Sunday, June 07, 2009

AmiExpat's Blankenhainer Kirschkuchen (Cherry Cake) Challenge!

Okay, we're getting back in line with AmiExpat's cooking challenges this week with Blankenhainer Kirschkuchen! Per the recipe, it was the favorite cake of Germany's beloved Friedrich Schiller. (I mean beloved. Every German town and city has a Schillerstrasse (Schiller Street)!) Would this cake turn us brilliant as him? Time to find out!

First, we had to decide whether we wanted to invest in a cherry pitter. I looked around online for any suggestions of how to quickly pit cherries without one. There were plenty of ideas, but most places seemed to say that it was just worth it to buy a pitter, even despite the fact that it's annoying to store the thing all the rest of the year when there are no fresh cherries. We searched all over Heidelberg, finally buying the last cherry pitter at the Kaufhof in the Bismarckplatz. It was a little on the expensive side, but at that point we'd invested too much time in looking for it and just got the damn thing. (Although there is no logic in that, is there?) We got our fresh cherries from some grumpy dude selling them on the Hauptstrasse across from Butler's (where we were looking for a pitter).

Pitting the cherries was a breeze with the cherry pitter. (The German name for this instrument is Kirschentkerner - awesome word.) Getting the egg yolks and sugar all foamy was not bad. Beating the egg whites stiff was getting into painful territory! We both took turns at that and finally managed it. (We have no mixer or handbeater, which I am sure has already been mentioned at some point in this recipe series!) To the right you can see pretty much all the cake contents lined up to go - cherries, yolks/sugar/flour/cinnamon mix, beaten whites, and ground almonds (found in the baking section in the German grocery store). No butter in this recipe!!

After this everything is just folded or mixed together and then baked! Very easy! It took about 10 extra minutes in the oven over what the recipe said. At the end, we dumped some sugar on top. I was hoping the cake would be more moist and the sugar would stick to it, but it actually just sat on top.

The cake was pretty good - the nutty flavor and juicy cherries were really fantastic. I had been expecting it to be more moist, though, for some reason. I think if we make it again maybe we'd cut the cherries in half to spread them out a little more. I also wonder if using brown sugar would be good. It definitely needs something. Sorry, Schiller!

EDIT! It's the next day now and I think the cake seriously improved overnight! The cherries might have oozed some of their moisture into the cake. It's much less dry now and I approve. :)


  1. I think my cutting the cherries in half really helped with the dryness factor. I could imagine if the cherries weren't spread out as well that it would be too dry, but mine worked out that there was generally a cherry in every bite.

    I used raw, coarse sugar on top, it stuck since it got baked on a second time. I bet brown sugar would be tasty.

  2. You have a cherry pitter but not a mixer? :)

    It looks like we had similar problems with this cake. I have to say though that I will make this again.

    Interesting idea on the brown sugar. Maybe I should experiment with that next time...

  3. Our cherry pitter is just a little bitty thing we got from WMF a couple years ago. It reminds me of a staple remover (Germans call it a Schwiegermutter, but that's a story for another post) in that it's springloaded piece of v-shaped metal. But instead of pinching staples out of stacks of paper, it pushes a toothed post through the center of a cherry resting between its jaws. The post, in turn, forces the stone out the bottom of the fruit, "tearing a new one" along the way.

  4. Christina: It was less dry the next day! :)

    Expat Traveler: You should post it if you make it :)

    Yelli: hehe, well we DO have a mixer (everybody's beloved Kitchen Aid), but it's in the US. Plus mixers are bigger and harder to store than a little cherry pitter (which is still going to be a pain for us because we only have one kitchen drawer!).

    Cliff: I think we have the same one as you!

    Sara: This cake is Chris-friendly!!


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