Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake is a classic combination of moist chocolate buttermilk cake sandwiched with sweetened whipped cream (Chantilly Cream) and sour cherry cake filling. No matter the occasion, this stunner of a chocolate cake will appeal to both the eye and the taste buds.  

Black Forest Cake is a classic combination of moist chocolate buttermilk cake layers sandwiched with sweetened whipping cream (Chantilly Cream) and sour cherry cake filling.

This Black Forest Cake recipe is perfect for both novice and experienced bakers. I don’t just say this for popular appeal. My proof is in the photos at the bottom of the post. There you should see my husband, who is not a baker by any definition,  after watching a TV show where an inexperienced male baked a cake, insisted that baking is a “piece of cake”. It was so amusing to watch him follow my Black Forest Cake Recipe without much help from me that I documented the entire process for our offsprings and all you skeptics. 🙂

No matter the occasion, this stunner of a chocolate cake will appeal to both the eye and the taste buds.  

Chocolate Cherry Cake 

This cake is sweet, yet tangy from the sour cherries.  It is an alcohol cake, yet the rum is subtle and pairs beautifully with the chocolate and the cherries. The cake is fairly easy to make and decorate (follow the clear, step by step photo tutorial for a foolproof result), yet impressive enough for your most formal occasion. In other words, this cake is full of delicious contradictions and we love it for it!

If you want more of the chocolate cherry combo ideas, check out this Flourless Black Forest Cake Recipe or this Honey Comb Cake.

Can I substitute alcohol in the cake? 

Unfortunately, there’s no suitable substitution for alcohol in this Black Forest Cake recipe, but you can definitely omit it or replace it with Rum Flavoring.

Substitute for Sour Cherry in the Cherry Cake Filling

You can use regular sweet cherries, but I would advise against it. Sour cherries add a very pleasant tartness to the cake, which offsets the sweetness.

As an alternative, you can use regular canned cherry cake filling.  For optimal results use drained sour cherries or cherry pie filling.

Black Forest Cake Recipe

Yields: One 8-9 inch round cake, 6-12 servings

Ingredients for Cherry Cake Filling

How to Make the Tart Cherry Cake Filling

Tart cherries used in the Black Forest cake add a very pleasant tartness to the cake and offsets the sweetness.

  • Place the cherries, sugar, cherry juice, and corn starch in a 2-quart sauce pot.

Tart Cherry Cake Filling complements the chocolate layers and the chantilly cream beautifully!

  • Stir and allow to come to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes past boiling point until the filling has thickened up. Do not cook too long after boiling or the mixture will thin again. Remove from the stove and cool completely.   If not using right away, refrigerate covered up to 2-3 days.

This Black Forest Cake is sweet, yet tangy from the sour cherries and pairs beautifully with chocolate and cream.

Ingredients for the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake: 

  • all-purpose flour
  • sugar, white, granulated
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • eggs
  • buttermilk
  • vegetable oil (I used virgin olive oil)
  • vanilla extract

How to Make the Buttermilk Chocolate Cake:

  • Add all dry ingredients to a bowl (sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt), and whisk (or for better results-sift) until combined.

Making the chocolate layers with buttermilk make them so moist and delicious!

Now add all the wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract) into the dry ingredients.

The chocolate buttermilk layers are so moist and paired with cherries and cream become irresistible!

Using a mixer with a beater attachment or a whisk, beat the buttermilk chocolate cake batter for a minute or so or until just combined.

Black Forest Cake - classic combination of moist chocolate buttermilk cake layers, sweetened whipping cream and sour cherry filling.

  • Divide the batter evenly between two 8 or 9-inch baking pans lined with parchment paper, or lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray. If you have cake strips, wet them and strap around the outside of the pans.
  • Bake in a preheated to 350F oven for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

This Black Forest Cake recipe is perfect for both novice and experienced bakers. This step by step tutorial is very easy to follow.

  • The cake might sink a bit in the middle and that is ok. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then loosen the cake from the pan with a knife and invert it onto the cooling rack, peel off parchment paper and cool completely. With a sharp serrated knife, split each cake in half horizontally.

Two cakes make four layers! With sweetened cream and tart cherries lining the layers, this classic is guaranteed to please!

  • Now trim off a thin layer off the tops of the cake to make crumbs and to decorate the sides of the cake later (you’ll need about 1 cup of crumbs). Once trimmed, crumble it up into fine crumbs or use a food processor to make the crumbs.

 It is fairly easy to make and decorate (follow the clear, step by step photo tutorial for a foolproof result), yet impressive enough for your most formal occasion.


