Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Every year my family typically celebrates Father’s Day in conjunction with my grandpap’s birthday since it always falls within a few days of the holiday. Last year when I made dessert I wanted to make a cake that incorporated one of my his all-time favorite desserts/snacks: Oreo cookies. So, I served up the Cookies and Cream Oreo Cake to much fanfare. It was a huge hit and everyone loved it. This year I didn’t want to go the Oreo route again (after all, variety is the spice of life, right?), so I started thinking about the other sweets he enjoyed. A light bulb went off. He loves chocolate-covered cherries. And what fabulous cake combines chocolate and cherries? Black Forest Cake! Easy, done. Plus, I could cross it off of My 100 list. Gotta love when you can kill two birds with one stone! In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of the chocolate-cherry combination, but this cake was phenomenal! It had just the right balance of flavors and the whipped cream kept it from being too heavy-tasting.

Black Forest Cake

Once I decided to make Black Forest Cake, I set off to find some recipes. I immediately turned to both The Cake Bible and Baking Illustrated, and both had fabulous-sounding recipes for multi-layer, torte-style Black Forest Cakes. Those are the type of recipes that usually make me do a kitchen jig. But not this time. The problem? I had been under the weather (aren’t summer colds the worst?!), and had two cookie orders that needed to be finished. So, shockingly, I didn’t want to spend much more time in the kitchen. The bare minimum, actually. And while both recipes sounded insanely fantastic (and I will try at least one of them eventually), they were involved and time-consuming. So I used the general ideas of chocolate cake, cherries soaked in Kirsch, and whipped cream to create a much more time-friendly version that is pretty darn amazing, if I may say so myself.

Enjoy!

Black Forest Cake

One year ago: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Two years ago: Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Black Forest Cake

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the cherries:
1 can (20 ounces) cherries, drained
¼ cup Kirsch or other brandy

For the whipped cream:
1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Divide batter between the two prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thin knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Reserve 12 cherries for decorating. Combine the remaining cherries and the Kirsch; set aside.

5. To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until soft to almost-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use.

6. Once the cakes are cool, level the tops and place one layer on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries and place on the cake layer. Top with about ½ to ¾ cup whipped cream, spreading over cherries (that's an estimation, as I didn't measure, just covered the cherries and spread into an even layer). Place the second layer on top, and frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate as desired. (I used a 1M tip to pipe on top and placed the reserved cherries on top of each decorative star, and then lined a bottom border with chocolate shavings.)

* Note: If you do not have Kirsch or brandy, or would rather not use alcohol, reserve ¼ cup of the juice/syrup from the canned cherries before draining.

* Note: To make chocolate shavings, scrape a melon baller across a block of chocolate (or back of a candy bar). To attach them to the cake, lift them with an offset spatula and gently touch them to the sides of the cake.

(Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Hershey's)

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134 Responses to “Black Forest Cake”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Jessica @ How Sweet on June 22, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I love a good black forest cake. This looks delicious!

    Reply

  2. Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes on June 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

    That cake looks beautiful! I think I would definitely enjoy a slice of that!

    Reply

  3. Kare on June 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Holy crap. I mean that in a good way. This looks friggin’ amazing.

    And thanks for the idea of using the melon baller to create the chocolate shavings. Awesome.

    Reply

  4. Tres Amie on June 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Did you use sweet or sour cherries? It looks incredible :)

    Reply

  5. Tina from PA on June 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Oh My ! YUM!

    Reply

  6. Eliana on June 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    This cake looks stunning Michelle. Wish I had a big piece to enjoy after my lunch right now.

    Reply

  7. Amanda on June 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Wow, this looks simply amazing. What I wouldn’t give for a slice of that right now, yum!

    Reply

  8. howtobaker on June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe! I love black forest cake.

    Reply

  9. Maria on June 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Ok, that cake is amazing!! Fantastic job! My brother loves black forest cake, I am going to make this one for him!

    Reply

  10. Kristen on June 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    This cake takes me back to my childhood. My mom first made a Black Forest “torte” when I was about 8 years old. She made it for a dinner party she was having, but there were leftovers the next morning. I remember a thick butter cream laced with kirsch and cherries between dense, moist chocolate layers. It took so much work, that I don’t remember her ever making one again.

    Reply

  11. Belinda @zomppa on June 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Multiple celebrations! Fantastic way to acknowledge with this cake (and Oreo ice cream – my favorite).

    Reply

  12. Margaret on June 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I only have one word for this cake MMMMMmmmmmmm!!!!!!!

    I haven’t made one of these in years. What a great motivator.

    Reply

  13. Ambika Venkat on June 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Oh my gosh! Absolutely gorgeous!

    Reply

  14. The Chocolate Priestess on June 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Oh, interesting that you put the cherries between the layers as well as on top. I bet that was a nice surprise for people when they got a slice.

