Black Forest Cake Recipe

4.94 from 15 votes

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This Black Forest Cake Recipe is a creamy, chocolate-cherry dream! Made from scratch with my homemade chocolate cake, homemade cherry filling, and vanilla whipped cream. It is heaven on a plate.

I am in love with Black Forest Cake and don’t care who knows it. Believe it or not, I used to hate this cake growing up. I’m from a big family and lots of my family members loved it and requested it as a birthday cake. Every gathering or get together would normally have cake and half the time was a terrible store-bought (dry and bland) Black Forest Cake. And thus grew my dismay for this cake.

Black Forest Cake Recipe

Black Forest Cake

One bite of a store-bought Black Forest Cake and I wanted to die. I don’t know about you, but that is not the reaction I like to have when eating cake. Surely there would be a way for me to make a Black Forest Cake palatable for me and all humankind. So, I made this cake completely from scratch with my Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe, added chocolate syrup to keep the crumb extra moist, filled it with a homemade cherry filling, and frosted the whole thing with vanilla whipped cream.

YOU GUYS. I tried it and I LIKED IT. And not just liked…LOVED! Yes, I now love Black Forest Cake.

If you are the person who thinks you don’t like Black Forest Cake and/or want to write it off I beg of you not to. At least not until you try my recipe first! I promise it’s not like the rest! I promise you will like it! Unless you don’t like cherries or chocolate in which case, these might be more of the kind of dessert you’d like.

But first, what is Black Forest Cake?

Black Forest Gateau or Black Forest Cake is a German dessert, typically made out of chocolate sponge cakes, sandwiched together with fresh whipped cream, cherry filling, and Kirsch. This recipe has everything but the Kirsch (but feel free to add in a healthy splash to the cherry filling if you’re feeling traditional).

Cherry Filling in Cake

Black Forest Cake Recipe

To make this Black Forest Cake Recipe you’re going to need these ingredients. If you’re having a hard time finding anything I have a helpful Substitutions list below. Here’s what you’ll need:

Cake

  • Perfect Chocolate Cake – I have my own perfect chocolate cake recipe that I use for this black forest cake. Feel free to use that one, one you personally like the best or storebought cake mix. Just make sure it’s chocolate!
  • Everything Else Needed – depending on which cake you choose to make you’ll need all the other ingredients needed to bake it up! Baking is a science, so make sure you carefully measure out your ingredients.

Cherry Filling

  • Sugar – to sweeten and to help bring out the natural sugars in the cherries.
  • Cornstarch – this is to thicken the syrup.
  • Frozen Tart Cherries – you can’t have a black forest cake without cherries!
  • Butter – this is to help stabilize and flavor.
  • Almond Extract – for flavor!

Assembly

  • Whipped Cream – I made my homemade whipped cream recipe for this cake. Trust me, homemade tastes way better than storebought.
  • Chocolate Syrup – this is to further flavor the cakes once baked.
  • Baking Chocolate – I used a bittersweet Ghiradelli bar to make chocolate shavings for the outside of the cake.

Assembling Cake

How to make Black Forest Cake

  1. The first thing to do to make this black forest cake is to make the cake using this recipe! Or use one of your own cake recipes. It just needs to be a chocolate cake that you love. Store-bought would be fine too. Let the 2-8 inch cakes cool completely and make the filling.
  2. For the cherry filling, stir sugar and cornstarch together in a cold small pot until combined. Add in cherries and toss. Place over medium-low heat to melt frozen cherries. Once a paste has formed around the cherries, increase the heat to medium and keep stirring until all the liquid has come out of the cherries and mixture is boiling. Continue to stir until it becomes very thick, about 4 minutes or boiling. Be careful to not walk away from this mixture because it can burn easily. Remove from heat and stir in butter and almond extract. Cool completely.
  3. For the cream, whip heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Iced Cake

Assembly

  1. Slice one 8-inch round in half and place onto a cake plate. Drizzle the inside of the cake with 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and spread using the back of a spoon. Top with the other half of cake. Add on cooled cherry filling leaving a 1-inch border. (You will not use all of it…FYI! I had about 2 tablespoons left.) Place another half an 8-inch round on top of cherry filling. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and spread. Top with remaining cake.
  2. Spread entire cake with whipped cream. I find it always better to add way too much and then as I clean up the cake, I remove the excess. This helps ensure not a ton of crumbs get into your cream.
  3. If desired use a vegetable peeler to create chocolate shavings with the chocolate baking bar. Freeze 5 minutes before applying to the sides and top of the black forest cake.
  4. Garnish with cherries if desired. Serve!