Ingredients for Chantilly Cream: 

  • heavy cream
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract (optional)

How to make the Chantilly Cream:

  • Add heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a bowl and whip on medium-high speed with a mixer until thickened and stiff peaks form.
  • You can place a damp paper towel over the mixer and bowl to prevent the cream from splattering as you whip it. Refrigerate until ready to use, no more than 30 minutes.

Chantilly Cream is a delicious sweetened whipped cream cake filling that pairs great with chocolate and cherries.

Ingredients for the Cherry Soaking Syrup:

  • cherry juice
  • rum or liquor

Stir cherry juice and rum or liquor of choice. Set aside.

Assemble the Black Forest Cake:

  • Reserve about 1.5 cups of Chantilly Frosting and refrigerate until later.
  • Put a dab of frosting onto the cake platter. Place the first cake layer, cut side up and press to adhere. Put four strips of foil all around the cake, going about 1 inch under the cake and covering the edges of the cake platter.
  • Using a pastry brush or a squeeze bottle, spoon or a squeeze bottle lightly soak the cake layer with the 1/4th of the cherry syrup.

The chocolate layers are soaked in cherry juice syrup that adds additional level of flavor.

  • Top the cake with a bit more than 1 cup of frosting and spread it around evenly. Add about 3/4 cup of cherry filling on top of that, and again spread around evenly.

This cake is sweet, yet tangy from the sour cherries.  It is an alcohol cake, yet the rum is subtle and pairs beautifully with the chocolate and the cherries.  It is fairly easy to make and decorate (follow the clear, step by step photo tutorial for a foolproof result), yet impressive enough for your most formal occasion.   In other words, this cake is full of delicious contradictions and we love it for it!

  • Now keep repeating the above layering steps with 3 out of 4 cake layers. Place the 4th cake layer, bottom side up on top of the layered cake.
  • Cover the whole cake in the remaining frosting. Fill the palm of your hand with crumbs and press it against the sides of the cake all around. Carefully pull out the foil strips from under the cake, revealing clean edges of the cake platter.

This Black Forest Cake is a stunner--pleasing to both the eye and the taste buds!

  • Fit a pastry bag with a star tip. Fill the bag with the reserved frosting. Twist the top.

This Black Forest Cake is perfect for any occasion! Decorating is easy yet the results are impressive!

  • Pipe stars all around the top edges of the cake, trying to put them close together, so the cherry filling doesn’t ooze out through the piped stars later.

This cake is perfect for a novice or experienced baker! The cake decor is easy yet impressive!

Add the leftover cherry filling to the top of the cake and spread around into an even layer.

No matter the occasion, this stunner of a Black Forest Cake will appeal to both the eye and the taste buds.  

Refrigerate the cake overnight or at least 5-8 hours before serving. Best served cold.

This Black Forest Cake is a classic combination of moist chocolate buttermilk cake layers, sweetened whipping cream and sour cherry filling.

Want to try some other impressive cakes? Try these!

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake - Chocolate cake layers soaked with liqueur syrup, layered with Whipped Cream frosting and Cherry Filling| Let the Baking Begin!
4.89 from 9 votes
Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin!
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

Sour Cherry Filling:

  • 40 oz jar of pitted sour cherries (I used cherries I canned in the summer or 3 1/2 cups of drained sour cherries.)
  • 1/2 cup juice from the canned cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake:

  • 2 Cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar white, granulated
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil I used virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Chantilly Cream:

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract optional

Soaking Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup cherry juice
  • 4 Tbsp rum or liquor

Instructions

Make the Sour Cherry Filling (do this first so the filling has time to cool):

  1. Drain about two 20 ounce jars of pitted sour cherries - you only need about 3 1/2 cups drained cherries for the filling.
  2. Place the 3.5 cups of cherries, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cherry juice and 1/4 cup corn starch in a 2 quart sauce pot.

  3. Stir and allow to come to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes past boiling point, until the filling has thickened up. Do not cook too long after boiling or the mixture will thin again. Now set out to cool completely before using. If not using right away, refrigerate covered up to 2-3 days.

How to make the Buttermilk Chocolate Cake:

  1. Add all dry ingredients to a bowl (2 cups + 2 tablespoons, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt), and stir until combined or for better results sift together.
  2. Now add all wet ingredients (3 eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup oil and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract) into the dry ingredients.
  3. Using a mixer with a beater attachment or a whisk, beat together for a minute or so, or until well combined. Do not beat past the point when everything is well combined, or the cake will be tough.

