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

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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:  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. Watch our easy video tutorial on how to measure correctly!

*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 *measured correctly
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (not hot)
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)
1/4 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

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Black Forest Cake Recipe

4.70 from 208 votes
Author: Natasha of 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
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.
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 52 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 -14 slices

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake Layers:

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
  • 1/4 cup cold water

For the Frosting/Topping:

  • 3 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 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).

  • 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
  • Whisk together 1 cup flour and 1/2 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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.

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

  • 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 re-whip if it seems slightly loose after refrigeration).

Assembling your Black Forest Cake:

  • Place first cake layer on a cake stand and brush with 1/4 of the syrup. Cover top with about 3/4 cup frosting 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 1/4 cup additional water and use the juice from can instead. Maraschino cherries can be used for the topping/decor.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Black Forest Cake
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $$

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*The lovely turquoise Fiesta Cake Plate with Server.
*The OXO strainer/sifter is totally multi-purpose!
* This OXO Cherry Pitter (works for olives too!)
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*We sure enjoy our Wusthof knife block set. Great knives are essential.
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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)?

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Comments

  • Christine
    December 23, 2023

    I would love to make this but it doesn’t have metric measures.
    Is it possible I have missed a button to click on to change?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 23, 2023

      Hi Christine, I added a metric conversion on this recipe. If you click metric in the recipe card, you should see it. I hope you love the Black Forest Cake!

      Reply

  • nikita mohan
    December 23, 2023

    not good idea if you don’t want a very challenging cake.
    the whipping cream completely flattens when you try to decorate the cake. it is not frosting it is whipped cream!!
    Additionally you do absolutely need to add baking soda.
    the cake was so flat without using it and i had to make an extra batch just to get 4 layers.
    i do not recommend this recipe.
    save yourself time and money and buy a black forrest cake from your local bakery.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 23, 2023

      HI Nikita, this recipe is more of a European style cake and not like what you would find in an American bakery or grocery store.

      Reply

  • Sandra
    December 7, 2023

    9 eggs seems like a lot. Any way to cut down on the amount of eggs?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 7, 2023

      Hi Sandra! Unfortunately not. The eggs are very important for this type of sponge cake.

      Reply

  • Lavonne Miller
    December 7, 2023

    I would like to make this cake for our Christmas party. Can I make this cake ahead of time and freeze it?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 7, 2023

      Hi Lavonne! The cake sponge layers can be frozen after baking, just cool and wrap well. You can thaw them when ready to assemble the cake. I would not freeze the cake assembled.

      Reply

  • Lavonne Miller
    December 6, 2023

    I am going on my second attempt to make this cake. Hopefully with all of the recent tips & readers remarks this time will turn out better. My question is, I’m making this for our family Christmas party and was wondering if I can make it ahead of time and freeze it?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 6, 2023

      Hi Lavonne! The cake sponges can be made ahead and frozen but I would not freeze the assembled cake.

      Reply

  • Kathy
    August 12, 2023

    Hey Natasha!
    I forgot to add the butter to the sponges… will the cake hold up anyway?
    Thank you!
    Kathy

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 12, 2023

      Hi Kathy! I have not made it without any butter. I think it will hold up, but it will affect the taste and texture slightly.

      Reply

  • Pat
    July 23, 2023

    Thank you for answering…one more question…going to make it tomorrow for a Tuesday night book club….do you think I need to stabilize the cream with some unflavored gelatin? I want it to stay looking pretty!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      July 24, 2023

      Hi Pat, if you prefer to stabilize the cream, you can definitely do that.

      Reply

  • Pat
    July 19, 2023

    You mentioned baking powder in your video, but it’s not listed as an ingredient for the Black Forest Cake.
    Do I use it or not?
    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      July 19, 2023

      Hi Pat, the recipe is correct as written without baking powder. Many people who haven’t attempted a European sponge cake are hesitant to bake without it so if that is the case, you can whisk 1/2 tsp baking powder into the flour and it will also work well.