Black Forest Cake

Easy Substitutions

  • Chocolate Cake Mix instead of Homemade. Cake mix is a great thing to pull out for this black forest cake recipe, though more tender than most homemade cakes. Because of this reason, I would forgo the chocolate syrup.
  • Canned Cherry Pie Filling. If you can’t find frozen tart cherries, just use the canned kind. No problem with that! I’m sure it’s much easier to find 🙂
  • Cool Whip instead of Whipped Cream. While I absolutely adore homemade whipped cream, I totally get if you prefer cool whip. It’s more stable and ready to use.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips instead of Chocolate Shavings. If you didn’t want to buy a block of chocolate and shave the chocolate yourself, just buy a bag of mini chocolate chips and garnish with those. It will have the same effect!
Black Forest Cake

Leftovers

Any Black Forest Cake leftovers can stay good in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Unfortunately, this cake doesn’t last very long because of the whipped cream frosting. I also, wouldn’t recommend freezing this cake because of the whipped cream. To get around these hurdles, make the cake and filling ahead of time and frost the day you plan on serving. That way you can extend the life of this delicious cake.

Black Forest Cake Recipe

Love Cake? Try these other recipes:

Again, if you think you hate Black Forest Cake, give this recipe a try. You never know what might change your mind!

Printable recipe card below. Have a great day, friends.

4.94 from 15 votes

Black Forest Cake Recipe

This Black Forest Cake Recipe is made from scratch with my perfect chocolate cake recipe, homemade cherry filling, and vanilla whipped cream!
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Perfect Chocolate Cake baked and cooled

for the cherry filling-

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen tart cherries + extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

for the whipped cream-

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons chocolate syrup divided
  • 4 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate I used Ghirardelli (1 bar)

Instructions

  • The first thing to do is make the cake using this recipe! Let the 2-8 inch cakes cool completely.
  • For the cherry filling, stir sugar and cornstarch together in a cold small pot until combined. Add in cherries and toss. Place over medium-low heat to melt frozen cherries. Once a paste has formed around the cherries, increase the heat to medium and keep stirring until all the liquid has come out of the cherries and mixture is boiling. Continue to stir until it becomes very thick, about 4 minutes or boiling. Be careful to not walk away from this mixture because it can burn easily. Remove from heat and stir in butter and almond extract. Cool completely.
  • For the cream, whip heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble cake-

  • Slice one 8-inch round in half and place onto a cake plate. Drizzle the inside of cake with 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and spread using the back of a spoon. Top with the other half of cake. Add on cooled cherry filling leaving a 1-inch border. You will not use all of it...FYI! I had about 2 tablespoons left.} Place another half an 8-inch round on top of cherry filling. Drizzle with remaining 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and spread. Top with remaining cake. Spread entire cake with whipped cream. I find it always better to add way too much and then as I clean up the cake, I remove the excess. This helps ensure not a ton of crumbs get into your cream.
  • If desired use a vegetable peeler to create chocolate shavings with the chocolate baking bar. Freeze 5 minutes before applying to the sides and top of the cake.
  • Garnish with cherries if desired. Serve!

Nutrition

Calories: 629kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 270mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 62g | Vitamin A: 745IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 3.2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: black forest cake, cherry chocolate cake, chocolate cake
Polaroid photo of granola bars

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Recipe Rating




54 Responses
  1. FJ

    5 stars
    Wow Lauren, that has to be the most decadent looking black forest cake I’ve laid my eyes on. WOW! It’s actually such a coincidence that you posted black forest cake today, as yesterday I was thinking of trying to make one at home [since the only time I had it I was pretty disappointed too]. For a cake that looks so wonderful, usually the ones available outside tastes really bland :/ ANYWAYS, this looks amazing and I love your chocolate syrup idea. I’ll definitely give this a shot sometime, thank you for sharing! Have a wonderful day ^ u ^

  2. Deborah @ The Harvest Kitchen

    Oh my goodness!!! This cake looks incredible!! Makes me want to turn the oven on and get baking (and it’s 90 degrees out)! Pinning for later!

  3. Kay

    Just want to alert you to a possible problem with site (or maybe just on my end?) I need to scroll to the bottom of the page to see new posts. It used to be at the top.

  4. Anne

    Hey this is Anne from Germany – where this cake comes from 😉 in Germany it’s called “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte”. Yours look pretty much like it has to look! Although the ingredients are not the same. The most important thing in this cake usually is the “Kirschwasser”… It’s some kind of alcohol. You know Germans don’t just like beer ? but I am sure, that your version would taste much better than or typical version! Looks really delicious and there so much more chocolate in it ?
    Best wishes from Germany!

  5. Mel

    5 stars
    Hi Lauren! I made this tonight. Everything else was excellent, but my cherry filling turned hard like a glue. Maybe my boiling time was not right? I also refrigerated the cake a couple hours before serving. Maybe that’s the cause? I would appreciate your advice. Thank you so much- your recipes are excellent!

  6. Rachel

    I’m having trouble finding frozen tart cherries. Where did you find yours? Or could I substitute canned or jarred tart cherries for frozen? Thanks!

    1. Lauren

      Only seeing this comment now. You most definitely can use canned cherries! I found my tart cherries in the freezer section of my grocery store. If you can’t find the tart ones, try just normal frozen cherries.

