Thursday Night Loaded: Bye, Bye Bartenders Secret And Baking With Booze

Excellent work, Regina. I was in the South Albert liquor store this week and it would seem that one of the liquors I most despise has just been delisted. Finally, the SLGA is using their powers for good. (Unlike when they ditched Bols Creme de Cacao or when they temporarily dropped Hendrick’s.)

You may recall me raging against Bartenders Secret Whiskey Sour back in the summer? Well, thanks to your good taste and unwillingness to tolerate that little charlatan cocktail, it hasn’t been selling very well and is being put on sale just before being yanked from the shelves forever.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Of course, I wasn’t in the liquor store to check up on the status of Bartenders Secret. I was there to purchase a bottle of Schloss Kirsch. It’s an Austrian, cherry-based liqueur. And while it’s an ingredient in cocktails such as the Blackjack, the Godfrey No. One, the Lady Finger and the Moonlight, it is more often used these days in the making of genuine Black Forest Cake.

We were having guests over for dinner one evening, you see, and for some reason I got it in my head that, instead of mixing drinks, as they’d be bringing their kid over and we’d have our kids running around, it’d be smarter for me to make a fancy dessert.

Smarter my eye.

I discovered that just because a person can mix up a respectable cocktail, it does not mean he’ll be able to bake a decent cake.

That said, here’s the recipe I used….

Black Forest Cake

cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup Schloss Kirsch
2 oz Canadian whisky

filling:
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tsp creme de cacao
1 can pitted cherries, drained

whipped cream icing:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Schloss Kirsch
1 oz dark chocolate shaved on a grater

Grease and flour a 9-inch round, spring-form pan. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and 1tsp salt in a medium sized bowl.

Preheat oven 350°F. In large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar until your wrist is killing you and you can simply cream no more. Consider purchasing electric egg beaters. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Write note to wife that electric egg beaters would be a welcome birthday gift this year. Affix note to fridge with magnet. Beat in flour mixture alternating with buttermilk.

Curse the man who invented the hand-cranked egg beater. Pour mixture into spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick poked into cake comes out clean. Pour whisky into glass. Lie on couch for 15 minutes. Drink whisky.

Remove cake from oven and from pan. Burn back of hand in the process. Do not at this point kick anything, especially not the cat. Set cake to cool on baking rack instead. Feed cat. Once the cake is completely cool, cut it in half so you have two semi-circles. Slice off the weird bulge in the top of your cake. Marvel at how slanted your cake is thanks to your oven being on a slope. Sprinkle those two, slanty semi-circles with 1/2 cup Schloss Kirsch. Sprinkle some more Kirsch on them straight from the bottle, just for good measure.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter until it’s light and fluffy or until your wrists seize up, whichever come first. Add icing sugar, pinch of salt and creme de cacao. Beat until smooth. Underline message to wife on fridge about electric gadgetry. Spread filling on one layer of cake. Top with most of the cherries. Place other half of cake on top of cherries. Drink more whisky. Straight from the bottle.

In a different medium bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Beat in vanilla and tablespoon of Schloss Kirsch. Keep adding Kirsch until you can really taste it. And by “really,” I mean, REALLY. Frost top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with shavings of dark chocolate. Decorate with remaining cherries.

I’ve added some pics of what I managed to bake up and you will note it doesn’t look much like the Black Forest Cakes you might get in a restaurant. It’s not as fancy, for one — no nifty cream flowers, for instance. And it only looks like half a cake, for two. (Flipping one half of the cake on top of the other half was way easier than following the original recipe which called for slicing the cake horizontally. No way I was going to pull that off without bits of cake flying everywhere. Especially not after all the egg-beater action and the whisky.) And, for three, I used these fancy Sweet Royal Anne cherries I picked up at Nature’s Best. (They were delicious but not the traditional red.)

My version is way boozier, though. You’re probably consuming almost a shot or more of un-cooked Kirsch with every slice.

I read one account online of a woman whose German grandfather says that after eating a slice of properly prepared Black Forest Cake you should feel dizzy. Mine may have been lopsided, semi-circular, and looked like a blob of cream, but at least it passes the dizziness test.

And, for the record, I actually made two cakes that night. One for the grown ups and a smaller, booze-free version for the kids. I subbed out the Kirsch for the syrup that came in the cherry tin. Their cake was also delicious and while it didn’t make the children dizzy, they did end up getting all squirrely thanks to the sugar and the caffeine in the chocolate.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

2 thoughts on “Thursday Night Loaded: Bye, Bye Bartenders Secret And Baking With Booze”

  1. Paul! Check out this episode of BBC’s series with crazy chef Heston Blumenthal if you have an hour to kill (I know you probably don’t). He goes to the plant where kirsch is created and does some really interesting stuff with black forests cake.

  2. Hey Pat. I’d be damn interested to see this. Do you have a link? Because my Googling so far has turned up nothing. Well, not this particular clip, anyway.

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