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    The Ultimate Black Forest Cake

    I think this black forest cake is one of my favourite recipes to date! It’s intense in flavour, yet light as a cloud.

    Consisting of soft chocolate sponge cake layers soaked in a cherry syrup, topped with a sour cherry filling, stabilised whipped cream and dark chocolate, this black forest cake will not disappoint – I PROMISE! 🙂

    black forest cake

    What is a Black Forest Cake

    A Black Forest cake, also known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in German, is a classic and iconic dessert originating from the Black Forest region in Germany. It is a rich and decadent layered cake known for its distinctive ingredients and flavors. The key components include:

    Chocolate sponge cake layers – a traditional black forest cake is supposed to be light, which is where many recipes go wrong. Instead of an oil or butter cake, it’s best to use a sponge cake for a more authentic version.

    Cherry filling/syrup – Morello (sour cherries) are used as a filling for black forest cake (with a few other ingredients), and a cherry syrup is used to soak the chocolate cake layers. Traditional black forest cake has cherry brandy (called Kirsch) in the syrup (and sometimes filling too), however I’ve left this out. To make up for this, I’ve used an almond essence/extract which adds a nutty and pungent flavour to the cake. I find it much better than just using cherry juice on it’s own 🙂

    Whipped cream – as mentioned earlier, a traditional black forest cake is supposed to be light, hence why whipped cream is used. I’m definitely not complaining – whipped cream is probably one of my favourite frostings! 😀

    Dark chocolate – dark chocolate is used to cover the sides of a black forest cake.

    Additional cherries – when decorating, either fresh, glacé or maraschino cherries are placed on top of the cake.

    How to Make Black Forest Cake

    Now I’m going to be honest with you, black forest cake is a little more intensive than your regular cake, and you have to wait at least 4 hours after it’s made to eat it. BUT, I promise it is so so worth it! 🙂

    As always, full quantities of all the ingredients along with the written recipe is in the recipe card at the end of the blog post.

    Cherry Filling

    Add cherry juice, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, almond flavouring and ground cinnamon to a saucepan. Place it over a medium heat and continuously mix until it thickens up in consistency.

    Once thick, take it off the heat and add in the morello cherries. Mix gently so that the cherries are coated in the thickened mixture. Place into a bowl and set aside to cool.

    black forest cakeblack forest cake

    Cherry Syrup

    In a bowl combine the cherry juice and almond flavouring. Mix and set aside for later.

    black forest cake

    Chocolate Sponge Cake

    Preheat oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on (see note 2 on recipe card if you don’t have a fan function) and grease and/or line only the bottom of three 8 inch cake tins. I line the bottoms with baking paper cut into circles. Leave the sides ungreased.

    Sift together the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, instant coffee powder and salt. Using a whisk, mix until well combined and set aside for now.

    In a small bowl or cup, combine the oil and butter. Mix and set aside.

    black forest cake

    In a large bowl crack in the six whole eggs. To it add in the sugar and vanilla flavouring and using a whisk, mix until well combined. Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water), and continuously mix until the mixture is warm to the touch and sugar granules are completely dissolved. To check if the mixture is done, either use your fingers to rub some of the mixture between your fingers, and if you can’t feel any sugar granules and the mixture is warm then it’s done. Alternatively, you can use a thermometer and when the mixture comes to 45°C it’s ready.

    Take the bowl off the heat immediately as you don’t want to cook the eggs. Using a hand or stand mixer on a medium high speed, whip the egg mixture until it’s tripled in volume and is thick enough to form ribbons when lifted with a spatula (see video demonstration). This may take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on the strength and speed of your mixer.

    Once it’s at the right consistency, turn the mixer down to the lowest speed and mix for a further 2 minutes. This will help stabilise the batter and get rid of any large air bubbles.

    black forest cake

    Next sift in half of the premixed dry ingredients and gently fold it into the egg mixture with a spatula until it’s almost combined. Then sift in the remaining half of the dry ingredients and gently fold until it’s just combined.

