Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake
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DISCLAIMER: This recipe is for humans not dogs!

It finally snowed a bit last week here, so I used it as justification to make my first holiday cookies and a black forest cake. As a fan of cherries and as a strong anti-fan of buttercream, black forest cake is one of my favorite combos. In other words, lots of cherries, no buttercream. The only downside is that you have to be gentle with the batter or it has a tendency to collapse. But, oh well, high risk-high reward right? Right. It also gave me a chance to try out piping some chocolate decorations. I’ve tried to do this in the past with, well, let’s just say varying degrees of success, but I finally got it right this time. It was mostly thanks to the fact that I learned how to properly melt chocolate instead of desperately trying to get it to melt without chunks.

black forest cake

About a year ago, I made a much bigger black forest cake, but I decided to go with a smaller 6″ cake this time. This was mostly because it makes things go faster. Alas, I still managed to mess up big time. I was pretty distracted while making the cake, as I was in the process of introducing my friend to Westworld, and made the mistake of forgetting to turn off the mixer before answering a question while it was whipping up cream. I have no idea what happened, but next thing I know, my friend asked me, very concernedly, what was going on in the kitchen, and I looked over to see a majest arch of heavy whipping cream covering everything in my kitchen in sweet dariy. Pascal could not have imagined a better turn of events. So, note of advice: do not leave your mixer running while full of liquids.

black forest cake

Making chocolate decorations can be a bit tricky. But it basically comes down to being patient. The chocolate should always be melted in a double boiler or in a microwave. This is to prevent any burning of chocolate. I prefer a double boiler, but a microwave goes much faster. Then, and this is the part I didn’t know before, you shouldn’t stir or touch the chocolate until it’s completely melted! Apparently that prevents little chunks of chocolate which kept getting stuck in my piping tips in the past and led to most of my disasters. Anyway, I ended up leaving the chocolate on the double boiler for a good 30 minutes; nothing burned and my chocolate was wonderfully smooth. You can then scoop it into a piping bag, cut a tiny hole at the bottom, and pipe any shape you want on parchment paper. Let it cool & harden, lift it with an offset spatula, and then decorate as you please.

A couple notes:

  • Make sure the cake layers are completely cooled before applying the whipped cream frosting. Whipped cream is generally pretty unstable and it will melt if the cake layers are still warm.
  • The cherry filling can be made well in advance and stored in your refrigerator.
  • If you want a 9″ cake instead of 6″, just multiply the recipe by 2.

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black forest cake
Black Forest Cake

Chocolate Cake Layers
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cherry Filling
  • 12 oz frozen cherries
  • 1/4 cup kirsch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp water for corn starch
Kirsch Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup kirsch (reserved from making cherry filling)
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 8 tsp cold water
Bake the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease 2 6" round cake pans.

  2. Whip together eggs and sugar at high speed until very fluffy and medium peaks form (about 8 minutes). Do not use a mixer for the rest of the recipe.

  3. Sift in cocoa powder and fold into the egg mixture gently until fully incorporated. 

  4. Sift in the flour and fold into the egg mixture gently until fully incoporated.

  5. Fold in vanilla.

  6. Pour the melted butter in in a slow stream while folding into the batter. 

  7. Split the batter between the two cake pans and bake immediately for ~25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Make the Cherry Filling
  1. Soak the cherries in 1/4 cup of kirsch for at least 30min.

  2. Drain the kirsch and set aside to use for the simple syrup.

  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, and 2 tbsp water.

  4. Bring to a boil.

  5. Dissolve the corn starch in the remaining 2 tbsp of water.

  6. Once the cherry mixture is at a boil, stirl in the corn starch, and turn the heat down to medium.

  7. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the filling has thickened. It takes about 12 minutes and remove from heat to cool.

Make the Kirsch Simple Syrup
  1. In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil.

  2. Allow to boil for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat.

  3. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cherry juice + kirsch mixture you reserved from the first step in making the cherry filling.

Make the Whipped Cream Frosting
  1. Bloom the unflavored gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes, then melt in the microwave. (approx. 10 seconds). Set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whip together whipped cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.

  3. Continue whipping while adding in melted gelatin in in a slow stream.

  4. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Keep cool.

Assemble the Cake
  1. Level off each cake layer and torte each in half.

  2. Take the bottom layer, and, using a pastry brush, coat it with the simple syrup.

  3. Add a layer of whipped cream.

  4. Add a layer of cherry filling.

  5. Fill in the gaps with whipped cream.

  6. Repeat for the next 3 layers.

  7. Finish the cake however you like with frosting, leftover filling, cherries, and chocolate.


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19 thoughts on “Black Forest Cake”

  • I initially thought this recipe is for the dog! how cute was that. Good thing I read your disclaimer. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I do want to bake for this holiday season and this is a perfect recipe to consider.

  • This photo of the dog is too cute!! I love the trees you placed around the cake. It’s a fantastic idea!! I have to admit I wouldn’t have behaved as well as the dog and I’d have stolen one or two as you took the pic! How did you make them stick there without ruining the frosting?

  • Loved your pumpkin spice latte cupcake recipe and I think this is a close second favourite! I love how you have decorated with the trees, I think my hands would be far too unsteady for that!

  • Black Forest cake or Schwarzwald cake as we call it here in Croatia even though it’s a German word:-) is very popular here, but I’ve never seen it this tall before. I really like it. I think if I made it like this, people wouldn’t recognise it:-) I’ll have to surprise them:-)

  • Thank goodness I read disclaimers! Haha. I love my dog (she even has her own IG and FB page) and I thought for a moment that I could make her a cake as gorgeous as this. With that said however,her mommy–ME–will certainly have to give this a try! !!

  • I like cakes with a lot of cream and this looks perfect. I have tried my hand at baking but my cakes never come out good. I will definitely try your recipe as black forest is one of my favorite flavors!

  • How beautiful have you made this black forest cake suitable for Christmas with those Christmas trees on the sides. This is the basic cake which I loved since I was a child! Lovely

  • Quick question…I would love to make this, yet as much as I would like to, I couldn’t possibly consume the entire thing. Would making them into cupcakes be sacrilegious to bring to coworkers? If not, what changes would I make to the baking time?
    Thank you!
    (ps…Thanks for the fabulous recipes and awesome photos. I always look forward to a new post from you!)

  • Even I am a big fan of cherries and on every occasion, I used to buy a black forest cake. However, I didn’t make it by myself. Now I got the ingredients and the method to prepare, so fun for me (Yes, Christmas is near)
    Thanks for sharing it.

  • The tree cutouts are so adorable! I’d love to make this cake for my next holiday party. The last time I tried making black forest cake, it definitely didn’t turn out as pretty or tasty looking as yours ha! I may skip the whipped cream so the delish cake layers are exposed.

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