Black Forest Cake Recipe

Black Forest Cake (a famous German Chocolate Cake) with 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and whipped cream. So good!! | NatashasKitchen.com

This Black Forest Cake is my version of the famous German chocolate cake, aka “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.” It has 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch-infused cherries and a light whipped cream.

It is a stunning and decadent cake but it’s fairly simple to make with just 11 ingredients (which is peanuts for a cake!). The chocolate shavings make this Black Forest cake very forgiving in terms of decoration for those of us who are cake styling impaired :).

Black Forest Cake (a famous German Chocolate Cake) with 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and whipped cream. So good!! | NatashasKitchen.com

This black forest cake is an adult cake as it has kirsch (a cherry liqueur) and isn’t overly sweet. The kirsch is not overpowering but you can tell it’s there. I figured if you slice it into 12 generous pieces, each would have 1 tsp of kirsch. If making this cake for children, omit the kirsch and add a 1 Tbsp sugar to the cherry syrup for more flavor.

*Recipe Tips: Measure flour by spooning it into a measuring cup and level off the top with a knife. You can use thawed frozen cherries or canned cherries. If using canned cherries, select cherries in water or juice, omit the 1/4 cup additional water and use the juice from the can instead. Also, maraschino cherries can be used for the topping/decor. A golden rum would taste good too, but kirsch is more authentic.

*Note:

Recipe for the Black Forest Cake updated 4/22/16 to be more fail proof. Several of you mentioned your cakes did not rise as much as mine. I heard you and re-baked the cake. After some testing, I noticed the best results when increasing the mixing time to 8 minutes (rather than 5) and using 4 Tbsp butter (rather than 8). It rose beautifully and perfectly. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake Layers:

9 large eggs, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

What you’ll need:

Two 9″ cake pans and flour sifter or fine sieve

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients For the Filling:

4 cups (1 lb) bing cherries, pitted, plus 12 whole cherries for decor (If not in season, see *Recipe Tips)
3 Tbsp kirsch (a cherry liqueur)
1/2 cup cold water

For the Frosting/Topping:

3 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp kirsch (cherry liqueur)
4 oz good quality dark chocolate

Black Forest Cake-2

How to Make Black Forest Cake Layers: 

If you’ve never made a European Sponge Cake, watch the video before you get started to see what the batter should look like.

Prep: Preheat Oven to 350˚F. Line bottoms of two 9″ round pans with parchment paper (don’t grease sides).

1. Beat 9 large eggs with the whisk attachment for 1 min on high speed. With the mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating on high speed a full 8 min. It will be thick and fluffy.

Tip from reader, Hilda: “How do you know u get the right consistency? Lift up your beater (whisk) from the batter. Make a figure “8” using the batter that drip off the beater. Then count to 10 seconds. If the figure 8 still remains on top of the batter, then u have the right consistency. If the figure 8 sinks into the batter before 10 secs, then u need to beat it longer.”

Black Forest Cake-18

Tip: the mixture it should fall off the whisk and still ‘stand up’ on the cake mixture

2. Whisk together 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup cocoa powder and sift in thirds into the batter, folding with a spatula between each addition. Once all flour is in, continue to fold just until no streaks of flour remain, scraping the bottom of the bowl to get any pockets of flour hiding at the bottom; do not over-mix or you will deflate the batter.

3. Gently fold in 1/2 tsp vanilla and room temp butter, folding as you add butter in a steady stream and scraping from the bottom to make sure you don’t have butter pooling at the bottom. Fold just until incorporated. Divide batter equally between two prepared cake pans and BAKE RIGHT AWAY in fully preheated oven at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes (my oven took 22 min), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Note: Once the butter is added, it must be transferred to baking pans and put into the oven immediately or the batter can deflate quickly.

Black Forest Cake-19

4. Let cool in pans for 10 min then run a knife or thin edged spatula around the edges to loosen cake. Transfer to a wire rack and remove parchment backing. When cakes are at room temp, and you’re ready to assemble, slice cake layers in half with a long serrated knife.

Black Forest Cake-20

Making the Syrup for Black Forest Cake:

1. Roughly chop pitted cherries and place in a medium bowl with 3 Tbsp kirsch. Let sit at room temp for at least 30 min, stirring a couple times, then drain cherries in a sieve over a bowl. Keep the cherries and syrup. Add 1/4 cup cold filtered water to the syrup to get about 3/4 cup total syrup.

Black Forest Cake-14

Making the Cream:

For best results freeze bowl and whisk attachment 15 min before using.

