Bill Yosses, the White House pastry chef, made a Black Forest cake in a chocolate box, "a very modern dessert with classic underpinnings—dark chocolate cake, cherries, whipped cream," he says. He swapped in some whole grain pastry flour and used omega-3-rich almond oil instead of butter, explaining, "I often make healthy substitutions now because I'm taking care of the Obama family." He also subtly tinkered with the cake's traditional taste, adding honey from the White House garden, plus lemon zest. "I like giving people flavors that transport them out of the present," he says.

This cake is one of 10 sweet creations in celebration of O's 10th birthday.
Servings: Serves 12–14
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat (or whole grain) pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 7 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks , at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract | Get the recipe!
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
Whipped cream:
  • 3 cups heavy cream , chilled
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract | Get the recipe!
  • 2 1/4 tsp. powdered gelatin
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. cold water
  • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
Cherry filling:
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen sour cherries , pitted and thawed if necessary, or 4 cups fresh or frozen sweet cherries , pitted
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Simple syrup:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp. rum or kirsch (optional)
Milk Chocolate Shavings:
  • 6 oz. milk chocolate , chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
  • Whole cherries
Note: This recipe makes the cake itself, with a whipped cream, shaved chocolate, and cherry topping. Bill Yosses serves the cake in a chocolate box (pictured).

To make cake: Preheat oven to 325°. Spray an 11" x 17" baking pan with cooking spray, then line bottom with parchment paper and spray again. Position an oven rack in middle of the oven.

Melt butter; transfer to a bowl to cool. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and cocoa; set aside.

Whisk eggs, yolks, salt, vanilla, and sugar in a mixing bowl set over a pot of simmering water until just warm to the touch; transfer bowl to a stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed until very light and tripled in volume, about 10 minutes. Gently fold in flour mixture until incorporated. Gently fold about 1/3 of the egg-flour mixture into reserved melted butter, and then fold butter mixture into remaining egg-flour mixture.

Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until cake springs back after touching, about 25 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and cool completely. Remove from pan; transfer with parchment to a cutting board; cut cake into 4 equal pieces horizontally, to make thin layers.

To make whipped cream: In a small saucepan, evenly sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute, then stir frequently for 2 minutes; cook over medium-low heat until gelatin completely dissolves; remove from heat. In a large bowl combine cream and vanilla; beat until soft peaks form, then beat in confectioner's sugar and gelatin, each in a steady stream. Beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch hole, or a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off.

To make cherry filling: Stir together cherries, cornstarch, sugar, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; then simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl and cool; then blend until almost smooth. Chill until ready to use.

To make simple syrup: Stir together 1/2 cup water, sugar, honey, and rum or kirsch (if using) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and transfer to a bowl; chill until ready to use.

To make chocolate shavings: Melt chocolate and shortening in a 1-quart saucepan over very low heat until melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Pour chocolate mixture into a foil-lined loaf pan. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 2 hours. Remove chocolate from pan. Using a vegetable peeler, draw blade across the surface of chocolate to make shavings.

To assemble cake: Place 1 cake piece on a platter, then pipe whipped cream around edge to form a border. Spread 1/3 of cherry filling in center, then spread more whipped cream on top, covering cherry filling. Top with another cake layer; repeat layering process 2 more times until last cake layer is used. Thinly frost the entire cake with whipped cream and freeze until the whipped cream is firm, about 30 minutes. Frost cake with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Garnish with cherries on top. Serve immediately, or refrigerate.


Next Story