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

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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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 creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Janice
    March 4, 2016

    Natasha, this looks amazing. Can you use frozen bing cherries?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 4, 2016

      Yes that would work fine 🙂

      Reply

  • Lavanya
    March 4, 2016

    Hi, am gonna try this recipe this weekend. But am worried abt the measurements. Can you let me know, the ingredients measurements in kgs instead of cups/nos?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 4, 2016

      Lavanya, I don’t usually measure my ingredients in kilograms. Without going and measuring every ingredient, it’s difficult to give you precise measurements.

      Reply

  • Colette
    March 1, 2016

    I made this cake and I was very pleased with the result! So was everyone else! Highly recommend this recipe! I love it!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 1, 2016

      I’m so happy you liked it! Thank you for sharing your awesome review! I love your name by the way – so pretty!

      Reply

  • Christopher
    February 27, 2016

    Hi. Thanks for sharing this recipe. How do you get the chocolate shavings onto the side of the cake?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 27, 2016

      I usually just apply it with clean dry hands, but you can also put them on a food scraper, holding it close to the cake for the crumbs to attach to the walls of the cake as you add them.

      Reply

  • Sam
    February 22, 2016

    Hey great recipe. But I observed you haven’t used banking powder or banking soda. Will the cake still rise?

    Which is the part to take care to make sure the cake rises properly without using banking powder or banking soda?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 23, 2016

      Sam, the cake relies on the volume of eggs to rise properly. Be sure to beat your eggs long enough and do not over-mix the batter after adding dry ingredients. Hope this helps 😁.

      Reply

    • Bunny
      February 23, 2016

      Sam,
      This is a “genoise” cake. It specifically uses beaten eggs as the leaving agent. No baking powder or baking soda needed.
      Please note that there is no “n” in baking.
      Bunny

      Reply

  • Soulli
    February 16, 2016

    Hi I want to try out your Black Forest cake this coming weekend but need to make it for 18-20 persons. Can please tell me size of cake pan needed and also by how many times shall I do this recipe? (For instance double ingredients )??? Also cooking time xxx thank a million

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 16, 2016

      If this is the only dessert, you might make 2 cakes for that many people. If there are going to be other desserts, you could probably get away with 1 cake and smaller slices for each person. I have served this for a crowd that large but there were other desserts available.

      Reply

      • Soulli
        February 16, 2016

        Thank you so much for your immediate reply. This is for a birthday cake 🙂 I wanted to go 25-28cm cake tin. How many times over must I putingredients ? 🙂

        Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          February 17, 2016

          So about a 10″ cake? If you left it as-is, you would have a shorter cake but I think it would still work. I haven’t tested it in a 10-inch but my guess would be that if you wanted a larger cake, you probably could increase everything by 1/3, so 12 eggs, 1 1/3 cup sugar, etc.

          Reply

  • Jackie
    February 16, 2016

    Is there a way to substitute the cherry liqueur? I’m trying to make thus for my class.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 16, 2016

      Hi Jackie, if you’re looking for something alcohol free, you could just use cherry juice. It wouldn’t taste the same, but it would still taste great 🙂

      Reply

  • Sheila
    February 15, 2016

    Hi there, I’m looking for a good black forest cake recipe and I came across yours. Of course reading all the comments makes me excited to give this a try. I do have a question though … could there be a problem of the cake rising with high altitude, I live in calgary alberta. I have found that living here can be a challenge when it comes to baking. Hoping to make this for easter

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 15, 2016

      Hi Sheila, I really can’t say without testing it in a high altitude myself. There were a couple of readers who reported their cakes didn’t rise but they didn’t say if they lived in high altitudes or not. Sorry, I know that’s not super helpful. If you test it, let me know how it works out with high altitude baking. Thank you Sheila!

      Reply

  • Mae
    February 13, 2016

    This cake recipe is amazing!!! I made it for my fiancé for Valentines Day, it’s gis favorite cake. I did not improvise or change anything, because this is the first time I baked a black forest cake, so I followed the instructions very carefully. thought it’s hard to make that’s why I always avoided it. This recipe is simple and very easy to make. Thank you very much!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 14, 2016

      That’s awesome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Happy Valentine’s Day!

      Reply

  • afi
    January 30, 2016

    I just finished making this cake. It looks exactly like the picture. It’s amazing. I made the batter in 3 molds because I had beaten the eggs in the machine so long that it had really become fluffy. So my cake has three large layers and very spongy. I added a little bit of blackberry schnapps to the cherry liqueur to give it a bit of a lift 🙂
    I tasted the syrup and it was delicious. Can’t wait to see what my dinner guests think tonight.
    Thank you for a fantastic recipe.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 30, 2016

      Thank you for such a nice review and you are welcome 😀.

      Reply

  • Babita
    January 29, 2016

    Cake was delicious but why my cake wasn’t fluffy. The bottom part was a bit thick on both pan. Could you suggest me?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 29, 2016

      Hi Babita, the cake relies on the volume of the whipped eggs to rise. Did your batter look fluffy like in the photos? Is it possible that you under-beat your eggs?