  7. Sarah C.

    5 stars
    Lauren I saw this posted on your facebook this morning and I knew it was what I was making for Valentine’s Day today! It looks amazing! I evened out my cakes so I have the leftover crumbs and whipped cream to snack on until dessert. SO GOOD.
    I used a dash of almond extract in the whipped cream topping too, and it cuts the sweetness a tad (I felt I needed to reduce the sugar as well because the chocolate I had for shaving was Belgium milk chocolate, and that’s a lot sweeter).
    This looks amazing and I’m so glad I get to share this with my Valentine today! Thanks!

  8. Marie

    I am hoping you respond to comments, it doesn’t look like it above. Can this cake be made the day before and refrigerated without changing the filling in the cake?

  9. Chocolate + Cherries = – What About This?

    […] There are black forest cakes, and then there are Black Forest cakes. In my humble personal opinion, this particular one belongs to the latter group. If you’re craving a sweet treat (both indulgent and therapeutic), give this a try. Please note, I used canned cherry pie filling instead of making it myself (I know, I know, I broke one of my cardinal “rules,” but hey – allowances need to be made, sometimes!) I also baked the layers in 9″ rounds. Black Forest Cake recipe. […]

    1. Lauren

      I’ve never tried it with fresh cherries before so I can’t guarantee success with the homemade cherry filling, but I’m assuming it would be yummmmmmmy!!

  10. Mary Carter

    Just wondering, if I’m using the canned cherries does it still need to be cooked with the butter, cornstarch, and sugar or do I just use it as is?

  11. Stephanie

    5 stars
    I made this recipe for my husband’s 50th birthday and I have to say that it is a winner. I used regular milk with vinegar instead of almond milk but everything else I followed exactly. It is an extremely easy cake to make and the chocolate cake part is a keeper recipe for sure. I can’t believe how something so easy could turn into such a show stopper of a cake. Thanks Lauren! This cake will be a regular request for my family for sure.

  12. Sonja Nishimoto

    5 stars
    My friend gave me her recipe and we make it with cake mix for a dark chocolate cake (higher quality mix) and use the canned cherries as filling, chocolate pudding with 1/2 the milk, homemade whip cream and either chocolate shavings or sprinkles and they are delish too and she and I are native Germans. We both leave out the Kirsch Wasser. So good and fast!

  13. Brinna Boese

    Oh my goodness. This looks like heaven. I tried a Black Forest Cake in a restaurant once and ever since then I’ve been dreaming about it, but strangely haven’t made one. This is going to change because I’m going to have to make this. Looks so decadent.

  14. Stephanie

    I love Black Forest Cake too (and I’m the person who asks for it for my birthday every year as well) but I’ve never tried to make my own… maybe I should work on that for my next birthday

  15. Paula Reed

    I have not tried this recipe but if I can make a recommendation (for this/any other multi-layer cake)…for the top layer, flip your cake over, so the bottom (flat part) is now face up, and the curved part is face down.
    This will improve the appearance and ease for decorating if you are looking for a square edge and flat top.
    Just a trick I picked up from George Brown Cooking School.

  16. Mercedes Allen

    5 stars
    Made this for my fiancé’s birthday and it was a hit! Had to make some changes because finding flour and cherries of any kind during a pandemic was impossible, so I used cherry pie filling and a boxed devil’s food cake mix to which I added a small box of chocolate pudding.. Also couldn’t find the Kirsch, but putting chocolate sauce on the cake layers made it plenty moist and flavorful. I used one can of cherry pie filling between the cake layers, frosted the entire cake with the whipped cream frosting, put chocolate shavings on the sides, then added more pie filling to the top, leaving a border on the edge to pipe on some whipped cream flowers. Made the cake the day before and it was fantastic! Will make this again as per the original recipe when ingredients aren’t so difficult to find.

  17. Wade Stembridge

    5 stars
    Yum! I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I made a version of this for my quarantine Birthday.
    It turned out really well!

  18. Gigi

    4 stars
    It’s kind of annoying to have to jump to the cake recipe. It’d be clearer to have them both and not separated.

  19. Sue

    5 stars
    I’ve been looking for a black forest cake recipe for years. It’s my hubby’s favorite dessert. Well I finally came upon yours. It was easy to make, although I had to use canned cherries, which my husband didn’t mind. Anyway, otherwise followed the recipe exactly and let me tell you, it was the best cake I’ve EVER made. Husband said it was the best black forest cake HE has ever had. Now I’m going to try to make the vanilla cake with chocolate icing for my mom’s 89th birthday. Thank you sooooo much.

  20. Maniecel

    Hello,

    I will try your recipe this weekend. But my niece wants the black forest but with the teal colour buttercream. So if I will have the whipped cream outside. And add use vanilla buttercream outside it will be okay? Her party theme is water.

  21. Tammy

    5 stars
    Thank you! This recipe is incredible. I made it for my 18th birthday and it was the best part of the day by far. Also, I really appreciate that it’s non-alcoholic, it was really hard to find a non-alcoholic recipe to make. I’m definitely going to make this again; it was just delightful!

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