    Next add in the oil/butter mixture and gently fold until it’s just combined. The butter should be melted, so if it’s solidified then reheat it again before pouring into the batter.

    black forest cake

    Distribute the batter evenly into the three cake tins. Run a toothpick through the batter to remove any large air bubbles (see video demonstration). Also drop the cake tins lightly on the counter top.

    Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the tops are set. You should be able to create a small indent on the top of the cakes with your finger that slowly bounces back.

    Once baked, drop the cakes from a height of about 10cm to release some of the steam, and allow the cakes to cool upside down for about 30 minutes. 30 minutes later, run a thin knife around the edges of the cake tins to help release the cakes and then turn them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

    Once they’re cooled, gently brush off the thin layer of crust on the tops of your cake layers with your hands. This will allow the cake to soak up the syrup better later on in the recipe. 

    black forest cake

    Dark Chocolate

    Using a potato peeler, grate the block of chocolate so you have little shards. You only need about 180g so if your block is larger than that, don’t grate the whole block, only what you need 🙂

    Place the shredded chocolate into the fridge until you need it.

    black forest cake

    Stabilized whipped cream

    Before beginning, your mascarpone and whipped cream should be cold.

    In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla. Mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds, and then turn up the speed to a medium high and mix until well combined (about a minute). If using a stand mixer use the whisk attachment.

    Add in the whipping cream and mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds (to allow everything to combine without the cream splattering), and then turn up the speed to a medium high and whip until you reach stiff peaks. Keep a careful eye on the mixture as you don’t want to overwhip the cream.

    black forest cake

    How to Assemble Black Forest Cake

    Place your first cake layer onto your cake stand/plate and using a pastry brush, soak it with a generous amount of the cherry juice. Use a 1/3 of the cherry syrup for each cake layer.

    Place about 1/4 of the whipped cream into a piping bag with 1A large round tip (or just cut the end of a piping bag off if you don’t have the right piping tip) and pipe a dam around the top edges of the cake layer.

    Fill the middle with half of the cherry filling, evenly spreading it out. Cover with a layer of whipped cream and spread it out with an offset spatula so that it’s level.

    Place your next cake layer and repeat the steps. So soak with the cherry syrup, pipe a dam of whipped cream, fill the middle with the remaining cherry filling and spread out a layer of whipped cream on the top.

    black forest cake

    Place the last cake layer on top and soak with the remaining cherry syrup. Cover the tops and sides with whipped cream. Use your hands to cover the sides of the cake with dark chocolate.

    Place the remaining whipped cream into a piping bag with a 1M star tip, and pipe swirls around the top edges of the cake. Fill the centre with more shredded chocolate and top the whipped cream swirls with decorative cherries.

    Allow the cake to set in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours (ideally overnight) to allow the flavours to develop. Trust me it is worth the wait so don’t eat it too early! 🙂

    black forest cake

     

    black forest cake

    The Ultimate Black Forest Cake

    I think this black forest cake is one of my favourite recipes to date! It's intense in flavour, yet light as a cloud. Consisting of soft chocolate sponge cake layers soaked in a cherry syrup, topped with a sour cherry filling, stabilised whipped cream and dark chocolate, this black forest cake will not disappoint - I PROMISE! 🙂
    5 from 10 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 1 hour
    Cook Time: 22 minutes
    Waiting Time: 4 hours
    Total Time: 5 hours 22 minutes
    Servings: 12 people

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    Cherry Filling

    • 2 cups (400 g) morello cherries - from a 680g or 700g jar with syrup removed. Save syrup for other elements of the cake.
    • 3 tbsp (40 g) cherry juice - from the jar of morello cherries
    • ¼ cup (50 g) white granulated sugar
    • 1 tbsp (14 g) fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp (15 g) cornstarch - also known as cornflour in some countries
    • tsp almond essence or extract
    • tsp ground cinnamon

    Cherry Syrup (for soaking cake layers)

    • cup (150 g) cherry juice - from the jar of morello cherries
    • tsp almond essence or extract - in replacement of Kirsch (see note 1)

