Two years ago today I published my very first post in Jun-blog.  It was a sweet tribute to San Francisco, the place I call home away from home.  Looking back, I marvel at how much the blog has changed and how much it has changed my life.  Recipes shared.  Memories rekindled.  Opportunities gained. Friendships forged.

Thank you for welcoming Jun-blog to your home and to your kitchen week after week.  Our friendship based on our love for food and the people we share that food with means the world to me.  I am truly thankful.

What lies ahead, you may ask. I frankly do not know.  Two years ago writing about food and my heritage didn’t even cross my mind but look at what the blog has become.  As we move forward together, I can only offer you more of the food and memories that you have grown to love. Plus birthday cake, of course! My mom and I were rifling through old photographs and found one from her birthday many years ago.  We both remembered that day like it was yesterday.  The silk curtains.  The heavy round table.  The amber-colored dinner plates.  The black forest cake.


Black Forest Cake


My mom isn’t a baker.  My sisters and I grew up with birthday cakes that were and still are store-bought.  So we thought it would be fun to spend the last day of her visit baking in the kitchen.  She and I spent the entire afternoon tinkering with spatulas and mixing bowls while recounting stories from birthdays past.  We made banana cakes and condensed milk pound cakes to take with her on the long journey back — her pasalubong for my sisters.  And we also made a decadent black forest cake with cherries that we picked together in a farm a few weeks ago.  It was a lovely day and a lovely cake.  Both etched now in our memories.

The photograph on the left was taken by my sister and the one on the right was taken by Dennis à la Irina Werning.


Black Forest Cake Recipe
Recipe based on Jean Anderson’s and Hedy Würz’s The New German Cookbook published in Saveur Magazine, makes one 9-inch cake

For the cake

13 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon almond extract
9 eggs, separated
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely grated
3 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
3/4 cup finely ground almonds

For the filling

2 cups whole cherry preserves
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
9 tablespoon kirschwasser

For the frosting

3 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, at room temperature, shaved into curls with a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler
8 pitted and brandied cherries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Use 1/2 tablespoon of the butter to grease three 9-inch round cake pans, line pans with parchment paper, and grease paper with another 1/2 tablespoon butter. Dust each pan with 1 tablespoon of the flour, tapping out excess, and set pans aside.

Put remaining 12 tablespoons of the butter, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add egg yolks, and beat for 1 minute. Fold in chocolate and set aside.

Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy. Add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, increase speed to high, and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form, 4–5 minutes. Fold one-third of the whites into the butter mixture, then fold in remaining whites. Sift remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt together. Sift one-quarter of the flour mixture at a time into butter–egg mixture, folding in mixture after each addition. Fold in almonds. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow cakes to cool briefly, then invert onto a wire rack, peel off parchment, and set aside to let cool completely.

Whip cream in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, then set aside.

Put one of the cake layers on a cake plate. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of kirschwasser. Spread 1 cup of cherries, then half the whipped cream, over cake and set another cake layer on top. Repeat layering with another 3 tablespoons of kirschwasser and remaining 1 cup of cherries, whipped cream, and cake layer, pressing down slightly on top layer and sprinkling it with remaining 3 tablespoons kirschwasser.

Whip cream and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, then frost top and sides of torte. Sprinkle chocolate curls on top and sides of torte, then decorate top with cherries. Let torte rest for 2 to 3 hours (in the refrigerator, if your kitchen is hot) before serving.


Black Forest Cake


  • abigail

    Happy Blog Birthday Jun! 

    Mama Jun’s smile is adorable which makes me smile too

  • Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane

    Happy Birthday, Jun-blog!  I absolutely adore the side-by-side photos of you and your mom.  Looking forward to continuing the uncharted journey with you.

  • Samantha food geek

    Happy Birthday JunBlog!! May you have many more birthdays to come!

  • Bianca Garcia

    Happy blog anniversary Jun!! I am so happy I found your blog, I love reading about Filipino food and your memories associated with home. Those pictures of you and your mom are lovely. When I think of black forest cake, I think of my own mom too!

