To allow for the full flavor in this authentic German black forest cake, make the cake one or two days ahead of when you will need it. This will allow time for the kirsch to soak into the cake and become moist.
Pit most of the cherries leaving about 10 for decoration on top of the cake.
Take the pitted cherries and soak them in a jar of the 1/2 cup Kirsch overnight.
*Note the photo shows canned cherries, you can use either the cherries you are soaking in kirsh or the maraschino cherries to garnish.
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment. Grease the parchment paper with butter.
In a bowl, sift the dry cake ingredients together.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the buttermilk and mix in.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet mixture and mix well.
Pour evenly into the cake pans.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Place the cake pans onto cooling racks.
Cool and remove the cakes.
Prick the tops of the cakes with a toothpick and pour the 1/2 cup of Kirsch (that the cherries soaked in) onto the cake.
In a bowl beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar, salt and espresso and mix well. If the filling is too thick add Kirsch or cherry juice.
Cut the cherries into halves.
Place the base layer on top of your cake tray, spread 1/2 of the filling over one top, cover with cherries and top with another layer of cake.
Spread the second half of the filling over that layer of cake, cover with cherries and top with the third layer of cake. Cover this and let sit in the fridge for a day or two to allow the kirsch to soak into the cake and become moist.
THE DAY YOU ARE GOING TO SERVE THIS CAKE
Prepare the icing.
Chill a glass or metal mixing bowl and the beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the freezer, pour in the heavy cream and beat until it forms stiff peaks.
Gently fold in the dry milk and icing sugar.
Add the vanilla and pour in the Kirsch until it's a good consistency.
If you like more icing double this recipe. Spread the icing over all of the cake.
Place the fresh, intact cherries or the maraschino cherries on top for decoration and cover the top with the chocolate shavings.