    Chocolate Sponge Cake

    • ¾ cup (90 g) all purpose flour
    • ¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
    • cup (35 g) cocoa powder - Dutch processed preferred
    • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp (30 g) unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola oil
    • 2 tbsp (28 g) melted unsalted butter
    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla essence/extract

    Dark Chocolate (for covering sides and top of cake)

    • 1 block (180 g) dark chocolate (50% dark)

    Stabilised Whipped Cream

    • 1 cup (225 g) mascarpone - cold
    • ½ cup (60 g) icing sugar - also known as powdered or confectioners sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • 3 cups (670 g) whipping cream - cold, minimum fat percentage of 34%

    Extra Decorations

    • 10-12 cherries (fresh, glacé or maraschino)

    Instructions

    Cherry Filling

    • Add the cherry juice, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, almond flavouring and ground cinnamon to a saucepan. Place it over a medium heat and continuously mix until it thickens up in consistency.
    • Once thick, take it off the heat and add in the morello cherries. Mix gently so that the cherries are coated in the thickened mixture. Place into a bowl and set aside to cool.

    Cherry Syrup

    • In a bowl combine the cherry juice and almond flavouring. Mix and set aside for later.

    Chocolate Sponge Cake

    • Preheat oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on (see note 2 if you don't have a fan function) and grease and/or line only the bottom of three 8 inch cake tins. I line the bottoms with baking paper cut into circles. Leave the sides ungreased.
    • Sift together the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, instant coffee powder and salt. Using a whisk, mix until well combined and set aside for now.
    • In a small bowl or cup, combine the oil and butter. Mix and set aside.
    • In a large bowl crack in the six whole eggs. To it add in the sugar and vanilla flavouring and using a whisk, mix until well combined. Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water), and continuously mix until the mixture is warm to the touch and sugar granules are completely dissolved. To check if the mixture is done, either use your fingers to rub some of the mixture between your fingers, and if you can't feel any sugar granules and the mixture is warm then it's done. Alternatively, you can use a thermometer and when the mixture comes to 45°C it's ready.
    • Take the bowl off the heat immediately as you don't want to cook the eggs. Using a hand or stand mixer on a medium high speed, whip the egg mixture until it's tripled in volume and is thick enough to form ribbons when lifted with a spatula (see video demonstration). This may take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on the strength and speed of your mixer.
    • Once it's at the right consistency, turn the mixer down to the lowest speed and mix for a further 2 minutes. This will help stabilise the batter and get rid of any large air bubbles.
    • Next sift in half of the premixed dry ingredients and gently fold it into the egg mixture with a spatula until it's almost combined. Then sift in the remaining half of the dry ingredients and gently fold until it's just combined.
    • Next add in the oil/butter mixture and gently fold until it's just combined. The butter should be melted, so if it's solidified then reheat it again before pouring into the batter.
    • Distribute the batter evenly into the three cake tins. Run a toothpick through the batter to remove any large air bubbles (see video demonstration). Also drop the cake tins lightly on the counter top.
    • Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the tops are set. You should be able to create a small indent on the top of the cakes with your finger that slowly bounces back.
    • Once baked, drop the cakes from a height of about 10cm to release some of the steam, and allow the cakes to cool upside down for about 30 minutes. 30 minutes later, run a thin knife around the edges of the cake tins to help release the cakes and then turn them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
    • Once they're cooled, gently brush off the thin layer of crust on the tops of your cake layers with your hands. This will allow the cake to soak up the syrup better later on in the recipe. You can use a serrated knife for this step too if the top isn't easily coming off.

    Dark Chocolate

    • Using a potato peeler, grate the block of chocolate so you have little shards. You only need about 180g so if your block is larger than that, don't grate the whole block, only what you need 🙂
    • Place the shredded chocolate into the fridge until you need it.

    Stabilized whipped cream

    • Before beginning, your mascarpone and whipped cream should be cold.
    • In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla. Mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds, and then turn up the speed to a medium high and mix until well combined (about a minute). If using a stand mixer use the whisk attachment.
    • Add in the whipping cream and mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds (to allow everything to combine without the cream splattering), and then turn up the speed to a medium high and whip until you reach stiff peaks. Keep a careful eye on the mixture as you don't want to overwhip the cream.