1. Beat 3 1/2 cups heavy cream with whisk attachment on high speed until soft peaks form, add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp kirsch and beat on high until stiff and spreadable (1-2 min). Refrigerate until ready to use (tip: keep whisk attachment in the bowl – you can whip it another 30 seconds if it seems slightly loose after refrigeration).

Black Forest Cake-15

Assembling your Black Forest Cake:

1. Place first cake layer on a cake stand and brush with 1/4 of the syrup. Cover the top with about 3/4 cup frosting (3 ice cream scoops’ worth) and top with 1/3 of the chopped cherries. Repeat with remaining layers and top with the flattest layer. Transfer 1 1/2 cups frosting to a pastry bag with a large flower tip and refrigerate until ready to use (don’t handle the bag too much or the cream will soften). Fill the cracks along the sides of cake with frosting then frost the top and sides with remaining frosting.

Black Forest Cake (a famous German Chocolate Cake) with 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and whipped cream. So good!! | NatashasKitchen.com

2. To make chocolate shavings, you can either melt chocolate in the microwave, spread it thin over the back of a baking sheet with the help of a food scraper, then refrigerate a few minutes and use a food scraper to create bark-like shavings. This is the more authentic way. Alternatively, you can use a potato peeler to shave a chunk of chocolate, It will still be pretty but it won’t have the same “black forest cake” feel to it.

3. Cover sides and top of cake with chocolate shavings leaving a 1″ perimeter on top for piping frosting. Pipe rounds of frosting around the top of the cake and place a whole cherry over each one. Refrigerate cake for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving for the flavors to meld.

Black Forest Cake (a famous German Chocolate Cake) with 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and whipped cream. So good!! | NatashasKitchen.com Black Forest Cake (a famous German Chocolate Cake) with 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and whipped cream. So good!! | NatashasKitchen.com

Black Forest Cake Recipe

4.6 from 82 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
This Black Forest Cake is a German chocolate cake with 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and a light whipped cream. If making for children, omit kirsch and add 1 Tbsp sugar to the cherry syrup.
Author:
Skill Level: Medium
Cost To Make: $18-$20
Serving: 12-14 slices

Ingredients

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake Layers:

  • 9 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

What you'll need:

  • Two 9" cake pans and flour sifter or fine sieve

Ingredients for Cherry Filling:

  • 4 cups (1 lb) bing cherries, pitted, plus 12 whole cherries for decor (see *Recipe Tips)
  • 3 Tbsp kirsch (a cherry liqueur)
  • ¼ cup cold water

For the Frosting/Topping:

  • 3½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup Confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1 Tbsp kirsch (cherry liqueur)
  • 3 oz good quality dark chocolate

Instructions

How to Make Cake Layers: Preheat Oven to 350˚F. Line bottoms of cake pans with parchment (don't grease sides).

  1. Beat 9 eggs with the whisk attachment for 1 min on high. With the mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating on high speed a full 8 min. It will be thick and fluffy. Tip: the mixture it should fall off the whisk and still ‘stand up’ on the cake mixture
  2. Whisk together 1 cup flour and ½ cup cocoa powder and sift in thirds into batter, folding with a spatula between each addition. Once all flour is in, continue to fold just until no streaks of flour remain, scraping the bottom of the bowl to get any pockets of flour; do not over-mix or you will deflate the batter.
  3. Gently fold in ½ tsp vanilla and room temp butter, folding as you add butter in a steady stream and scraping from the bottom to make sure you don't have butter pooling at the bottom. Fold just until incorporated. Divide batter equally between two prepared cake pans and BAKE RIGHT AWAY in fully preheated oven at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes (my oven took 22 min), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Note: Once the butter is added, it must be transferred to baking pans and put into the oven immediately or the batter can deflate quickly.
  4. Let cool in pans for 10 min then run a thin edged spatula around edges to loosen cake. Transfer to a wire rack and remove parchment backing. When cakes are at room temp, and you're ready to assemble, slice cake layers in half with a long serrated knife.

Making the Syrup:

  1. Roughly chop pitted cherries and place in a medium bowl with 3 Tbsp kirsch. Let sit at room temp for at least 30 min, stirring a couple times, then drain cherries in a sieve over a bowl. Keep the cherries and syrup. Add ¼ cup cold filtered water to the syrup to get about ¾ cup total syrup.

Making the Cream: For best results freeze bowl and whisk attachment 15 min before using.

  1. Beat 3½ cups heavy cream with whisk attachment on high speed until soft peaks form, add ⅓ cup powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp kirsch and beat on high until stiff and spreadable (1-2 min). Refrigerate until ready to use (tip: keep whisk attachment in the bowl - you can re-whip if it seems slightly loose after refrigeration).

