post #2 of 9

Suggestions: 1- although I prefer scrartch recipes, this is one cake where you might want to start with a box mix for the cake part. At least until you you can assemble the cake with ease.
2- whip the cream until you have stiff peaks, not soft. Yes, you must watch it like a hawk to avoid making butter (that's what the curds are.)
3- ganache is heat sensitive. The heat of your hands on the piping bag may have caused the ganache to melt.

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gatorcake Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 4:34pm
post #3 of 9

Lets see if I can help with some of the things.

As to the stickiness question I am a bit unclear about when it was sticky (it matters as to the cause). Was it sticky out of the oven or only after you put it in the container, or both?

If sticky out of the oven there are 2 likely causes--too much sugar or underbaked. Why only one of the cakes if too much sugar? That could be due to not being mixed properly.

If sticky out of the container--was the container sealed? Was it warm when you put in it in there? If warm and sealed, moisture from the cake would have evaporated, condensed, and then fallen back on the cake making it sticky.

If both, both factors would contribute to stickiness.

As to the cream, yes you do have to be aware of it turning it in to butter. However the reaction really is not the immediate. It does take a few moments from it to go from stiff peaks to butter. Basically don't turn it on and walk away, but you do not not have to be hyper vigilant either to prevent it from turning to butter.

Hope this helps.

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ReeL Posted 24 Jul 2011 , 5:37pm
post #4 of 9

Thank you so much for replying! As i browsed through the other posts I realize this forum would probably be for all the professional bakers in the world and was feeling a little dumb! icon_redface.gif
But u guys replied!! thanks!

The cake was sticky while i was taking out of container. It was not sealed and I do not think it was under baked as the knife came out pretty clean. Probably too much sugar was the reason?
The reason I wanted to make the cake from scratch was I just wanted to try and make a good chocolate cake. I have made sponge cakes which have turned out to be well (though not as soft as I had wanted to be).

And for watching out for the whipped cream.. well I understand that stuff theoretically.. but I am still a little unsure about the extent of the soft peaks.. probably experience is the best teacher icon_smile.gif

p.s - The cake did taste good though and my friends enjoyed it!
Am trying to attach the image of the cake.. but somehow it is not attaching the image.


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scp1127 Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 5:25am
post #5 of 9

Reel, good for you for trying a scratch cake. I sincerely believe that the biggest factor that sets apart the scratch baker is the willingness to fail... again and again. I own a scratch bakery. When I start working on a new recipe, my magic number must be seven, because that seems like how many times it takes to get to perfection.

But you may have an additional factor against you. You need to start with a tried and true great recipe if you are inexperienced. That way you will know that eventually you will get it right. We don't know if you have a good one. Most on the internet are not that great.

PM me and I will give you a great recipe.

Second, there are ways to stabilize whipped cream even after you do it right. I use piping gel, but I have a recipe I haven't tried that uses sour cream... and that may be great in this cake.

Third, several of my recipes are sticky and they are supposed to be that way. Top chefs have recipes where they must sprinkle wax paper with sugar to turn a cake out of a pan. So you may not have a bad recipe. And some scratch recipes produce cakes that are hard to handle. I put them in the freezer after they are cool for even 20 minutes and that helps. And if you don't support the cake witha cake lifter or a cardboard cake board, it could break.

It's always nice to see someone give scratch baking a try. If I can help, let me know.

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carmijok Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 5:57am
post #6 of 9

I can address your ganache concern. You needed to whip your ganache in order for it to be more stable and not melt on you. It doesn't have to be cold...just room temp. Get your whisk attachment and whip it in your mixer. It does take some time so don't get discouraged. Just when you think it's never going to whip it starts coming together.

Stop when you get to soft peaks. Now you can spread it like frosting or pipe it. It won't be overly 'whipped cream' tasting either. Just soft melty chocolate.

I made the mistake of putting what I thought was a final coat of chocolate buttercream on my most recent cake and I marveled at how smooth it was going on. I discovered it was the whipped ganache I had made for the filling. The only thing worrisome about it was that it was very hot and I had a lot of fondant decor to put on. It became soft, but it did not melt and held up well under the decor. So try doing this instead.

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LindaF144a Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 1:43pm
post #7 of 9

I'll just add that there are a lot of Black Forest cake recipes on the internet. I cannot recommend one that I personally tried. But I just did a Google search for "Black Forest Cake Recipe" and got 997,000 hits. If the YouTube one didn't work, try another until you get one you like.

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ReeL Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 3:37am
post #8 of 9

The chocolate cake recipe was pretty good. That's what I thought! You can check out the link as below:

The owner of this video says that this recipe is actually given on the backside of Hershey's chocolate box! I thought it was pretty simple to start with and it did turn out good except the sticky part. But now since you have mentioned it I am thinking that probably it was supposed to be sticky! This cake has been in the fridge for over 2 days and its still soft (though not as it was on the first day). Thanks for the information scp!!!

I have recently started baking and I thoroughly enjoy it. But my roomies are vegetarians! So they don't eat a cake with eggs! I always end up taking the cake to my office for my colleagues. why should I have the guilt of gulping all the calories all by myself icon_twisted.gif

I am thinking of going back to basics and try to get the best soft, moist sponge cake recipe.

I do not think the recipe was incorrect as such but its just that since I am new to baking cakes I wanted a video tutorial. I thought it would lessen the chances of me screwing up the recipe or the process! icon_smile.gif Thanks for the suggestion though!

The lesson learnt from this cake: Piping is not as easy as it looks on the video ! Hopefully next time it would be less of a challenge!!

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scp1127 Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 4:26am
post #9 of 9

Reel, that's a great starting recipe. I cut the bp and bs to 1tsp each, and sub sour cream for the milk to make it more rich and more stable. This change is widely popular on this site.

That cake does not like to be underbaked, so when the toothpick is clean and the center is solid, just add two more minutes.

I think your baking was fine. You may just need to handle it a little differently. Let it cool in the pan according to directions. Then turn it out on a rack and let it cool almost all the way. Put plastic wrap over it, flip it with another rack, and now the plastic is on the bottom. Add another piece of plastic and now it is wrapped. Leave it out or freeze it. If you freeze it, double the plastic. I only freeze for a couple of hours or from evening to morning, just to make it easier to work with and to improve the texture. When working with the stacking, make sure you support the cake while you move it. A cake board or a cake lifter are best.

For the rest, Black Forrest is the perfect cake to make your own. Find the whipped cream you like, the cherry filling you like, and the ganache that works for you. Then it will be unique.

I think you are on the right track. Don't get discouraged, and most mess-ups are still good... I'll bet that's how trifle got started!

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