  4. Split the batter evenly between two 8 or 9 inch baking pans lined with parchment paper, or lined with foil and sprayed with non stick spray. If you have a cake strip, wet it and strap around the outside of the pan. Bake in a preheated to 350F oven for 30-35 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. The cake might sink a bit in the middle and that is ok. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then run a knife around the inside of the pan, and invert the cake onto the cooling rack.  Peel off parchment paper and cool completely. With a sharp serrated knife split each cake in half horizontally.  

  6. Now trim off thin layer off the tops of the cake to make crumbs and to decorate the sides of the cake later (you'll need about 1 cup of crumbs). Once trimmed, crumble it up into fine crumbs; or use a food processor to make the crumbs.

How to make the Chantilly Cream:

  1. Add 3 cups heavy cream, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to a bowl and whip on high speed with a mixer until thickened and stiff peaks form. You can place a damp paper towel over the mixer and bowl to prevent the cream from splattering as you whip it. Refrigerate until ready to use, no more than 30 minutes.
  2. Stir 1/4 cup cherry juice and 4 tablespoons of rum or liquor of choice. Set aside.

Assemble the Black Forest Cake

  1. Reserve about 1.5 cups of Chantilly Frosting and refrigerate until later.
  2. Put a dab of frosting onto the serving platter/board. Place the first cake layer, cut side up on top and press to adhere. Put four strips of foil all around the cake, going about 1 inch under the cake and covering the edges of the cake platter. Using a pastry brush, spoon or a squeeze bottle lightly soak the cake layer with the 1/4th of the cherry syrup.
  3. Top the cake with a bit more than 1 cup of frosting and spread it around evenly. Add about 3/4 cup of cherry filling on top of that, and again spread around evenly.
  4. Now keep repeating the above layering steps with 3 out of 4 cake layers. Place the 4th cake layer, bottom side up on top of the layered cake.
  5. Cover the whole cake in the remaining frosting. Fill the palm of your hand with crumbs and press it against the sides of the cake all around. Carefully pull out the foil strips from under the cake, revealing clean edges of the cake platter.
  6. Fit a pastry bag with a star tip. Fill the bag with the reserved frosting. Twist the top.
  7. Pipe stars all around the top edges of the cake, trying to put them close together, so the cherry filling doesn't ooze out through the piped stars later.
  8. Add the leftover cherry filling to the top of the cake and spread around into an even layer.
  9. Refrigerate the cake overnight or at least 5-8 hours before serving. Best served cold.

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  • […] Black Forest Cake: Chocolate: Sweetened whipped cream, and cherries, yummy. […]

    · Reply
  • emilia ebienang

    I love the chocolate recipe you shared…will try it soon…..but I like to always feel the chocolate in my chocolate cake, so i hope if I add chocolate bars to mine won’t spoil the taste of your recipe?….thanks for sharing

    · Reply
    • Thank you so much Emilia!

      I would add chocolate ganache drizzle on top of the whip cream, between the layers of the cake for a more intense chocolate flavor. Adding something to the baked chocolate cake layers might change the texture not in the best way.

      · Reply
  • Tatyana Vanderhoof

    so I finally made this cake after eyeing it for about a year. The chocolate layers are very delicious. This cake is more on the sour than sweet. Cream is not sweet. I can taste the rum in the cake and it’s not overpowering bitter. I like that the cherries are not soaked in the rum. I will add a little more rum next time and a little more sugar to the cream as personal preference. Its a good cake. Thanks for a delicious recipe.

    · Reply
  • caroline

    I’ve just put my cake into the oven … I really don’t think it will turn out because the batter was so thick i had difficulty spreading it inside the cake tins. The only thing I had to do which was different from the instructions was I used 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tbsp of vinegar instead of buttermilk. Please let me know if this will make a difference. Thanks so much.

    · Reply
    • You must have messed up somewhere on the measurements of the dry ingredients because the cake batter should be very pourable. Not sure where though.
      I know some people use milk and vinegar instead of buttermilk, but I haven’t done that myself so can not speak as to how well it will work.

      · Reply
      • Caroline

        I made the cake again, and presto!!! it worked out perfectly. It’s an amazing cake. Thanks so much for your response.

        · Reply
  • Jody Bird

    Would there be an easy alternative to using the alcohol?

    · Reply
  • CakenGifts.in Delhi

    I made this it was awesome!!!. My whole family enjoyed after taking it. Thanks for this amazing recipe………

    · Reply
  • Chitra Sridhar

    thank you for sharing this easy to follow recipe of my favorite cake. My son was so excited to try this today and he made the whole cake all by himself. The only place where we had trouble (it was my doing) was the icing. I just could not the consistency right, the icing was not stiff enough. I used heavy whipped cream and confectioners sugar , exact measurements as your recipe. Don’t know where I went wrong. Any tips/advice would be great. thanks!