Assembling your Black Forest Cake:

  1. Place first cake layer on a cake stand and brush with ¼ of the syrup. Cover top with about ¾ cup frosting and top with ⅓ of the chopped cherries. Repeat with remaining layers and top with the flattest layer. Transfer 1½ cups frosting to a pastry bag with a large flower tip and refrigerate until ready to use (don't handle the bag too much or the cream will soften). Fill the cracks along the sides of cake with frosting then frost the top and sides with remaining frosting.
  2. To make chocolate shavings, you can either melt chocolate in the microwave, spread it thin over the back of a baking sheet, then refrigerate a few min and use a food scraper to create bark-like shavings. This is the more authentic way. Alternatively, you can use a potato peeler to shave a chunk of chocolate.
  3. Cover sides and top of cake with chocolate shavings leaving a 1" perimeter on top for piping frosting. Pipe rounds of frosting around the top of the cake and place a whole cherry over each one. Refrigerate cake for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Notes

*Recipe Tips: Measure flour by spooning it into a measuring cup and level off top with back of a knife. You can use thawed frozen cherries or canned cherries. If using canned cherries, select cherries in water or juice, omit the ¼ cup additional water and use the juice from can instead. Maraschino cherries can be used for the topping/decor.

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Black Forest Cake (a famous German Chocolate Cake) with 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and whipped cream. So good!! | NatashasKitchen.com

Admit it, you want a slice! 🙂 What’s your favorite cherry dessert (besides this one of course)?

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Jo-Anne
    January 11, 2018

    My husband requested a black forest cake for his birthday, so my recipe search brought me here. I followed the recipe using frozen cherries and omitted the kirsch (couldn’t find it anywhere) AND am happy to say the cake turned out amazing! The cake baked perfectly and was super light as well as it was easy to assemble with your instructions. Overall the cake is not very sweet so having a nice big piece doesn’t feel too bad 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 11, 2018

      That’s great, I’m glad to hear the recipe is such a hit! Thanks for sharing your fantastic review Jo-Anne! Reply

  • Lina
    December 24, 2017

    This was a huge hit! Our family of 4 finished the cake in 3 days (oops!). I replaced the alcohol with simple syrup to make it teen-friendly for my sister. My sponge didn’t rise as much as I would have liked, but I think I messed with the batter just a little too much. I will definitely make this again! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 24, 2017

      Hi Lina! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! 🙂 Reply

  • Lisa
    December 21, 2017

    Hi Natasha,
    I grew up eating black forest cake for birthdays. I can’t wait to attempt baking it myself. Is it a good idea to replace the all purpose flour with cake flour?
    Tjanks and Merry Christmas!
    -lisa Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 21, 2017

      Hi Lisa, I haven’t tried this cake with cake flour so I’m not sure how that would affect the texture or rise of the cake. Sorry I can’t be more help but I really can’t advise on that without first testing it. Reply

      • Lisa
        December 24, 2017

        Hi Natasha,
        I baked the cake yesterday for a dinner party. I did use cake flour and it turned out great,Thanks for the recipe!
        -lisa Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          December 24, 2017

          Thank you so much for sharing your great review!! 🙂 Reply

  • Venus
    December 20, 2017

    This recipe is amazing. I made this for my anniversary. It turns out great. Though I had not 2 x 9 inches pan, I used a 8″ pan instead, it raised good. 4 layers, kirsch cream, fresh cherries, dark chocolate is the best. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 21, 2017

      I’m happy to hear how much you enjoy the recipe Venus! Thanks for sharing your great review with other readers. Reply

  • khanome Alef
    December 20, 2017

    Hi Natasha I made yoir black forest cake yesterday an it,s great ,thanks for the precise recipe i placed my photo of the cake in pinterest ,good lock🌷 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 20, 2017

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Maria
    December 16, 2017

    Can I freeze this cake for few weeks? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 17, 2017

      Hi Maria, I haven’t tried freezing this particular cake but I’m not sure the frosting would hold up well in the freezer since it is just a whipped cream frosting. I think the cake layers would be freezer friendly but probably not the assembled cake with the whipped cream. Reply

      • Rob
        December 31, 2017

        The cake will freeze no problem and will look just as beautiful. I know because my dad used to freeze them all the time (he was a pastry chef) Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          January 1, 2018

          Thank you for sharing!! 🙂 Did his have whipped cream or a different frosting? Reply

  • Heather Kalisch
    December 11, 2017

    Great recipe- worked perfectly for me. The only problem I had was that it only just fit in my stand mixer bowl and couldn’t incorporate the ingredients without it all overflowing. So I transferred it to a much larger bowl and it worked much better!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 11, 2017

      I’m glad you made it work! I use a 6 QT mixer and I think a 5 Qt would work well also, but probably not a smaller one. Reply

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