    Reply

  15. Chef Dennis on June 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    that is a beautiful cake, so rich and moist!
    I would love a big hunk of that….I bet your family loved it!

    Reply

  16. Magic of Spice on June 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Oh yes, best cake ever… This looks scrumptious!

    Reply

  17. Cheah on June 23, 2010 at 3:55 am

    This cake is so beautiful, looks too good to be eaten! Bet it’s delicious!

    Reply

  18. Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops) on June 23, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Delish ! The Cake Bible is my go to book for cakes, her cakes are fool proof !

    Reply

  19. sana on June 23, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Beautiful cake! Thanks for the tip on the liquor substitute.I was just about to ask you the same thing when I scrolled down and read that. You seem to know your readers well!!

    Reply

  20. The Brunette Foodie on June 23, 2010 at 8:01 am

    This looks amazing! Now I want to make a cake :)

    Reply

  21. Heather T on June 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Looks delish, and I LOVE choco cherries. Quick question – how do you keep your whipped cream ‘frosting’ from deflating? Usually when I make whipped cream at home to use on desserts or sundaes, it needs re-whipped the next day because it’s deflated and melted ice cream looking. Any hints or suggestions would help! thanks!

    Reply

  22. Tracy on June 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Yum! I’m dieting right now, and this picture is killing me. ;-)

    Reply

  23. Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective on June 23, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    It amazing! I love how moist the cake layers look!

    Reply

  24. Fuji Mama on June 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    This cake is absolutely STUNNING! Girl, you got mad skillz! :)

    Reply

  25. Angie on June 24, 2010 at 10:26 am

    This looks so good! I love black forest cake, and have never seen one so pretty!

    Reply

  26. Cookin' Canuck on June 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Sometimes I find black forest cake too heavy for my liking, so I really like the lighter frosting in your recipe.

    Reply

  27. geetha on June 24, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    hello browneyedbaker, i am from india and am following your website for the past many months.

    though, i kept away from commenting, enjoying your recipes and pictures rather; the black forest cake recipe broke my hiatus and am very happy about it. my sister is coming over from singapore and i was frantically searching for a black forest cake to welcome her. thank u so much for the timely post..

    Reply

  28. Jason Sandeman on June 24, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Out of all the cakes I learned how to make in school, black forest cake is my favorite. I cannot really eat it anymore, due to diabetic restrictions, but it still is my favorite.

    I do have a tip for you if you don’t mind. When your cakes are cool, mix in a little kirsch with some simple syrup. Before you put the icing on them, dabble a bit of the kircsh simple syrup on the top of the cake. It will hold the moisture better and for longer, and really drive home the special quality of the black forest cake.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 29th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

      Hi Jason, Thank you so much for the tip on brushing the kirsch/simple syrup on the cake to keep it moist. Will definitely do that next time!

      Reply

  29. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on June 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    What a lovely cake! I’ve never seen such a gorgeous black forest cake before!

    Reply

  30. Steve on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I want a piece of this right now!!!! Yum

    Reply

  31. Sasa on June 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    It’s Black Forest Week! I saw this over at Passionate About Baking too but if I saw it a million times, it wouldn’t be too many, I mean chocolate and whipped cream, say no more. Found you through Smith Bites’ #FF ^_^

    Reply

  32. Jen @ How To: Simplify on June 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    What a gorgeous cake! I want a piece of this for dessert tonight!

    Reply

  33. Shirley on June 30, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I adore black forest cake. That is a thing of beauty.

    Reply

  34. Ashley on July 5, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Mmm this looks amazing! I know my fiance would love it.

    Reply

  35. Anissa on July 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Boy oh boy was this fantastic. I used cherries that we had pitted and frozen last year. I heated them up on the stove, added some sugar, cornstarch and a bit vanilla and thickened it up. Then when I put the cherries on the middle layer I made sure to add some of the yummy thickened sauce too, and it made the cake all the much more moist. SO GOOD! Thanks!

    Reply

  36. Liz on September 4, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Awesome recipe!! Made it today for my inlaw’s anniversary. Everybody loved it and said it tasted much better than store bought!

    Reply

  37. karen on September 19, 2010 at 1:20 am

    After seeing many recipes for black forest cake on the internet, I was a bit confused, but then I found this recipe and tried it. It was easy and turned out, as everyone said, amazing!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 20th, 2010 at 10:06 am

      Karen, so happy you found it as easy and delicious as I did!

      Reply

  38. Zoë on October 27, 2010 at 8:41 am

    I’m a bit confused about what canned cherries are. All I can find are maraschino cherries in a jar (which look similar to what are in your pictures) or canned cherry pie filling. Which would be more appropriate? Or is there another option? Frozen or fresh cherries?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 28th, 2010 at 8:35 pm

      Hi Zoe, canned cherries are actually neither maraschino cherries or pie filling. They can be found at the grocery store in the aisle with canned fruit – stuff like the Dole cans of sliced pears, fruit cocktail, etc.