    · Reply
    • Chitra Sridhar

      tried to put 5 stars but the screen didnt pick it up
      ***** !

      · Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your feedback Chitra! I wonder if you overwhipped the heavy cream or if the heavy whipping cream where you live is less than 30% fat content. If you do use heavy cream with at least 30% fat content it usually whips up with no problem.

      · Reply
  • Jason

    It was the star dessert at Thanksgiving! Thanks!

    For months I’ve been craving black forest cake, and was really disappointed when the local grocery store’s idea of a black forest cake was chocolate cake with some whipped cream and cherries. Too dense, dry, NOT a black forest cake.

    When I came across your recipe, it looked and sounded the part, so I gave it a try for Thanksgiving. I’d added a seasoned rum and soaked a little more than recommended. The tartness of the cherries was balanced with the sugar for a bright flavor, and the buttermilk in the batter gave it its distinctive black forest cake recipe.

    I’d highly recommend.

    · Reply
  • Lilya

    I was saving this cake recipe since you posted it to make it for my daughters birthday and glad I did. It was a hit! So moist and just all the flavors together were perfect. Compliments from everyone who took a bite! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

    · Reply
  • Amelia

    I’m really looking forward to making this but I have a few questions. For the cherry filling, 1/2 cup of cherry juice is listed in the ingredients but it isn’t in the instructions. Is this just added into the pot with everything at the beginning? Also, is the cherry juice used in the soaking syrup the juice from the canned cherries or is it something different?

    · Reply
    • That’s a great question. Canned cherries are usually sold in light syrup, so when you drain the cherries the cherry syrup/juice that’s drained out is what we use in both the soaking and the cherry filling. And yes you mix all ingredients, including the juice, together and then cook it to make the cherry filling.
      Let me know how it all goes Ameilia!
      P.S. I clarified in the directions about the cherry juice.

      · Reply
      • Amelia

        I made this for my sister’s birthday and used Trader Joe’s dark morello cherries and it turned out great! Everyone loved it, thanks for a great recipe!

        · Reply
  • Olga

    Oh, this is really impressive. I want to try it ASAP! If I don’t have homemade sour cherries, what is the best substitution?

    · Reply
  • Luda

    I made this cake last night, soooooo good. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. Love it.

    · Reply
  • Alla

    Wow, wow, wow Vadim did awesome job .

    · Reply
  • That’s amazing! I have to show this to my husband, he doesn’t bake and does very limited cooking. I want to see his reaction too. 🙂 Tell your husband he did an excellent job!

    · Reply
  • I love everything about this post I don’t know where to start! First off, that is how my dad got into baking cakes. He accepted a bet that men can do everything better than women even baking. I know so arrogant! Anyway, that was in Russian in the 70s, so nothing was easy but he got and/or made all the necessary equipment including piping tips, studied pro baking books and became the most amazing baker ever! People raved about his cakes and his incredibly creative decorating abilities. Your husband just went and did it and that is so COOL! The cake looks gorgeous and I wish I could have a bite! Tell him we are all impressed. 🙂

    · Reply
  • Tanya

    Thank you for sharing this with us Marina! Congratulations to your husband on a major accomplishment!! This is huge achievement!!!! You are one wise wife to support your husband and take pictures of the process told him that – deep down inside you wanted him to succeed and you didn’t leave the kitchen, but offered your expertise. He is also a good and smart husband for listening and accepting your tips and advice from a wife. Amazing and *sweet* story which resulted success!!!! Thank you!!!!!! 🙂

    · Reply
    • Oh thank you Tanichka! No need to discourage him from doing what I enjoy, right? lol

      · Reply
      • Tanya

        Exactly Marina. I’ve once read that the couples that have same hobbies, will have a stronger relationship and better marriage! We would like to see more of your collaborative creations in the kitchen! Keep up your amazing work!!!!!

        · Reply
  • Tanya

    Wow. He did great. Gona try this version because I don’t like the bitter taste of cherries soaked in alcohol in other black forest cake versions. This seems like a good idea to add alcohol to layers instead. Thanks

    · Reply
    • The recipe includes a very minimal amount of alcohol and soaking syrup, so it has just a hint of alcohol aroma/flavor. You can adjust the amount of alcohol in syrup by either replacing some of the cherry juice with alcohol, or the other way around. Also, when you choose alcohol for baking, make sure it’s something that tastes good. I have bought rum or brandy (I don’t remember exactly) before that I hated the flavor of and ended up tossing it because it gave off very “woodsy” flavor to the cakes I put it in.

      · Reply

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