What’s Black, White and Red and loved by Indians?
By Radhika on September 9, 2019

Schwarzwäld Kirsch Kuchen. That’s quite a tongue twister, isn’t it?

For those of you that don’t speak German, I’ll give you a clue. Chocolate, cherries and cream. What’s not to love?

“A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet”, said the Bard. This “rose” is also called Black Forest cake and is found in every bakery across the length and breadth of India.

Black Forest torte

But how did it come about? In the 16th century chocolate was still a novelty in Europe. Most people drank it hot, but it hadn’t been used in baking as yet!

A bright young baker from the Black Forest region in Germany had a brainwave. He added some chocolate to the layered sour cherry tortes that he was baking. The aroma from the tart Morello cherries and the dark bittersweet chocolate were a perfect combination. People flocked to his bakery to buy some to take home. But our baker was not satisfied. He wanted something more. He sandwiched the layers with whipped cream! Now people loved his creation even better.

Had our baker been Italian he’d have kissed his fingers and exclaimed “Molto bella! Molto bella!”

But our staid German baker didn’t believe in such frivolity. He wanted to improve on perfection!

With his next tortes he brushed the layers with Kirschwasser , the clear, potent brandy distilled from the tart cherries of the area. With this he created an adult treat to delight the senses. Chocolate, cherries, cream AND Kirsch. NOW he gave a small contained sigh of satisfaction.

Delicious Black Forest torte

Interestingly the traditional costume worn by women in the Black Forest was black (just like the chocolate flakes), the blouse is white (like the cream), and the hat has red pom-poms that look just like cherries. 

Red bobbles on hats. Girls with red pompom hats.
Girls wearing the costume from the Black Forest region.

German law mandates that kirschwasser must be present in the cake for it to be labelled a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. It is not considered a legal Black Forest Cake in Bavaria, without the liquor from the Black Forest cherry.

So dear reader, do you like the Black Forest with or without the Kirsch?

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