  • Christine

    I love this blog! I tried almost all the recipes! :) Happy Birthday!

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful… and what a touching tribute to your mom and birthdays. The photographs side-by-side are not only beautiful, but evoked an emotional response, which makes it even better. Happy birthday to Jun-blog!

  • Charissa (zest bakery)

    I love the photos of you and your mom. Absolutely precious.

    Glad she is here to share in your celebration(s!). :) Congrats!

  • Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

    Congrats on the blog birthday and this cake looks gorgeous and delicious!

  • Liren

    Happy blog birthday, Jun. What an incredible two years it has been for you – just never know what the future holds :) I love the Irini Werning inspired photos – I remember the first time I saw her work – it was a little nostalgic, sometimes a little eerie – in this case, quite heartwarming.

  • Jo Boston

    gorgeous cake, and the pics of you and your mom were heartmelting.  congratulations and happy blog birthday!

  • Lisa

    I love Irina Werning’s photos, yours with your mom are so sweet! I can relate when you say your birthday cakes all came from a boxed mix, my mother was also never a baker but it wasn’t less special when she did pull out the mixes. Many congrats on your blog birthday!

  • The Daily Palette

    Happy 2nd Birthday to Jun-Blog!  Wow, I love the then-and-now photos, Jun!  You two look truly happy ;-) .

  • Anneliesz

    Congrats on 2 years Jun! This cake looks delightful!

  • Jeannie

    This cake looks amazing! Love it very much but  it is very tedious sounding!

  • skip to malou

    happy anniversary jun!  i love this pic with your mom in contrast to that when you were little.  congratulations, you have achieved so great lengths as a blogger, photographer and writer.  bravo!!!! 

  • chef_d

    Happy blog anniversary!  Your black forest cake looks delicious!

  • Lala


    Happy Blog-o-Birthday!!   So happy to have found you and your blog.  I read your posts as if you and I are old friends.  Well, age is nothing but a number right?

    Congrats on the blog and I look forward to reading more and more and more!!

    Je t’embrasse,

  • Anonymous

    All I can say is WOW on that repro photo. Crazy. Heartbreaking. Sweet as Hell… GREG

  • MissTdJ

    Your blog is one of the bright spots of my day. Your words & photos make me homesick, but in a very good way. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, memories, and recipes with us.

  • Betty Ann fr Asianinamericamag

    What a beautifully-written post, Jun! I love how you reminisce and capture every memory, emotion, feeling. I can even smell the aroma coming from your kitchen! And how sweet to honor your Mom (ahem, paging my sons, see how Jun pays tribute to his Mom!) CONGRATULATIONS on your 2nd blog anniversary. May you be blessed with many more rich memories, recipes, friendships & all that’s good in life ! Mabuhay !

  • saberkite

    Ha. I know which black forest cake you’re talking about. To this day, I still don’t quite like it, but I tolerate it hehe.

    Happy birthday Junblog! It’s so nice to stumble upon your blog and see how our lovely food flourishes in your side of the world. Here’s to more years and good eats!

  • Cristina De Guzman

    Happy 2nd blogoversary, Jun! Wishing you many more wonderful years of food & photography blogging! May you never get tired of sharing your amazing recipes and photos with us!

  • BakerStreet

    Happy 2nd blog-o-versary, Jun! Here’s too a hundred more! Cheers.
    Now onto your lovely post. I love Irina’s photograph. and the cake looks sooo good. 

  • Joan Nova

    Lovely post…we, the readers, are all the richer for your efforts over the past 2 years. Congratulations.

  • Edithbpalma

    hi! My dear brother read your blog incldg the comments this morning to our mommy dearest over the phone bec as you know she is not online.  She is so happy and very, very proud of you. She misses you so much and wishes to come back there. She could still vividly remember the delicious taste of the black forest that the two of you baked. She is very thankful that you didn’t put any wine on the cake bec wine makes her dizzy. Happy 2nd blog’ nniversary ! BTW I was not able to taste the butter cake and pound cake bec when I visited her they are all gone. Looking forward to tasting your cakes when you visit us here.

