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 210 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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Shown in this post: (no one paid us to write this; just affiliate links for stuff we love):
*The lovely turquoise Fiesta Cake Plate with Server.
*The OXO strainer/sifter is totally multi-purpose!
* This OXO Cherry Pitter (works for olives too!)
*Ofcourse the “workhorse” of the kitchen: KitchenAid Pro 6Qt
*We sure enjoy our Wusthof knife block set. Great knives are essential.
Visit our Shop to see all the tools we use and love.
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

  • Anita Simone
    July 23, 2022

    When i folded the dry ingredients into the fluffy egg mixture, i had a hard time mixing them together without deflating it. The cake baked very dense as a result and tasted a little dry. The whipped frosting and the cherries were excellent. So glad i bought the Kirsch instead of using a substitute. The flavors were very enhanced and delicious. I will make this again but will probably use a different chocolate cake recipe. The presentation was perfection!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 23, 2022

      Hi Anita! I understand the frustration. It takes some practice to master folding in the dry ingredients and getting the right batter consistency. Sometimes using a whisk instead of a spatula while folding the ingredients helps me so you could try that, but still follow the folding method even with the whisk. It sounds like you could have possibly also used too much flour. Check out my tips on how to measure ingredients, HERE. I hope this helps and hope you’ll give it another try sometime and have better results. 🙂

      Reply

  • Maria
    June 4, 2022

    This cake recipe is awesome!!! So fluffy omg. Do you have a similar recipe for a vanilla sponge cake?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 5, 2022

      Thank you for the perfect review, Maria! Here are more of my cake recipes that you can try.

      Reply

  • Priyanka
    June 2, 2022

    Hi Natasha,
    How much does 1cup of flour weigh in your recipe?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 2, 2022

      Hi Priyanka, If you scroll down to our printable recipe card, most of our recipes have a metric conversion option on the printable recipe card. We are currently working on adding metric measurements to all of our recipes, but it is taking some time to add them one at a time. Thank you so much for being patient! In the meantime, check out our post on measuring which should help.

      Reply

  • Anita
    May 19, 2022

    I tried your cake for my son’s birthday and it turned out awesome. Everyone loved it. Your recipe made it so easy. Thank you xx

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 19, 2022

      That’s wonderful! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Anita. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Ian macadam
    May 6, 2022

    Got to be the worst cake I have ever made.followed the instructions to the letter as was for a special day by mother’s last birthday endid up like rubber don’t know why as usually I love your food

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 7, 2022

      Hi Ian, I’m sorry you had that experience. Overmixing of flour activates the gluten and can cause the cake to be rubbery. Also, be sure to measure your ingredients correctly, view this tutorial on how to measure ingredients . I hope this helps.

      Reply

  • Donna
    April 15, 2022

    Natasha, your sponge cake needs 6 eggs only. I’m wondering why does this one need 9 eggs instead. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 15, 2022

      Hi Donna, that is a different recipe so it requires different ingredients.

      Reply

  • Donna
    March 6, 2022

    Hi Natasha, doesn’t look like there’s room to write Happy Birthday on the cake. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 6, 2022

      Hi Donna, that might be difficult but you can use a Happy Birthday topper for cakes like this.

      Reply

      • Donna
        March 6, 2022

        Thanks Natasha. I was thinking to top with less shaved chocolate.

        Reply

  • Karen Price
    March 3, 2022

    I tried this recipe. Very disappointed. Would not recommend it. It did not rise.
    Was making it for company… but had to remake another one.

    Karen

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 3, 2022

      Hi Karen, I’m really sorry to hear that. Did you make any substitutions or do anything out of order? Eggs should at room temperature and mixed for about 8mins until thick and fluffy. Then the dry ingredients need to be folded in gently just until they are incorporated completely. If you over-mix you will deflate the batter. And lastly, the cake should be baked right away. I hope this helps and I hope you try again.

      Reply

  • Donna
    February 23, 2022

    Hi Natasha, I was not able to find any of your recipes using vegetable oil. I’ve tried some of the recipes and had to substitute with veggie oil because I don’t eat butter. I’m about to make a Black Forest Cake using 8″ pan. Can you provide me with the adjusted recipe? Thanks

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 23, 2022

      I have not tested an alternative for this recipe, typically for cakes, you can substitute butter with equal amounts of neutral oil like safflower, canola, or vegetable and it should be fine. Applesauce is another popular substitute. Regarding the pan size, this recipe yields two 9″x2″ pans. I have not tested an 8″ pan, I’d probably keep the recipe the same, you may have some leftover batter or thicker cake layers. Just don’t overfill your pans because the cake will rise while baking. You may have to adjust the baking time by a few minutes longer if the cake is thicker, or a few mins less if you end up not using the full amount of batter. I hope this helps. Let us know your results.

      Reply

      • Donna
        March 28, 2022

        Hi Natasha, I made the cake with 8″ cake pan, had little extra ingredients for mini chocolate cake. Had lots of compliments on the black forest cake which was very moist and tasty. I was going to show you photos but not sure how to attach.

