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Black Forest Chocolate Cake

If I could only eat one cake for the rest of my days, I think I would choose this one. A Black Forest Chocolate Cake dripping in cherries and belgian dark chocolate crafted by T Bakes with photography by Branco Prata. If these images are any inducation of the yumminess, I think it’s well worth the effort. Find instructions below and if you missed it, check out the evolution of a seasonal cake menu here.

Black Forest Cake


Chocolate Cake
1/2 stick butter
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup boiling water

Cherry Filling
20 oz fresh cherries
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup kirsch

Belgian Dark Chocolate Cream
7 oz belgian dark chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp of butter

Madagascar Vanilla Cream
2 cups heavy cream (chilled)
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 madagascar vanilla pod

fresh cherries
red currants
belgian dark chocolate shavings


Chocolate Cake
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
2. Prepare two 8 inch cake pans.
3. Melt the butter and let it cool.
4. Mix together all dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
5. Incorporate the egg, sour cream and melted butter. Add the boiling water and beat on low-medium speed until smooth.
4. Divide batter between the cake pans.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean (around 25 minutes). Let the cakes cool completely before using.

Cherry Filling
1. Save a few cherries for decoration. Pit and halve the remaining into a small saucepan.
2. Juice the lemon and add to the cherries with the sugar and kirsch.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil and then let simmer, stirring occasionally, until it reduces and comes to a jam-like texture. Set aside and let cool completely.

Belgian Dark Chocolate Cream
1. Chop the chocolate finely and reserve in a bowl.
2. In a saucepan heat the heavy cream just below boiling point and then pour over the chocolate. Slowly stir the mixture until smooth.
3. Incorporate the butter and stir until completely melted.
4. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on medium-high speed until fluffy.

Madagascar Vanilla Cream
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar, cream of tartar, the seeds of one vanilla pod and the chilled heavy cream. Whisk on medium-high speed until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Use immediately.

1. Cut both cakes in half so that you have 4 identical layers. Using a brush soak each layer with a kirsch syrup.
2. Place the first layer on a cake stand and using a piping bag, pipe a border of vanilla cream. Continue piping in a circular motion alternating between the vanilla cream and the cherry filling, as to secure the cherries.
3. Place the second layer on top and again pipe a border of vanilla cream. Fill the rest with the chocolate cream.
4. Place the third layer of cake and repeat step 2.
5. Place the fourth and final layer of cake and top with a generous coating of vanilla cream.
6. To decorate pipe little stars of chocolate cream all around the cake and top each one with a fresh cherry. Fill the remaining space with dark chocolate shavings and red currants.

Photography: André Teixeira, Branco Prata | Styling: Sofia Ferreira, Branco Prata | Cake: T Bakes

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Cake Crafting and Seasonal Flavors

T Bakes stands for Purveyors of Delicious Cake Finery. True story. They take cake crafting to another level and when they get in the kitchen with Sophia and André of Branco Prata, it becomes an art form. Today they are sharing with us the crafting of their 2015 menu and some seasonal flavors to try. Oh and up next? A recipe for Black Forest Chocolate Cake that will surely make your mouth shvitz.

From T Bakes For me baking always takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen while growing up. Most of my childhood was spent in this historic manor between the luscious and ever-­so-­cared-for gardens and the main kitchen – I cannot smell vanilla without instantly going back to my grandmother’s kitchen with me sitting at the table while she lovingly stirs warm vanilla pudding on the stove. I also remember being mesmerized by her hand-­beating eggs into flour and the combination of the two always brings back that image!

Each year I take a couple of weeks to construct a new menu for the following seasons. This usually takes place in late October/ November when the hectic schedule of weddings allows for some time off when I devote myself entirely to the kitchen. During this time I play around with flavors, explore new textures and techniques always respecting the ingredient’s origin, both organic and emotional. 

­ Spring
Almond Cake
Raspberry Coulis & Rose Petal Cream

­ Summer
Lime Chiffon
Lime curd & Coconut Cream with Coconut Slivers

­ Fall
Pear Cake
Peach Preserves & Maple Whisky Buttercream

­ Winter
Black Forest
Chocolate Cake soaked in Kirsch, Sour Cherries with Madagascar Vanilla Cream & Belgian Dark Chocolate Cream

In today’s day and age it’s almost impossible to create something completely original, there is no cake without a past or a culture ­ and to me the memory is the most important element! Everyone has memories related to taste and smell and that’s my main source of inspiration while baking, because emotions are closely tied to major life events and all it takes is a known flavor to trigger the senses and the memories!

Photography: André Teixeira, Branco Prata | Styling: Sofia Ferreira, Branco Prata | Cake: T Bakes

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For membership information, click here
T Bakes
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A Modern Preppy Baby Boy Nursery

Modern, preppy, baby boys named Calvin = All wonderful things and all wrapped up in this dreamy space crafted by Mandarina Studio for Elizabeth Clark’s cute-as-can-be son. The wallpaper alone is enough to make this a favorite nursery of all time but just wait until you spy the smart, navy trimmed drapery or the changing table that is a tush wiping thing of beauty. See even more right here.

I reached out to Amanda of Mandarina Studios, who had worked on the design of my photography studio, again once I found out I was pregnant with my son, Calvin. For his nursery, I asked for a clean and modern look with a touch of nautical and preppy accents. We decided on a palette of blue, gray, white, yellow and orange. There is no real consistent theme here, but I think the combinations of patterns and different animals are sweet and inviting. Calvin loves spending time in his room gazing at his elephant mobile and looking through his books. He sleeps in it pretty well too, which is pretty much all a parent really wants in the end for their child’s room! My favorite part of this nursery is what is on the walls: the nautical Olive Leaf Stencil, Sugarboo “Happy Hare” painting, my own DIY frames filled with creative papers from Paper Source, and the maternity photographs taken by Esther Mathieu. The Hobbes tiger stuffed animal is the most recent addition to honor Calvin’s namesake.

Photography: Elizabeth Clark Photography | Design: Mandarina Studio