Black forest layer cake topped with frosting and cherries with a slice removed showing the inside.

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.

Overhead image of black forest cake topped with frosting, whipped cream dollops, and cherries.

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.


Side view of a slice of black forest layer cake topped with whipped cream and a cherry on a white plate.

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

Black forest layer cake topped with frosting and cherries with a slice removed showing the inside.

Black Forest Cake

A recipe for a classic chocolate and cherry cake
5 (6 ratings)


For the cake:

  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • cups (218.75 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (64.5 g) cocoa powder
  • teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) baking powder
  • teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (244 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (109 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water

For the cherries:

  • 20 ounces (566.99 g) cherries, drained
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) Kirsch or other brandy

For the whipped cream:

  • cups (357 ml) heavy cream, chilled
  • ½ cup (60 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 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.
Calories: 571kcal, Carbohydrates: 78g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 437mg, Potassium: 379mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 54g, Vitamin A: 650IU, Vitamin C: 4.2mg, Calcium: 101mg, Iron: 2.3mg

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