blackened forest cake

July 1st, 2010 § 9

More than almost any other type of cooking, grilling is a form of theatre. It can be a tricky performance for the person holding the tongs – trying to get everything finished at the same time, to varying degrees of done-ness, moving things closer and further away from that one really hot spot, and everyone asking how much longer?

BBQ'ed chocolate cake, with vanilla gelatto and flambéed cherries.BBQ'ed chocolate cake, with vanilla gelatto and flambéed cherries.BBQ'ed chocolate cake, with vanilla gelatto and flambéed cherries.

grilled chocolate cake, with vanilla gelato and cherries flambé

Sometimes it doesn’t all come together as planned. Steaks get overcooked, chicken gets undercooked, or most of the onions fall through the cracks. But don’t worry. You have a surprise ending that will eclipse the minor imperfections in your performance: grilled dessert.


No one expects a platter of grilled pineapple or peaches to arrive on the table at the end of a meal, and grilled fruit is one of the easiest desserts you can make. This was the seed idea for this recipe: a simple and surprising fruit-based, grilled dessert.


We thought it would be fun to grill skewers of cherries, and then thought of chocolate, then of cake and ice cream, and suddenly there it was, begging to be made: grilled black forest cake.Flambe in the pan, or at the table for dramatic presentation.

Flambé in the pan, or at the table for a dramatic presentation.

Blackened Forest Cake

NOTES: Any sort of jam will do if you don’t have cherry on hand.

Fresh cherries
Cherry jam
Chocolate cake
Vanilla ice cream

Pit the cherries, and slice most of them into quarters. Slice the rest of them in half. Simmer the cherries over low heat with a spoonful or two of jam, until the cherries have softened and released some juice. Meanwhile, make thick slices of cake and grill them briefly on each side, about 20 seconds, or until just slightly charred.

Sprinkle some kirsch over each slice of cake, then top with a scoop of ice cream and some of the warm cherry compote. Before spooning the compote over the ice cream, you may wish to flambé it with some kirsch.

For even higher drama, warm the kirsch in a small saucepan, set it alight at the table, and pour the flaming liquid over the plated desserts in front of your astonished guests. They will forget all about your burnt asparagus.

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§ 9 Responses to “blackened forest cake”

  • You two are wacky grill wizards! You’ve inspired me…What about grilled angel food cake with grilled gingery pineapple and a scoop of coconut sorbet?

  • Wei-Wei says:

    This is so creative! Kudos to you both for coming up with such an innovative idea ;) I bet guests would do a double take: “Oh, black forest cake, okay… What? BlackENED?” I would be curious for sure.


  • Rob says:

    Yes, angel food cake was also on the table for a while, as were panetone, lemon loaf, and brownies. I like the idea of angel food and pineapple with coconut, you could set some dark rum alight over it and call it a pina illuminata.

  • David says:

    Wei Wei, it’s our national holiday here in Canada today, and I think we’ll make this again tonight to celebrate. We’ll make sure we save a big piece for you.

  • Claudia says:

    I tried roasting cherries this week with balsamic to put over thin pork chops. It sounded good but they weren’t pitted and I mostly ate my dinner with with my fingers. I like your idea much better.

  • Christina says:

    You had me at grilled cherry skewers. You guys never cease to amaze me.

  • Wow, that is truly amazing! I love the grilling idea…. how original!

  • love the drama in this post, gentlemen–very sexy.

  • steph says:

    Cherries look great. J’ai faim.