    Assembly

    • Place your first cake layer onto your cake stand/plate and using a pastry brush, soak it with a generous amount of the cherry juice. Use a 1/3 of the cherry syrup for each cake layer.
    • Place about 1/4 of the whipped cream into a piping bag with 1A large round tip (or just cut the end of a piping bag off if you don't have the right piping tip) and pipe a dam around the top edges of the cake layer.
    • Fill the middle with half of the cherry filling, evenly spreading it out. Cover with a layer of whipped cream and spread it out with an offset spatula so that it's level.
    • Place your next cake layer on top and repeat the steps. So soak with the cherry syrup, pipe a dam of whipped cream, fill the middle with the remaining cherry filling and spread out a layer of whipped cream on the top.
    • Place the last cake layer on top and soak with the remaining cherry syrup. Cover the tops and sides with whipped cream. Use your hands to cover the sides of the cake with the dark chocolate.
    • Place the remaining whipped cream into a piping bag with a 1M star tip, and pipe swirls around the top edges of the cake. Fill the centre with more shredded chocolate and top the whipped cream swirls with decorative cherries.
    • Allow the cake to set in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours (ideally overnight) to allow the flavours to develop. Trust me it is worth the wait so don't eat it too early! 🙂

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. Traditional black forest cake uses a cherry brandy (Kirsch) in the cherry syrup/filling, however I have left this out. To make up for this, I have added almond essence/extract to the syrup and filling as it adds a nutty and more pungent flavour than just using the cherry juice alone.
    Note 2. In this recipe I use an oven with the fan function turned on. The fan forced function cooks cakes faster, so if your oven doesn't have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 175°C (347°F) so that the cake bakes at the same rate as mine 🙂

    Nutrition

    Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 189mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 1718IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 2mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: black forest cake, german black forest cake, moist black forest cake, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

     

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    36 Comments

    • Trissy

      Can you bake this in a 9×13 or 2 9in pans?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Trissy! I think two 9 inch pans will work well 🙂 the 9×13 may be okay too, you may just need to adjust the cooking time. Enjoy!

    • Asha

      I can’t wait to try this recipe.
      I only have 6 inch pans how many pans would you recommend I use to fit this recipe? Or should I scale it down

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Asha! 🙂 If you half the recipe you can use three 6 inch cake tins as opposed to three 8 inch cake tins 🙂 enjoy!

    • Hlulani Baloyi

      No baking soda?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi there! 🙂 Nope – for this recipe the foam created by beating the eggs helps with the rise of the cake so no leavening agents are required 🙂

    • Nimitha

      5 stars
      Awesome recipe! Made this yesterday for our anniversary and this was unarguably the best black forest cake I have ever made (according to my son!): moist, soft and rich. We all loved it. Just loved your detailed recipe and video instructions. I used glazed cherries and a coffee decotion instead of cherry syrup and cut down the sugar to half in the base cake. Still the cakes were incredibly soft and the final cake tasted mind-blowing(such a versatile recipe!)! We love black forest cake and this is going to be my go-to recipie hereafter. Thank you for the awesome recipe 👍

      • Cakes by MK

        Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback Nimitha! 😀 So happy to hear you all loved the recipe – really appreciate the feedback! Happy anniversary 🙂

    • HoneyBunnyK

      can i use cake flour and cake strips for the cake?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi there! I haven’t tried cake flour for this recipe myself but I think it would work fine 🙂 cake strips shouldn’t be a probllem too! Enjoy 🙂

    • Mary Beth Christie

      5 stars
      It was delicious!!! Whole cake was gone Christmas day. Thank you!

      • Cakes by MK

        Awesome! So happy to hear you all loved the recipe Mary 😀

    • Lina

      Hello, is it possible to bake the whole quantity in one 8 inches pan?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Lina 🙂 I haven’t tried baking these sponges in a single cake tin myself so I’m not too sure if it’ll rise well. So sorry about that! Would love to hear how you go if you decide to try it out 🙂

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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