        Reply

        • NatashasKitchen.com
          March 28, 2022

          Hi Donna! So happy this recipe worked out well! You can post on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @NatashasKitchen.com

          Reply

  • Karen Leeicki
    February 4, 2022

    I hope you can tell me why my egg/sugar mixture will not thicken. It has been 20 minutes now on highest speed with whisk attachment. Eggs were room temp, sugar added slowly with mixer still on high.???? Should I keep mixing. It doesn’t seem to be thickening at all. It is my husband’s birthday and he requested black forest cake. This is quickly becoming a disaster and I don’t know why. (And a waste of 9 eggs)

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 6, 2022

      Hi Karen, do you have a high-powered stand mixer? Also, was your mixer bowl and whisk attachment clean and dry without any grease on it? Also, did you use granulated sugar and not course sugar? Check out the video in the post above on how we make sponge cake to visualize what the process should look like. I hope that helps!

      Reply

    • LJ
      February 13, 2022

      I am leaving 1 star because of bad recipe instructions. Where is the butter you have highlighted the room temperature which in the hurry led me thinking the butter should be at room temperature and not melted. Ruined my cake and my day for nothing

      Reply

      • Natasha
        February 14, 2022

        Hi LJ, I’m sorry to hear that. The instructions state above and in the recipe card “melted and cooled to room temperature” so you don’t add the butter while it is hot.

        Reply

        • Jane Dor-Vincent
          February 25, 2022

          I also read the butter was to be at room temperature, only when i scrolled down and saw yellow liquid being poured in did i realise it was the butter which was actually completely melted, this was not explained in the recipe.

          Reply

          • Natasha
            February 26, 2022

            Hi Jane, I changed it to read “melted and cooled, not hot” hopefully that clarifies better to avoid that in the future. Thank you for letting me know.

  • Lize
    January 29, 2022

    Hello Natasha,
    Appreciate to know how much thick each cake should come out from oven.
    Thanks,

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 30, 2022

      Hi Lize, I actually didn’t measure it that way but I wish I did!

      Reply

  • AV
    January 29, 2022

    This recipe is absolutely amazing. Just one thing – I still don’t know how you decorate the side of the cake with the bark. Is there a tip for this?

    The flavours of this cake are incredible. Thank you so much for the recipe

    Reply

    • Natasha
      January 31, 2022

      Hi AV, I typically just grab a handful and pat it gently onto the sides of the cake. You can also flick it onto the sides.

      Reply

  • Karen Bonewald
    October 25, 2021

    Having trouble finding frozen or canned cherries right now and definitely no fresh cherries. Can we use maraschino cherries for the entire recipe?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 25, 2021

      Hi Karen, I haven’t tested that substitution to advise. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • Edit
    October 11, 2021

    Hello Natasha 👋 can I use frozen cherries? Or canned? Thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 11, 2021

      Hello there, 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

  • Jessica
    September 18, 2021

    Is it 4 cups or 1 lb of cherries? It says 4 cups 1 lb. My measuring cup says 1 lb is 2 cups. And, do we measure before or after pitting? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 18, 2021

      Hi Jessica, yes its 4 cups (4 cups will equal about 1 lb) of bing cherries, pitted, plus 12 whole cherries for decor (see *Recipe Tips). Please be sure they are pitted.

      Reply

  • Jessica
    September 17, 2021

    Your description says 4 layers, but the directions say 2 cake pans. So, is this a 4 or 2 layer cake?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 18, 2021

      Hi Jessica, this is a 4-layer cake. Please see step #4 in the recipe. We bake it in 2 cake pans, and then those two cakes get sliced to make the additional layers. We also have that illustrated in the images. I hope that helps.

      Reply

    • Antoinette
      September 29, 2021

      Hi Jessica. You should cut each cake into two halves. so you will get 4 layers.

      Reply

      • Antoinette
        September 29, 2021

        what I meant. Cut each cake into halves to get 4 layers 🙂

        Reply

  • Jessica
    September 9, 2021

    Do you like to use fresh cherries or from a jar for the filling? Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 9, 2021

      Hi Jessica, we used fresh cherries.

      Reply

  • Jessica
    September 8, 2021

    I see in the picture you have Guittard unsweetened cocoa. But, if you click the link on the ingredients, it takes you to hershey. Which one do you recommend? I love Godiva chocolate, but they don’t sell unsweetened cocoa. I like good quality chocolate. I think I remember Guittard being bitter. I could be wrong. Which brand, not necessarily just between those 2 is best? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 8, 2021

      Hi Jessica, I typically use unsweetened Hershey’s but I had the Guittard at the time. Godiva would work as well.

      Reply

    • Eve
      November 21, 2021

      Guittard is amazing. Buy a bag of their chocolate chips for comparison (especially the milk chocolate ones), and you’ll see what I mean!

      Reply

  • Tanti Agustin
    August 28, 2021

    Hi Natasha, can I make the sponge cake 1 day ahead and assemble it the following day? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 28, 2021

      Hi Tanti! Yes, that will work!

      Reply

  • Jeannette
    July 25, 2021

    Hi Natasha

    Can I bake this in 1 pan instead of 2?how would baking temp & be time need to be adjusted? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 26, 2021

      Hi Jeannette, I haven’t tried it in one pan, so I can’t give you an exact baking time, but it will take longer to bake, and you will need a tall pan (at least 3-inches). To be on the safe side, you could split the recipe and bake the two cakes separately, but you would have to make batches since this batter should not sit on the counter very long before baking.

      Reply

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