Black Forest cake is a relatively recent invention—the first published recipe appeared in 1934—but when we find a superlative version of the ambrosial treat, it stirs something primal within us. In the village of Baiersbronn, in Germany's Black Forest, we encountered the best Schwarzwalder kirschtorte (Black Forest cake) we've ever had, made by the konditormeister Georg Klumpp, of Cafe am Eck. Using his grandfather's recipe, Klumpp doused two layers of chocolate cake with kirsch, a syrup made from kirshwasser, and embedded nearly a pound of brandy-soaked sour cherries and copious whipped cream between them. He finished the cake off with another layer of sponge, more cherries, more whipped cream, and a crown of chocolate shavings, then baptized his creation with a good long pour of kirsch over the top, just as his grandfather did. Each bite was a creamy, boozy, sweet-tart joy.
Cafe am Eck