Swiss Kirsch Cake

Zuger Kirsch Torte

Rate this recipe


Preparation info

  • Yield:


    cakes, 10 inches in diameter
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Professional Pastry Chef

By Bo Friberg

Published 1989

  • About

This cake is as synonymous with Switzerland as the Black Forest Cake is with Germany, although both cakes are made and are quite popular in each country. Swiss Kirsch Cake is especially favored in the Black Forest region of Germany, which is on the Swiss border. The people there love cherries in everything!

Zuger Kirsch Torte, also known simply as Zug Torte, was named after the medieval Swiss town of Zug, located near the northern end of the Zuger Sea (perhaps a bit too near, as part of the town sank in 1435, 1594, and again in 1887). A wonderful time to visit this area is in the early spring, when the cherry trees are in bloom and the tourist season hasn’t officially started. You can hardly find a konditorei in this region, or for that matter in Switzerland, that does not have some version of this diet-busting dessert, with its delicious combination of kirschwasser-soaked sponge, thin, crisp layers of meringue, and a covering of kirsch-flavored buttercream. Add to that the practicality of this cake, which can be made several days ahead and then finished quickly, and it is not hard to understand why Zuger Kirsch Torte is a hit with both the consumer and the konditor.



  1. Pipe the Japonaise meringue batter into 4 circles, 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter, following the instructions for Meringue Noisette (see Figure 1-5). Bake at 300°F(149°C) for approximately 30 minutes or until dry and golden. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the simple syrup and kirschwasser. Add half of the mixture, together with the beet juice, to the buttercream. Stir until completely incorporated. Reserve the remaining syrup mixture.
  3. Cut the skin from the top of the sponge cake and cut the top even at the same time. Cut the cake into 2 layers.
  4. Place 2 of the Japonaise circles on cardboard cake rounds for support. Spread a ¼-inch (6-mm) layer of buttercream on each one. Brush some of the reserved syrup mixture over the sponge layers, then invert them, syrup-side down, onto the buttercream. Press down lightly so they adhere. Brush as much of the remaining syrup as needed over the top and sides of the sponges so that the syrup thoroughly penetrates the cake. Spread a ¼-inch (6-mm) layer of buttercream over the sponges. Place the remaining Japonaise circles on top of the buttercream layer, flat-side up. Refrigerate the cakes until the buttercream is firm.
  5. Trim any Japonaise that protrudes from the sides of the cakes to make the sides even (see Figure 11-11). Ice the top and sides of the cakes with a thin layer of buttercream, using just enough to cover the sponge. You should have a small amount of buttercream left to use in decorating. Mark the sides of the cakes with horizontal lines, using a serrated cake-decorating comb (Figure 11-17). Mark the tops of the cakes in a diamond pattern, using either a diamond template or by marking parallel lines every ½ inch (1.2 cm), first in one direction, then again at a 45-degree angle, with the back of a long knife. Refrigerate the cakes to set the buttercream.

  6. Sift powdered sugar lightly over the tops of the cakes. Cut or mark the cakes into the desired number of servings. Place the remaining buttercream in a pastry bag with a No. 4 (8-mm) plain tip. Pipe a small dot of buttercream at the wide end of each slice. Place a cherry cookie on each buttercream dot (see Note). Serve with cherry sauce if using as a plated dessert.

Figure 11-17 Using a serrated cake-decorating comb to mark horizontal lines on the sides of Swiss Kirsch Cake by holding the comb against the cake while rotating the cake-decorating turntable

Part of