I didn’t actually call my grandmother Charlotte Boltz née Manock (1912-1988) Oma, Grandma in German, when I was young. Although she was from Germany, to me she was just Grandma. However, my cousins called her Oma and my children know of her as Oma, distinguishing her from the many other Grandmas in the family.

My grandmother used to bake wonderful cakes, many of them from recipes in this book by the Dr Oetker company. I particularly remember her baking Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, Black Forest cherry cake.

My mother’s copy of Dr Oetker’s cookbook Backen macht Freude, (Cooking with joy). It probably dates from the early 1950s. It cost DM1.80. The Deutschmark was introduced in 1948.
The recipe for Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte page 104
The recipe continued on page 105.

The recipe calls for a biscuit base, then a sponge. The cherries are sour cherries.

There were sour cherry trees at the bottom of my grandparent’s garden. We would pick them each year around Christmas tree. Grandma bottled them. There were always cherries bottled and stored for cake making.

Some of my grandmother’s cakes for a birthday in May 1985, quite probably my grandmother’s birthday. The cake on the left hand side is Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. The other cake is a chocolate and almond cake. My grandmother was very fond of lily of the valley on the right hand side of the photo.

Yesterday I baked a cake from Dr Oetker’s recipe. I was pleased with the result. The taste takes me back to my childhood. The cake is very light, not too chocolately and the sour cherries are beautifully tangy.

Baking the cake

Making the biscuit base. It seemed very dry despite the egg white but it did come together after being chilled.


the biscuit mixture is chilled and rested
pressed into the base of the springform tin
my baked biscuit base fitted perfectly onto my cake plate

Baking the sponge

the egg yolks are beaten with a little warm water til they are pale and creamy
egg whites are beaten separately
fold egg whites in – I do it a third at a time
add sifted dry ingredients
and fold in gently
the baked sponge
upside down cooling – I am pleased with the texture

The filling

Assembling the cake

The finished product

Essential ingredients

I felt fortunate to be able to buy in Ballarat both sour cherries and Kirschwasser from the Schwarzwald

Further reading

Translation of the recipe into English by Reddit users at the request of somebody else whose Grandma used to make this cake: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13jtsz/my_grandma_who_past_away_used_to_make_a_black/