      Reply

  39. anne on January 9, 2011 at 1:37 am

    wow the black forest is amazing!! i really loves it..they are 100% delicious..what cocoa did you use?is it natural or dutch process?thanks and waiting for your respond..i love ur blogsite!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 13th, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      Hi Anne, I used natural cocoa powder. Enjoy the cake!

      Reply

  40. Na on June 14, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Thank you for the wonderful cake recipe. This is the first home made layer cake I made that was a huge success. I poached my own cherries(12 oz) for 5 minutes in 1/2 cup sugar and same amount water. I also used 2 cups cream….was a bit much, could have made do with 1.5 cups easily.

    Reply

  41. Leticia on September 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Made this for my daughter’s birthday this weekend. Wonderful!!! This was my first time I using whipped cream as a frosting. It was absolutely delicious.
    But I had a heck of a time trying to get chocolate on the bottom of the cake. What’s the secret technique??

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 6th, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      Hi Leticia, It’s not the easiest thing, but I used an offset spatula, and loaded up the shavings on the spatula, then pressed it against the bottom of the cake to get them to stick. It takes a little patience, but it does work!

      Reply

  42. Luciana on September 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Made this for a friend’s birthday and posted it on my blog. It was so yummy, but easy enough to make! Thanks so much!!!
    http://sweettoothlulu.blogspot.com/2011/09/black-forest-cake.html

    Reply

  43. Janet on November 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Just finished making this for my daughter’s birthday cake – AWESOME! Finding the Kirsh Brandy was a little difficult, but well worth the search.

    Reply

  44. Josie on January 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I made this for my birthday today. The chocolate shavings on the side look really hard but they’re so easy! YUM! Can’t wait to enjoy it.

    Reply

  45. Emme on January 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    This looks AMAZING i’ll have to try it for my boyfriend since it’s his favourite kind of cake! One quick question though, do you think I could use just a commercial type whipping cream from the grocery store instead of making my own? If so what would you recommend> cool whip? or one from a aerosol can perhaps? Thanks!!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 31st, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Hi Emme, You could definitely substitute a ready-made whipped topping. I would recommend using Cool Whip, as you’d likely have to use a TON of the whipped topping in a can (multiple cans).

      Reply

      • Emme on February 3rd, 2012 at 11:41 pm

        Thank you so much for the advice (and of course the recipe!) I tried it out by halving the recipe-which was kind of hard and a lot of approximations- but it still turned out wonderfully! I used cool whip as you suggested and my goodness, it was delicious! Thanks again! :)

        Reply

  46. layal on March 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    hi .. its looks amazing can i use this frosting on the rinbow cake ?? and do u ahve to put any kind of syrup on the rinbow cake to keep it moist ??

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 31st, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Sure, you could use this frosting. I don’t use any syrup.

      Reply

  47. Candace on April 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Loved this recipe!! Made 24 cupcakes with the Cherries in the center!! Amazing!!

    Reply

  48. Lulu on April 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! My boyfriend adores black forest cake, and I plan to make black forest cupcakes as a birthday treat for him.

    Reply

  49. Nusra on May 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I made this cake for my 4 year old’s birthday and came out really well.thank you for all your recipes.

    Reply

  50. Tania on May 30, 2012 at 1:05 am

    I made this cake and it came out fabulously. The only problem I encountered was that I used a buttercream icing for the cake and in the end the cake ended up tasting too sweet. Even my dad who has a sweet tooth found it too sweet to eat without generous amounts of pouring cream to balance the sweetness.
    Should making the cake with the traditional whipped cream instead solve the problem? 2 cups of sugar still seems like a lot though, did anyone else find it to be too sweet? Comments would be appreciated :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 30th, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Hi Tania, Buttercream is usually pretty sweet, while a sweetened whipped cream is lighter and not nearly as sweet. I would probably try it with the whipped cream instead and see what you think. I don’t think the issue is the 2 cups of sugar in the cake; that’s pretty standard for most cakes.

      Reply

      • Tania on May 30th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

        Hi Michelle,
        Thank-you for your reply. I’ll definitely try the whipped cream instead this time.
        Should there be any problems with freezing this cake one week prior to when it’s required? I’m actually making it for my fiance’s birthday as he loves black forest! I’ve never tried freezing a cake before, any tips would be very appreciated.

        Reply

        • Michelle on May 31st, 2012 at 9:52 am

          Hi Tania, You could freeze the cake layers (wrapped in plastic wrap, then in foil), until you need it, and then I would assemble. I wouldn’t freeze the whole, assembled cake as I’m not sure how the cherry filling and whipped cream would hold up to thawing.

          Reply

          • Tania on June 1st, 2012 at 6:03 am

            Too easy. Thanks Michelle you’re truly amazing.

            Reply

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