Black Forest Cake

by Karen Ekstrom

By Mary Claire Ekstrom


For the Meringue:

¾ cup sliced almonds

½ macadamia nuts

1 tablespoon cornstarch

⅛ tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

4 large egg whites (hang on to those yolks)

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Custard:

¾ cup whole milk

4 large egg yolks

⅓ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp. cornstarch

¼ tsp. salt

For the Chocolate and Whipped Cream:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups heaving whipping cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract


For the Meringue:

With oven rack in middle position, pre-heat to 250 degrees.

Draw a 10½ x13” rectangle on parchment paper with ruler and permanent marker.

Grease baking sheet, and stick the parchment paper ink-side down on the sheet. Grease parchment paper.


Finely grind almonds, macadamia nuts, cornstarch and salt with food processor. Pour ½ cup of sugar and pulse to combine, 4-5 pulses.


With an electric mixer, whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high until stiff peaks form. With mixer still running, slowly pour in sugar. Let whisk until glossy crests form, which should take about 2 minutes.


Fold in nut mixture, one half at a time.


Spread meringue along 10½ x13” rectangle.


Bake for 1½ hours. Then, keeping oven closed, turn off the oven and let the meringue sit in oven for another hour and a half. Keeping the oven closed ensures that the area is free of moisture, and makes a more crispy meringue.

Remove from oven and gently wrap meringue airtight in plastic wrap. Can be left like this for up to 2 days.


For the Custard:

Heat milk in saucepan until simmering.

While you wait, whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl until blended. Pour half of the milk into the yolk mix to temper. Whisking the saucepan constantly, pour the tempered yolk mix into the saucepan.

Continue to whisk furiously until a warm pudding forms and a few bubbles surface, which should take about 3 minutes.

Pour Custard into clean bowl and cover with foil. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.


For the Chocolate and Whipped Cream:

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Melt chocolate in microwave by heating for 45 seconds on high, removing and stirring every fifteen seconds.

With a spatula, spread chocolate in an even layer across parchment paper.


Freeze until hardened and cold to touch, about 10 minutes.

While you wait for the chocolate to freeze, pour cream, sugar and vanilla into an electric mixing bowl. Whisk together on medium-high for about 5 minutes or until mixture starts to stick to whisk and sides.

If not using immediately, cover bowl with plastic and place in refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Putting it all Together:

With a serrated knife and ruler, slowly and gently saw the meringue into a 10×12” rectangle. Then, cut meringue into four, 3×10” slices. Please note that it’s okay if your meringue cracks, it will be surrounded by wet ingredients that will be able to hold it together.

In a long tray, spread a narrow seam of whipped cream on the bottom. This will keep the cake from sliding during cutting, serving, or transporting the cake.

If some of the meringue slices did crack, put the most damaged slice as the first layer on the whipped cream, using a pie server.

Now starts the layering steps:

1) Spread custard in a thick layer over meringue crust.


2) Sprinkle any extra crumbs from cutting the meringue on top of the custard layer.


3) Breaking your frozen chocolate into workable shards, lay chocolate pieces in one thin layer on top of the extra meringue crumbs.

4) Spread a layer of whipped cream on top of the chocolate shards.


When placing the next slices of meringue, put slight pressure to ensure the crust will be stuck and held in place.

Repeat layering steps 1-4 for next 2 meringue crusts.

With the fourth and final slice of meringue crust sitting bare on top of the cake, spread whipped cream around all edges of the cake.


Then, stick chocolate shards to whipped cream, covering the whole cake. If you still have some frozen chocolate left over, crunch the chocolate into small crumbles by squeezing parchment paper together multiple times. Sprinkle the crumbles over the top of the cake.

Freeze cake for 1 hour, then serve.

(If there’s difficulty cutting the cake, let sit at room temperature for another 5 minutes to thaw.)



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