June 18, 2024

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Black Forest Cake – Chef Dennis

7 min read
slice of Black Forest Cake on a white plate with a fork.


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Moist, rich and delicious doesn’t begin to describe my Black Forest Cake. Made with homemade whipped cream and sweet fresh cherries this Classic German Cake (known as schwarzwälder kirschtorte in Germany) has been a family favorite around the world for generations.

slice of black forest cake being taken out of the whole cake

This Black Forest Gateau is one of my fondest memories of a cruise I took on the Danube a few years ago. On one of our walking excursions to a small town, we found a local cafe where we treated ourselves to a slice of this delightfully delicious Black Forest Cake. Food brings back such wonderful memories…..sigh.

slice of black forest cake on a white plate

This cake is perfect for birthdays, holidays and special occasions. It’s now difficult to make and always gets oohs and ahhs when you serve it. Why not spoil your family tonight and make this delicious cake? It’s one of my favorite layer cake recipes!

Ingredients to make Black Forest Cake

ingredients to make black forest cake

Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make my Black Forest Cake. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.

Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.

What types of cherries are best for Black Forest Cake?

My first choice would be sweet dark cherries, the type of cherries found in the Black Forest in Germany and many other countries. Bing and Ranier cherries are also acceptable choices. I’m not a fan of Sour Cherries but if you enjoy them, those could also be used.

In a pinch, you could use cherry filling (pie) to make this cake, but don’t even think about using maraschino cherries. That would be a terrible choice for this Black Forest Cake Recipe.

How to make Black Forest Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease two 9″ round baking pans and dust the pans with cocoa powder. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment.
6 images showing how to make chocolate cake batter.
  • Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together until well blended.
  • Add the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to a medium bowl and mix well.
  • Add the hot coffee (or hot water) slowly to the wet ingredients. *You don’t want to cook the eggs so the addition needs to be slow.
  • Add the wet ingredient mixture to the dry mixture.
  • Mix the mixture on medium speed for 2-3 mins, scraping down the bowl as needed. *The batter will be very thin.
4 images showing baking and cooling cake
  • Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared pans. *It’s helpful to use a kitchen scale if you have one, that way you can be sure the batter is evenly distributed.
  • Place the cake pans on the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake the cakes for 35-40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pans on a wire rack.
  • After 10 minutes, turn the cakes out onto the wire rack to cool completely.
  • When the cakes are completely cooled, cut each cake layer in half horizontally.

How to make Cherry Syrup

two images showing how to make cherry syrup
  • Place the sugar and water into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer the sugar mixture for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Stir in the cherry liqueur (or cherry juice) and allow the cherry syrup to cool completely.

How to make Whipped Cream Frosting

two images showing how to make whipped cream
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer (or large mixing bowl) add the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract.
  • Using the whisk attachment start on low speed and build up to faster speed gradually, (this will give you a better consistency for your whipped cream than over-beating it from the beginning). Continue beating until the cream is fully whipped with stiff peaks. This will take 8-10 minutes

How to assemble Black Forest Cake

6 images showing how to assemble black forrest cake
  • Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the layer generously with the cherry syrup.
  • Top the brushed layer with about 1 cup of whipped cream, spreading it evenly.
  • Add one-third of the pitted cherries that have been cut in half on top of the whipped cream layer and gently press them into the whipped cream.
  • Repeat this process with the next two layers.
  • Place the final layer on top of the cake.
Whole Black Forest Cake on a white cake stand
  • Finish frosting the top and sides of the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with stem cherries. Add chocolate shavings to the sides of the cake.
  • Refrigerate the cake for 3-4 hours before cutting to allow it to set up.
slice of Black Forest Cake on a white plate with a fork.

Who’s ready to join me in a slice of this ah-mazing Black Forest Cake? I’ll bring the milk!

Recipe FAQ’s

Why do they call it a Black Forest Cake?

The name of the cake comes from the Black Forest in Germany but isn’t named for the cherries of that region, but rather for the cherry liqueur, Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser), that is made from the tart cherries of that region.

What cherries should I use for Black Forest Cake?

My first choice would be sweet dark cherries, which are the type of cherries found in the Black Forest in Germany and many other countries. Bing and Ranier cherries are also acceptable choices. I’m not a fan of Sour Cherries but if you enjoy them, those could also be used.

In a pinch, you could use cherry filling (pie) to make this cake, but don’t even think about using maraschino cherries. That would be a terrible choice for this Black Forest Cake Recipe.

Do I have to use Cherry Liqueur to make Cherry Syrup?

No, you don’t. Cherry juice can be used instead of cherry liqueur.

More Cake Recipes You’ll Love!

slice of Black Forest Cake on a white plate with a fork.

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Black Forest Cake

Moist, rich and delicious doesn’t begin to describe my Black Forest Cake. Made with homemade whipped cream and sweet fresh cherries this Classic German Cake has been a family favorite around the world for generations

Prep Time2 hrs

Cook Time45 mins

Total Time2 hrs 45 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: German

Servings: 16

Calories: 399kcal

Author: Chef Dennis Littley

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake:

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder Dutch-processed – sifted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 cup black coffee very hot coffee or very hot water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Cherry Syrup:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • cup Kirsch Cherry Liqueur or cherry juice

Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Assembly:

  • 2 ½ cups cherries pitted and cut in half
  • dark chocolate optional – shavings for garnish
  • cherries with stems optional – for garnish

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Instructions

Chocolate Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Grease two 9″ round baking pans and dust the pans with cocoa powder. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment.

  • Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the dry ingredients.

  • Add the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to a medium bowl and mix well.

  • Add the very water slowly to the wet ingredients. *You don’t want to cook the eggs so the addition needs to be slow.
  • Add the wet ingredient mixture to the dry mixture and mix on medium for 2-3 mins. *The batter will be very thin.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. *It’s helpful to use a kitchen scale if you have one, that way you can be sure the batter is evenly distributed.
  • Place the cake pans on the center rack of the preheated oven.

  • Bake the cakes for 35-40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

  • Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pans on a wire rack.

  • After 10 minutes, turn the cakes out onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Cherry Syrup

  • Place the sugar and water into a small pan over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture and bring to a boil.

  • Simmer the sugar mixture for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat.

  • Stir in the cherry liqueur and allow the cherry syrup to cool completely.

Assembly:

  • Cut each cake layer in half horizontally.

  • Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Brush the top of the layer generously with the cherry syrup.

  • Top the brushed layer with about 1 cup of whipped cream, spreading it evenly.

  • Add one-third of the pitted cherries that have been cut in half on top of the whipped cream layer and gently press them into the whipped cream.

  • Repeat this process with the remaining layers except for the top layer.

  • Finish frosting the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.

  • Decorate the top of the cake with stem cherries. Add chocolate shavings to the sides of the cake.

  • Refrigerate the cake for 3-4 hours before cutting to allow it to set up.

Nutrition

Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 321mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 728IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg

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