Black Forest Cherry Cake. Photo: Fine Dining Lovers
Black Forest Cherry Cake. Photo: Fine Dining Lovers

What is black forest cake?

Black Forest Cake or Gateau is a cake of German origin consisting of layered chocolate cake, tart cherries and fresh whipped cream. It usually contains Kirsch which is a cherry flavoured brandy based liqueur.

Over time the term “black forest” has become oft used to refer to any baked item with a combination of chocolate cake, cherries and cream. Like many classics, many of us play fast and loose with such terms.

I know that this isn’t a traditional recipe. But realistically, as its a delicious combination of flavours which are easily recognisable, this is what I’m going to call it, according to feastgloriousfeast.

How to make Black Forest Cherry Cake


For the chocolate cake

2 cups (400g) granulated sugar

2 3/4 cup (322g) all-purpose flour

1 cup (82g) unsweetened cocoa (lightly spoon into cup then sift)

2 teaspoons ((10g) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2g) salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226g) unsalted butter, softened (do not soften in microwave) I cut the butter into 1 inch pieces onto waxed paper leaving on the countertop for 8 to 10 minutes. I

1/4 cup (54g) vegetable oil

4 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup (220g) milk

1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract

1 cup (220) hot coffee, it can be instant or brewed

For the cherry filling

1 can (15 oz) Sweet Dark Cherries (pitted) in heavy syrup. Separate cherries from syrup.

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch (corn flour in the UK)

Cherry Kirsch Liqueur (2 Tablespoons for filling, plus additional for brushing over layers)

For the Sweetened Whipped Cream Filling and Frosting

3 Cups Heavy Cream

3/4 Cup Confectioners Sugar


2 (4 oz) Bars Semisweet Baking Chocolate for Shavings

Approximately 8-10 Fresh Cherries with stems for top of cake ( you could also use maraschino cherries)

Large star piping tip for top border


Photo: The Best Cake Recipes
Photo: The Best Cake Recipes

For the Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease and flour THREE 8 inch cake pans

In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk for 1 minute to blend.

Add softened butter a few pieces at a time while the mixer is on low speed. Mix until the dry ingredients look like coarse sand and the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk , oil and vanilla until blended.

Method is important when using the Reverse Creaming Method. With the mixer on low speed, SLOWLY add approximately 1/2 of the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 1/2 minutes at medium speed. Don't mix above medium speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, beating for 20 seconds after each pour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl.

Slowly add the cup of hot coffee and mix another 30 seconds until blended. The batter will be very runny. Don't worry!

Pour into 3 prepared 8" pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cakes 10 minutes on a rack and then turn out of the pans.

***Read more: TOP 10 Best Delicious Traditional Cakes Around the World!

For the Cherry Filling

Drain the cherry syrup into a measuring cup...the juice/syrup will be about 1/2 cup or so. Add water to the syrup to reach the 1 cup mark. Set the cherries to the side and pour the one cup of liquid into a sauce pan.

In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the cherry syrup mixture stir until well combined. When combined add it back to the saucepan of cherry syrup and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Keep in mind that it will thicken further as it cools. Gently stir in the drained, sliced cherries and Kirsch.

(If you want a sweeter filling, add sugar at this point. Taste and adjust to your liking, the same is true with the amount of Kirsch.)

For the Chocolate Shavings

Photo: Saving Room for Dessert
Photo: Saving Room for Dessert

I used a vegetable peeler to create chocolate curls and shavings. Just glide over the room temperature chocolate bars to create lots of curls and shavings.

For the Sweetened Whipped Cream

Chill a glass/metal mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 10 minutes

Beat the heavy cream on high speed until it begins to thicken (to around the soft peak stage), then gradually add the confectioners sugar, continuing to beat until the stiff peak stage -- this can happen quickly so keep an eye on it. (Peaks hold their shape when the mixer is pulled from the bowl). Don't over-beat or you will wind up with butter! I like to do this step with a hand mixer but if you'd prefer, you can do it with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer.

Cake Assembly

Place first cake layer on your pedestal or cake base. Brush over the top with a thin coating of the Kirsch cherry liqueur. Follow with a layer of the cooled cherry filling. (I like to spread to about 1/2 inch from the edge of the cake.)

Spread a layer of whipped cream over the filling.

Add the second cake layer.

Brush over the second layer with the cherry liqueur, and repeat above steps. Add the third chocolate cake layer, brush with a light coating of the liqueur, and frost top and sides with whipped cream.

Press chocolate shavings around the side and on the top center of the cake. Pipe a border of whipped cream stars (I used an Ateco 869 but a Wilton 6B, 8B or your large star tip of choice is good.) I placed the fresh cherries into every other piped star so that they are evenly spaced, according to Mycakeschool.

Notes before starting

The cake layers are made without any leavening agent such as baking powder -- so that the only thing that makes the layers rise in the baking is the air you've beaten into the batter. You therefore have to concentrate on incorporating as much air as possible during the beating process. If using a mixer, make sure to use the whisk attachment instead of the normal cake beater. If using an egg beater or hand mixer, you may need to beat the basic egg and sugar mixture for longer than ten minutes to get it light and fluffy enough.

Because the cake doesn't contain any shortening, it stales quickly. The buttercream filling/icing therefore fulfills another function besides just tasting nice and holding the layers apart: it keeps the cake from drying out prematurely. If as you're constructing the cake you start getting the feeling that there isn't going to be enough buttercream to cover it evenly on the outside to at least 1/4 inch thick, pause to make some more buttercream. Later on you'll be glad you did.

For more: How to Make Popular Cake - Top Baking Tips, check out KnowInsiders website, or click here!

Easy Steps to Make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake Easy Steps to Make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This classic cake forever remains a favorite dessert for all generations. What are you waiting for? Check the information given below and start making one ...

15 Mins to Bake Mug Chocolate Cake 15 Mins to Bake Mug Chocolate Cake

A chocolate mug cake recipe is one of those super simple desserts that everyone needs to have in their back pocket just in case a ...

Easy Steps to make a Red Velvet Cake Easy Steps to make a Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cakes are the perfect dessert for pretty much any occasion you can think of. Let's follow the instructions of making a red velvet ...