      Reply

  • Jamie
    March 11, 2023

    Hello! So excited to try this cake! I will be using frozen cherries. Should I strain off the liquid once thawed or retain in?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 11, 2023

      Hi Jamie, 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.

      Reply

  • Lina kravic
    December 6, 2022

    Need to adjust the recipe so it feeds 25 ppl, maybe in a sheet pan ?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 6, 2022

      Hi Lina! Possibly, but you’ll have to experiment with the size of the pan. I have not made this in a sheet cake. You may find this resource cake pan sizes helpful.

      Reply

  • Linda
    November 28, 2022

    I only have 8 inch round pans, what adjustments if any should I make?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 28, 2022

      Hi Linda! I have not tested this recipe in different pan sizes to provide the exact instructions. The batter would be too much for just two 8” pans so you may need to adjust the recipe or make some extra cake with the remainder of the batter. It will bake faster as well so you’ll need to watch it in the oven. You may find this cake pan conversion chart helpful.

      Reply

  • Martha C Wenzel
    October 24, 2022

    You make it look so easy in the video, I managed to deflate the batter twice in a row. The first time I mixed 8 min but it was not fluffy (With my hand mixer). I thought maybe my eggs were to cold. The second time I used my Kitchen Aid and made sure my eggs were the right temp. It worked perfectly but deflated almost as soon as I added the butter. The flour mix never incorporated into the batter well. Idk what I did wrong. I followed everything exact and read a re-read instructions. Definitely not a beginner or even intermediate cake maybe. Thinking of trying again today since it was for my husbands bday and I totally ruined it yesterday. He really wanted this cake.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      October 24, 2022

      HI Martha, I’m sorry to hear that, especially when it was for your husbands birthday! Make sure the butter is room temperature when adding it. If the butter is hot, it can deflate. Also make sure to bake the cake layers right away in a preheated oven. Letting them sit for too long will make the cake deflate.

      Reply

  • ruchi
    October 6, 2022

    Hi Natasha, I love love your recipes! THANK YOU for sharing them. when i was making this recipe, as soon as i added the cooled melted butter, my batter completely collapsed and how can i avoid that in the future? thank u

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 7, 2022

      Hi Ruchi, it’s hard to say without being there. It sounds like the butter may not have been incorporated well, or the dough was not whipped enough for a strong base! I recommend reading through the entire recipe and not making substitutions or skipping steps. Without being there it is hard to say what the culprit was.

      Reply

  • Casey
    October 2, 2022

    Have made this before and it was great! Just wondering if I could do this in 6 inch pans instead to have a taller cake? If so any adjustments to cooking time? Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 4, 2022

      Hi Casey! I’m glad you loved this recipe. I have not made this in a 6” pan to advise on baking time. It may be too much batter for 6” pans. You’ll need to experiment with it. The thicker the batter, the longer it could take to bake but you also do not want to overfill your pans or your cake can be raw in the middle. You may find this cake pan size conversion chart helpful! 🙂

      Reply

  • oksana
    September 2, 2022

    Kirsch cherry liquor is not available in Florida. What do you recommend as a replacement?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 2, 2022

      Hi Oksana, If you want to omit the kirsch, just add a total of 1 Tbsp of sugar to the full amount of cherry syrup and stir to dissolve for a little more flavor.

      Reply

    • Marlo
      September 10, 2022

      Go to a large liquor store. They will have the kirsch. If you are near West Palm go to Inlet liquors on Blue Heron Blvd. Right before you go over the bridge to Singer Island. Actually Riviera Beach address.

      Reply

  • Simone K
    July 30, 2022

    Fabulous, awesome recipe. I am so happy I found it. I made this cake for my mom’s birthday. She is notorious for not liking baking soda or baking powder in any cake recipe. Mom loved it. The volume I received from the eggs and not to sweet made this cake my favorite go to birthday cake spectacular.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 30, 2022

      So glad to hear that, Simone. Thank you for the wonderful review.

      Reply

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