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Triberg in 1929, Keller’s original recipe came with him. To this day, Café Schäfer claims to be the only place in the world


serving the original Black Forest Cake. “T ere are many Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in the Black


Forest,” Schäfer admitted. “But no one [else] knows how to make the details.”


Black Forest Origin Walter Poganietz founded the Conditorei Museum in


Kitzingen and maintains its website, conditorei-museum.de, one of Germany’s largest archives of documentation on the history of confections. He began researching the origins of the Black Forest Cake in 2001 aſt er a museum in Rodolfzell contacted him for information on their hometown legend. He acknowledged that the book did belong to Keller but had doubts about his role as the dessert’s creator. “On the Internet, in the literature of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte,


you everywhere read and hear Josef Keller was the creator of this cake,” he said. “But I must end your fairytales.” Keller’s granddaughter, Heidi Keller, still lives in Radolfzell and


agreed with Poganietz. “A lot of dates are not right. He was serving in WWI on the


French front,” she said. “And before, he was making his studies at Café Agner. But there’s no picture, no documents. It’s diffi cult to [verify] because that family is now all dead.” Although Poganietz did not support Schäfer’s claim that Keller


originated Black Forest Cake, he did agree with the timeframe. Because a dominant ingredient of the cake is whipped cream, he said its creation likely correlates with the invention of electrical refrigeration in the early 1900s. Whipped cream had to be kept at 41 degrees Fahrenheit for two days. “T en it’s the best for you to make fantastic cakes,” he explained.


“Until the 1900s, you cannot fi nd in the old books whipped cream cakes because they couldn’t cold the cream.” Poganietz also noted that during this same time fruit was not


available around the world as it is today. “You couldn’t transport cherries 100 km [62 miles] to other


Black Forest Cake at Cafe Schäfer.


way from India to taste the original recipe.” According to Schäfer, he has received accolades from as far


away as Tokyo and Taiwan. “So many stories,” he said. “One day, we received message


from Rome. T ey want to invite me to come to Italy to create Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte for their marriage.” Café Schäfer’s offi cial history, succinctly explained on the


café’s website, brochures and menus, states that Keller invented Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in 1915 while working at Café Agner in Bad Godesberg. He soon opened his own shop in Radolfzell where Schäfer’s father, August Schäfer, inherited the recipe book while working as his apprentice. When August returned to


countries,” he explained. “So Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte could only be produced in regions where cherries were grown.” T e dessert demands authentic Black Forest cherries. Every


cherry in Schäfer’s kitchen comes from Baden-Baden in the heart of the region, as do the cherries used to make the cherry liquor, or Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser, called for in the recipe. In fact, Schäfer said, the liquor industry does not allow cherry schnapps bearing the name Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser to be sold unless it is made with cherries grown in the region. As Poganietz said, “T e cherries of the Black Forest are famous.” T e fi rst documented reference to the Black Forest Cake was


in 1934 in J.M. Erich Weber’s “250 Konditorei Spezialitäten und Wie Sie Entstehen,” meaning “250 Special Cakes and How to Do It.” In his introduction, Weber described the recipes as new specialty cakes not found in nearby confectionaries. However, Poganietz speculated that the recipes were not actually new but


ALPINE LIVING 2011 | 57


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