  • Jun Belen

    I have Stanford to thank for because if it weren’t for him you wouldn’t have found my blog! Thank you, Trina.  Hope little Clementine and Corser are doing well.

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you! I feel the same way, Celine. You and I are just like old pals. Pen-pals. Neighbors.  The Way We Were.


  • Tracey@Tangled Noodle

    Happy 2nd Blog anniversary! What a lovely way to celebrate – the “then & now” photos with your mom are sooo sweet. And the cake is no slouch either! Wishing you many, many more happy years of eating, cooking and blogging! 8-)

  • Anonymous

    Jun, you must be very close to your mom and this closeness is the trait and value that we always treasure and proud of as Filipinos.  This is also a value that is misunderstood by some and envied by other cultures.  Happy 2nd Anniversary to your blog!

    - Wishing you more success -


  • Jun Belen

    Thank you, Abigail!  We had a lot of fun baking that day but had more fun shooting that photograph.  Thank you so much for following the blog!

  • Jun Belen

    Beth, thank you! Unchartered journey sounds about right.

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you, Samantha! You’re one of those friendships I’m glad I have forged through the blog.

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you, Bianca!  I’m so happy, too, that we connected through our blogs.

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you, Christine.  It warms my heart when people do try the recipes.  Thank you, once again.

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you for your kind note, Marie!  I hope we’ll meet sometime soon.

  • Anonymous

    This cake looks insanneee! I havnt had black forest cake in longer than i care to think about, such a delicious combo of flavours. Gorgeous :)

  • Lulu

    WOW !! Your mom looks great !!! what is her secret .. she almost look the same.. FANTASTIC !!!

  • Jun Belen

    Oil of Olay.  Her secret’s Oil of Olay every night.  The secret’s out! Thank you, Lulu!

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you so much, Ray for the very kind note.  Being the only son in a family of eight and the youngest to boot, my and I are very close.  Again, thank you for your warm wishes for the blog, Ray.

  • Alvin

    Love the pics! It’s amazing what can happen in a year. A best blog nomination, an appearance on a network, and a stronger voice that resonates through your writing and photographs.  Here’s hoping  I’ll have your own book prominently displayed on my coffee table one of these days.  Congratulations!

  • Anonymous

    What a wonderful memory and how fabulous to have it in photos!  You both look so much the same, it’s like time has barely passed.

  • Jessica Wakasugi

    What a beautiful cake and congratulations on your 2-year anniversary!  I can’t get over those pictures of you and your mom, some times things never change!

  • Sean

    LOVE Black Forest Cake, haven’t seen it or had it in years. I seem to recall the bakery in St. Louis we went to had a chocolate frosting — but it’s really all about the cherries, as your recipes amply provides for. Also a big fan of German Chocolate Cake — lots of goo (not sure what’s in that…) and the coconut. Yum! Thanks for the inspiration.  And your Mom looks so sweet (and also looks like she adores he little boy!)

  • JourneyKitchen

    Belated anniversary wishes Jun! Love that before and latest picture. Everything changes and nothing does :-)

  • Anonymous

    Happy happy blog birthday! What a sweet picture of you and your mom — I love looking back at old photos. Despite growing up quite modestly, I always looked happy and to this day my parents say those were the most joyous years of their life. It’s not to say they’re not happy right now (unless you count their current ant infestation throughout their kitchen lol), but as the great Big Poppa once said, “Mo money, mo problems.” :-p Great cake, too!

  • carolineadobo

    Not too late to greet you and your awesome blog a Happy Anniversary! I read this post when it first came out and missed on commenting. Seeing your picture of you and your mom made me smile again :)

  • Anonymous

    A gorgeous post and a delicious cake… love the memories and the connect!

  • Pingback: Food Magazine’s 50 Best and How to Make Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding | Jun-Blog

  • Pingback: How to make a Black Forest Cake - Recipes Round Up | Favorite Food RecipesFavorite Food Recipes