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SCHWARZWALDER KIRSCHTORTE 
CHOCOLATE CURLS:

8 oz. semi-sweet bar chocolate

To make chocolate curls to garnish the cake, the bar or chunks of chocolate should be at room temperature but not soft. Hold the chocolate over wax paper or foil and shave the bar or square into thin curls with a sharp narrow-bladed vegetable peeler. Draw the peeler along the wide surface of the chocolate for large curls, and along the narrow side for small ones. Handle the chocolate as little as possible. Refrigerate or freeze the curls until you are ready to use them.

CAKE:

1 tbsp. butter, softened
6 tbsp. flour
10 tbsp. sweet butter
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a pastry brush or paper towel, lightly coat the bottoms and sides of three 7-inch round cake pans with soft butter, using about 1 tablespoon of butter in all. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour into each pan; tip them from side to side to spread the flour evenly, then invert the pans and rap them sharply on a table to remove any excess flour. Set the pans aside.

Clarify 10 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan by melting it slowly over low heat without letting it brown. Let it rest for a minute off the heat, then skim off the foam. Spoon the clear butter into a bowl and set aside. Discard the milky solids at the bottom of the pan.

In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and 1 cup of sugar together at high speed for at least 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fluffy. (By hand with a rotary beater, this may take as long as 20 minutes of uninterrupted beating.)

Combine the 1/2 cup of sifted flour and the unsweetened cocoa in a sifter. A little at a time sift the mixture over the eggs, folding it in gently with a rubber spatula. Finally, add the clarified butter 2 tablespoons at a time. Do not overmix. Gently pour the batter into the prepared cake pans dividing it evenly among the three of them.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake and turn them out on racks to cool completely.

SYRUP:

3/4 c. sugar
1 c. cold water
1/3 c. kirsch

Meanwhile, prepare the kirsch syrup in the following fashion: Combine 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup of cold water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Boil briskly, uncovered, for 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and when the syrup has cooled to lukewarm, stir in the kirsch.

Transfer the cakes to a long strip of wax paper and prick each layer lightly in several places with the tines of a long fork. Sprinkle the layers evenly with the syrup and let them rest for at least 5 minutes.

FILLING AND TOPPING:

3 c. chilled heavy cream
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 c. kirsch
1 c. poached pitted fresh red cherries or 1 c. drained and rinsed canned
sour red cherries
Fresh sweet red cherries with stems, or substitute maraschino cherries with
stems, drained and rinsed

If you are using fresh cherries for the filling, poach them in the following fashion: Remove their stems and pits, then combine them with 2 cups of water and 3/4 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, simmer for 5 minutes, or until the cherries are tender. Drain them in a colander, discarding the syrup, and pat the cherries completely dry with paper towels. Canned cherries need only be rinsed in cold water and patted completely dry with paper towels.

In a large chilled bowl, beat the cream with a whisk or a rotary or electric beater until it thickens lightly. Then sift 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar over the cream and continue beating until the cream forms firm peaks on the beater when it is lifted out of the bowl. Pour in the 1/4 cup kirsch in a thin stream, and beat only until the kirsch is absorbed.

To assemble the cake, place one of the three layers in the center of a serving plate. With a spatula, spread the top with a 1/2-inch-thick layer of whipped cream and strew the cup of fresh or canned cherries over it leaving about 1/2-inch of cream free of cherries around the perimeter.

Gently set a second layer on top of the cherries and spread it with 1/2 inch of whipped cream. Then set the third layer in place. Spread the top and sides of the cake with the remaining cream.

With your fingers, gently press chocolate curls into the cream on the sides of the cake and arrange a few chocolate curls and fresh or maraschino cherries attractively on top.

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