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Black Forest Cake Recipe

4.66 from 20 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.

taking a slice of cake out of a black forest cake

What is Black Forest Cake?

Black Forest Cake (Black Forest Gateau), is based on a traditional German dessert called Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. It is typically made out of chocolate sponge cakes, sandwiched together with fresh whipped cream, cherry filling, and Kirsch (a type of brandy). The results are a moist chocolatey crumb, a tart cherry filling, and a creamy fresh coating of whipped cream. Ugh, so good!

Choose Your Favorite Chocolate Cake

When I first made this Black Forest Cake, I used my vegan chocolate cake recipe. However, feel free to use whichever chocolate cake recipe you personally like best. Just make sure it’s chocolate! Here are a couple of good options to choose from:

  • Classic – this is my classic chocolate cake recipe that my husband asks for every year for his birthday. Super good, super chocolatey, super reliable.
  • Vegan – don’t worry friends, the vegan cake tastes *just* like regular chocolate cake.
  • Dark Chocolate – make this dark chocolate cake recipe if you like things on the more bitter side.
  • Store-Bought – and lastly, you can always make a store-bought cake mix for ease.

Note: Depending on which cake you choose, you’ll need all the other ingredients that go along with it. Baking is a science, so make sure you carefully measure out your ingredients.

Cherry Filling Options

To make the homemade cherry filling you’re going to need ingredients like frozen tart cherries, sugar, cornstarch, butter, and almond extract. These all come together to make a sweet-tart gelatinous filling.

  • Sweet Cherries – If you like things on the sweeter side, opt for sweet cherries instead of tart.
  • Canned Cherry Filling – Alternatively, you can also use the canned cherry filling as a store-bought shortcut!
  • Kirsch? – A traditional black forest cake recipe contains Kirsch, which is a type of cherry brandy. My recipe has everything but the Kirsch, but feel free to add in a healthy splash to the cherry filling, while cooking, if desired.

Black Forest Cake Decoration

The whole outside of this Black Forest Cake is covered in homemade whipped cream, dusted with chocolate shavings, and topped with more cherries. For more information about making homemade whipped cream <– see here!

While I absolutely adore whipped cream, I totally get if you prefer cool whip. It’s more stable and ready to use. Or if you’d rather use an actual frosting recipe my Buttercream Frosting would work great.

And if you don’t want to buy a block of chocolate and shave it down, just buy a bag of mini chocolate chips!

How to Make Black Forest Cake

For full details and increments on how to make Black Forest Cake, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Make Chocolate Cake

The first thing to do to make this black forest cake is to make the chocolate cake! Be sure to make enough for two 8 inch cakes. Bake and cool completely.

Make Cherry Filling

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 the 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.

Make the Whipped Cream

For the whipped cream, whip heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble Black Forest Cake

Once everything is prepared, it’s time to stack and assemble the cake. This creates a total of seven layers: cake, chocolate syrup, cake, cherry filling, cake, chocolate syrup, and cake.

  1. Slice both 8-inch cake rounds in half horizontally (this leaves you with four 8-inch cake rounds).
  2. Place one round onto a cake plate then drizzle the top of the cake with 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and spread using the back of a spoon. Top with the other half of the cake round.
  3. Add on cooled cherry filling leaving a 1-inch border. (You will not use all of it…FYI! I had about 2 tablespoons left).
  4. Place another layer of cake on top of cherry filling. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and spread. Top with the remaining cake layer.

Decorate!

Spread whipped cream over the entire cake. 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 black forest cake. Garnish with cherries if desired. Serve!

black forest cake side and top

Storing Black Forest Cake

Any Black Forest Cake leftovers can stay good in the fridge for up to 2 days (unfortunately this cake doesn’t last very long). And yes, this cake does need to stay refrigerated because of the filling and the whipped cream “frosting”.

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

To make this cake ahead of time, I wouldn’t recommend freezing it whole (once again, 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 treat.

slice of black forest cake on a white plate

Love Cherries? Try these recipes out:

More Chocolate Cake Recipes!

If you’ve never had Black Forest Cake or if you’re convinced that you hate it, give this recipe a try! You never know what might change your mind!

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

4.66 from 20 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
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins

Ingredients

for the chocolate cake-

for the cherry filling-

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups tart cherries frozen or canned + 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 to make this black forest cake is to make the chocolate cake! Be sure to make enough for two 8 inch cakes. Bake and 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 the 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 whipped cream, whip heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble

  • Slice both 8-inch cake rounds in half horizontally (this leaves you with four 8-inch cake rounds).
  • Place one round onto a cake plate then drizzle the top of the cake with 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and spread using the back of a spoon. Top with the other half of the cake round.
  • 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 layer of cake on top of cherry filling. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and spread. Top with the remaining cake layer.

Decorate

  • Spread whipped cream over the entire cake. 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 black forest cake. Garnish with cherries if desired. Serve!

Notes

The chocolate cake recipe in the recipe card is my Classic Chocolate Cake recipe. Feel free to use whichever chocolate cake recipe you’d like.

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 256mg | Potassium: 377mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 532IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: black forest cake, cherry chocolate cake

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Recipe Rating




64 Responses
  1. Carlie

    2 stars
    this is the umpteenth time I’ve tried making black forest cake for my husband. Your recipe is one of many I’ve tried and once again my cakes fell in the middle – no matter the recipe my cakes have fallen every. time. What on earth am I doing wrong? Why do they always fall? Why can’t I get fluffy and sturdy chocolate cake and why isn’t there a fu ll proof recipe out there that works every.time. Ugggh. So frustrating.

  2. Leslie

    Will I be okay to apply the whipped cream topping the day of and refrigerate right away until we eat dessert? How is the best way to apply the shavings to the side of the cake?

    1. Lauren's Latest

      Leslie, that would be totally fine. You can just gently press the shavings onto the side of the cake using your hands.

  3. Rosemary Myers

    2 stars
    I made this exactly as stated. After prepping the two 8″ pans, mixing the cake batter I attempted to pour it into the pans and it filled them to the top. I suggest using 9″ pans or only filling the pans 1/2 full. I switched to 9″ pans and it was the perfect volume. I used canned tart cherries, not the pie filling, because I couldn’t find any frozen tart cherries and I thought the cherries looked gross. Not red, more like dark purple and too soft. I think the recipe should be more specific on the type of cherries to use. It states you can use either frozen or canned. I think you could omit the sugar and use maraschino cherries or use cherry pie filling in place of the cherry filling recipe. Also you talk about using Kirsch but it is not listed in the recipe. It was very good tasting but kind of frustrating to make according to the recipe and did not look like the photo because of the canned cherries.

  4. Ommie7

    5 stars
    Having lived in Germany for 5 years, I have eaten this cake several times. I might add to double your cherry filling as it is usually placed on top of the cake also.

  5. Peter Flynn

    5 stars
    This is only my second time making Black forest cake, but it is an absolute hit!!! Very moist and very flavourable. Thanks for the recipe, you got me loads of “Its delicious”!.

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