      Reply

  • Lisa T
    January 4, 2016

    Thank you for the recipe. The cake was excellent! I was worried the cake wouldn’t be very chocolaty but didn’t want to mess with chemistry so added extra chocolate shavings between the layers. I used 2 cups of sour cherries and a cup of cherry jam for the filling. Then omitting the Kirsch, I used the cherry juice concentrated and sweetened with a bit of simple syrup to moisten the cakes.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 4, 2016

      Lisa, thank you for the nice review and nice job improvising 👏🏼.

      Reply

  • Liz
    December 16, 2015

    Fantastic recipe, so easy to follow and I produced an excellent cake. This is my favorite cake and I can’t readily find it for sale so it’s great to be able to make my own.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2015

      I’m so happy you loved it! Thank you so much for the great review 🙂

      Reply

  • Alla
    November 6, 2015

    Natasha скажите пожалуйста этот рецепт без соди пищевой ?он вырастет ?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 6, 2015

      Yes, it rises from the fluffiness of the eggs. 🙂

      Reply

  • Bunny
    November 1, 2015

    Natasha, I won a Best of Show, with a Black Forest Cake, at a Snowtown Culinary Salon, many years ago. I used fresh cherries, pitted, cut in half, and macerated in Kirsch. After the cherries had macerated for several hours, I made a glaze with the juices, added the cherries to it, and used that between the cake layers. I decorated the top with frosting rosettes, shaved chocolate, and 3 dimensional trees I made with chocolate. I was amazed it took best of show, but I guess a genoise isn’t commonly made for culinary competitions, plus the fact that nothing came out of a can, and was made from scratch. I would guess this is how it’s made in Germany.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 1, 2015

      That’s fantastic! Congratulations! I would love to see a photo of your cake if you have one posted somewhere. I’m sure it was gorgeous.

      Reply

  • Bunny
    November 1, 2015

    I was reading a question about how to work with the chocolate. Chocolate shavings, and Chocolate Curls, are 2 completely different techniques. To grate small little curls, for this recipe, all you need is a candy bar – i.e. a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate – and a carrot peeler. Run the peeler down the side of the candy bar to make the curls. If the candy bar is a little warm, it will be easier to do. I also do this for Tiramisu, and any other cake that needs a little decoration. I personally like dark chocolate more than milk, but that’s my own preference.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 1, 2015

      Thank you so much for sharing your tips! I agree, I am a dark chocolate fan myself. 🙂

      Reply

  • Sabrina
    October 31, 2015

    Natasha, I have tried many cake recipes of yours and have never been disappointed. Thank you for yet another stunning recipe. You ignited my love for baking and you make them so easy to make. So, I made this cake for my husband’s birthday celebration and it was a great success. Only changes made are that I used bottled cherries and tonnes of kirsch liquor. My husband likes it truly soaked with the extra ummph. No complaints from our guests. Please come up with more wonderful cake recipes.

    Reply

    • Sabrina
      October 31, 2015

      Btw, my chocolate shavings was a total failure. Please come up with a video tutorial on how to do it. Thanka

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        November 1, 2015

        Sabrina, that is a good suggestion, I’m adding it to my todo list 🙂 .

        Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 1, 2015

      I’m so happy that you loved the recipe and are inspired to bake. I would have added more kirsch but my son would not have eat it 😀 .

      Reply

      • Sabrina
        November 3, 2015

        Natasha, i am now looking for lovely but challenging cake recipes. At the moment, I am thinking of making a pumpernikel/dates base with coconut ice cream cake. Wonder if you can experiment and introduce some ice cream cakes? I am experimenting myself.

        Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          November 4, 2015

          I haven’t really experimented with ice cream cakes although my son has been asking me to lately :). If I come up with something great, I will be sure to share it 🙂

          Reply

      • Sabrina
        November 3, 2015

        Sorry, one more request. I am looking for a cake that has a layer of crunchy wafers or caramelized something. I have tasted it once and it was very good but don’t know how to find a recipe for it. I don’t know what they put at the bottom of the layer – maybe wafers, maybe maltese?

        I would love to make an almond ice cream cake too. If you can make one, that would be great. Thanks

        Reply

  • Steph
    October 7, 2015

    Hi, would it be okay if i omit the syrup filling and just put canned cherries on top of the frosting with no syrup under the frosting?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 7, 2015

      Do you mean between each layer? I think it would work, but the layers still would not be as moist as when you use the syrup.

      Reply

  • anna
    October 6, 2015

    hi natasha, is there any thing that i can replace the cherry liqueur with? also can i use canned cherries since fresh ones are out of season?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 6, 2015

      Anna, canned cherries will work, you could probably use rum although kirsch is the traditional liquor for this cake.

      Reply

  • Bunny
    September 30, 2015

    Black Forest Cake has nothing to do with German Chocolate Cake. Black Forest Cake comes from Germany, and is a genoise, made with Kirsch, mascerated cherries, and whipped cream.

    German Chocolate Cake is American, and is made with Baker’s German Chocolate (named after the man who developed this chocolate.). It has a cooked caramel pecan and coconut frosting.

    They are not remotely similar in flavor, ingredients, or procedures to make them.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 2, 2015

      Hi Bunny, I meant that it is a German cake which is chocolate. I agree THE “German chocolate cake” is exactly as you described it. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      Reply

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