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