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BAVARIA


had been in existence in small corners of the country, allowing Black Forest Cake to be traced to an earlier date. “[Weber] found this recipe, but where and which person was


creator, this is impossible to fi nd out,” Poganietz said adamantly. “It’s impossible.” Poganietz found this reference when he began his research in 2001, but a decade of searching turned up no earlier listing. In 1949, Adolf Heckmann’s “Der Junge Konditor,” or “T e


Boy Confectioner,” ranked Black Forest Cake among the 15 most famous specialty cakes. It was around this time that the dessert started its rise to the level of recognition and popularity it enjoys today. As Poganietz explained, whipped cream was unavailable


during World War II, and demand for the treat soared in the following years. Schäfer credited the surge to the return of visitors to Germany. “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was unknown in 1929,” he said.


“In the 50s and 60s aſt er the war, tourism became popular, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte became popular.” Just prior to his death in 1981, Keller paid a visit to his old


apprentice’s café. Schäfer described him as down to earth, saying, “He never thought Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte would become as popular as it did.” Despite being widely credited for the culinary masterpiece,


Keller soon moved on to other pursuits. According to Heidi Keller, Josef Keller had trouble opening a café aſt er WWII because of his service in the German army. “So my father learned [to be] konditor,” she said. “And my


grandfather helped my father in the bakery. Later he made pralines. T is was a hobby of my grandfather.” Heidi Keller said the café’s Black Forest Cake was famous


among locals, but it was not long before Keller’s pralines and meringues were famous as well. T e café closed soon aſt er Keller’s death. “T e old people like cake and coff ee; the young people, they


want fast food,” She surmised with a shrug. “It was a high-up profession to be a konditor and not a baker; that was not the profession that he loved.” Aside from one unsuccessful attempt by her brother, the line


of konditors has died out, leaving Keller’s legacy, warranted or not, to Schäfer. “It was not a moment or a day or one person when


Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was created. It was a period,” Poganietz said. “In this time of refrigeration, whipped cream was possible. In this region, cherries were available. Five or six recipes all had the name Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte; today it’s only one.” So maybe the trail does come to its end, hidden by the dark


enchanted forest. Maybe, as Poganietz believes, there is no single creator of the Black Forest Cake. Or maybe it’s meant to remain a secret, buried under layers as dark and rich as the cake itself. “Everyone says it’s a wonderful story,” Poganietz said. “But it


is a fairytale.” Perhaps it is. But then again, what better place is there for a fairytale than an enchanted forest?


58| ALPINE LIVING 2011


Top: Josef Keller, the creator of Black Forest cake, and his wife. | Photo courtesy of Heidi Keller Middle: Keller’s recipe book at Cafe Schäfer. Bottom: Claus Schäfer at Cafe Schäfer.


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