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Black Forest Cake

This Black Forest cake recipe is made of moist and rich chocolate cake layers with fresh cherries and cherry syrup. Filled then covered with smooth stabilized whipped cream frosting with cream cheese. This ultimate favourite German dessert cake is perfect for any occasion!

black-forest-cake with chocolate drip, whipped cream, and cherries

Black Forest gâteau or ” Black Forest Cherry-Torte” is based on the German dessert Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. It is typically made of chocolate sponge cake filled with cherries and whipped cream with Kirsch. It has a sweet-tart distinct taste from cherries.

Kirsch also known as cherry brandy is a colourless brandy and it’s made via double distillation of fermented sour dark cherries.

The liquor is optional, and the whipped cream can be flavoured with pure vanilla extract if you don’t have Kirsch, or to make this alcohol-free black forest cake. In this recipe, I used homemade cherry syrup instead of Kirsch.

This Black Forest Cake design is simply and elegantly decorated with a chocolate ganache mirror glaze drip. With the traditional chocolate shavings, whipped cream frosting and fresh cherries.

Black forest cake modern design

The shiny chocolate ganache drip is made of heavy cream, semi-sweet chocolate and gelatine that gives shine to the chocolate ganache.

How to make Black Forest Cake?

Step 1. Make the chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake for Black forest cake

Start by preparing all the baking pans and ingredients to make sure you have everything on hand. Sift all the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Make sure to measure your ingredients accurately. Use a kitchen scale or measuring cup.

In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients except for the coffee. then add the dry ingredients in four additions to avoid big lumps and avoid overmixing. Add the coffee slowly to the cake batter and mix until well blended.

Use a kitchen scale to divide and pour the cake batter evenly into the 3 greased round baking pans lined with parchment paper. Tap them on the table to release some air bubbles.

Put cake strips on each baking pan to have a flat-top cake and to avoid crusty edges on the cake. This also helps to make the cake moist.

How to make aluminum foil cake strips?

To make the cake strips, cut off a foil long enough to wrap around the baking pans or overlap two pieces of aluminum foil.

Lay the wet three strips of paper towel and place them onto the foil overlap the same length of the foil. Fold the foil in half lengthwise to seal the wet paper towel inside.

Wrap the cake strips around each baking pan. Fold the ends of the foil strips to lock.

Bake in preheated oven to 350°F for about 25 minutes or until the inserted cake tester in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in a pan for 10 minutes then on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Pit the Cherries.

How to pit the Cherries
How to pit the Cherries
How to make Cherry Syrup for the black forest cake
How to make Cherry Syrup

In a saucepan, add water and sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Add chopped cherries and simmer for 10 minutes.

Transfer in a strainer over a glass container, press and squeeze out the remaining juice from the cherries.

Step 3. Make the crumb coat stabilized whipped cream frosting.

In a small bowl, add the gelatin in water, let it bloom for 5 minutes then microwave for 10 seconds until the gelatin melted. Whip the very cold whipping cream in a chilled bowl or place a bowl over a bowl of ice water. Beat the whipping cream until medium-stiff peaks.

Add the sifted powdered sugar, vanilla and gelatin that has been cool but not set. Beat for a few seconds just until incorporated. Transfer in a piping bag or just use a cake spatula.

If you are looking for more stable icing or frosting for black forest cake, try this Italian Meringue recipe. It’s super stable and can be left out at room temperature for a long period.

Step 4. The Cake Assembly

How to assemble the black forest cake with frosting and filling.
How to assemble the cake with frosting and filling.

Layering the cake. To assemble, place a cake board or place the cake directly on the cake server. Spread a dollop of frosting to glue the cake, so it will not move or slide when you rotate the cake turntable.

Brush the cake with cherry syrup. Spread or place the pitted halves of cherries on the top edges of the cake. Spread the frosting and add more cherries to the middle. Repeat this procedure on the 2nd layer.
Just brush the 3rd layer with cherry syrup.

Step 5. Make the chocolate ganache. Heat the heavy cream in a microwave then add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melt and let it cool but not set. Pour the chocolate ganache evenly on the top middle of the 3rd layer of cake. Spread evenly up to the edge.

Step 6. Crumb Coating the cake. Apply the frosting using a spatula or in a piping bag. Spread evenly with the offset spatula or scraper on the side of the cake until you see the cake crumbs.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if not serving the same day.

How to make smooth whipped cream frosting? It is important not to overwhip the heavy cream to have a smooth final coat for the cake.

Step 7. Make the final coat stabilized whipped cream frosting with cream cheese. In a chilled bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl over an ice water bowl, beat the very cold whipping or heavy cream until soft peaks. You can also beat by hand to avoid overmixing. Add pure vanilla extract or kirsch to the whipped cream and stir until incorporated.

In a small bowl, mix the softened cream cheese and sifted powdered sugar until smooth and no lumps. Add the whipped cream in 2 to 3 additions. To avoid air bubbles mix slowly until well blended and smooth.

Frosting the black forest cake
How to smooth cake frosting / whipped cream frosting

Step 8. Frosting a cake with smooth whipped cream. Smooth frosting a cake with a crumb coat that has been dried and chilled is easier.

Place the chilled crumb-coated cake on a turntable. Using an offset spatula, apply a few scoops of the frosting on the side of the cake.

When the sides are covered, hold the cake scraper about 90° angle parallel to the cake or as tight and close to the cake while you rotate the turntable.

Clean the cake scraper with warm water and dry with a paper towel. Do this in between smoothing and removing extra frosting until the cake surface is smooth.

Transfer the extra frosting to a piping bag with a star tip nozzle. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Step 9. Decorating the cake

How to make the chocolate mirror glaze ganache for the drip cake?

Add the unflavoured gelatin to the small bowl with water. Let it bloom for 5 minutes. Heat in a microwave for a few seconds until melted.

Heat the heavy cream in a microwave then add chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted then add the melted gelatin. Transfer in a squeeze bottle for easy even dripping. Let it cool for about 45 minutes or at 85°F.

Chocolate drip for black forest cake
How to make Black Forest cake with a chocolate drip.

How to test the chocolate drip? Squeeze the bottle with the mirror glaze chocolate ganache on the top edge of the chilled cake or the side of a chilled glass. If you like the consistency and not too runny, continue the drip as you rotate the turntable.

Prepare the chocolate shavings. Use a knife or peeler to make chocolate shavings. You can use any chocolate you prefer, dark or milk chocolate that is hard enough to shave.

Black forest cake chocolate shavings
Black forest cake chocolate shavings

Place the chocolate shavings evenly on the bottom around the cake with parchment paper. Carefully press with the offset spatula. Remove extra chocolate shavings.

Decorating Black Forest cake
Decorating Black Forest cake
Black Forest Cake with a Chocolate ganache drip

Frost the top edge of the cake with the remaining whipped cream frosting in a piping bag with a star tip nozzle. Top with fresh whole cherries with the stem. Refrigerate for an hour before slicing.

Black Forest Cake modern design

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Black Forest Cake recipe featured image

Black Forest Cake Recipe

This Black Forest Cake has 3-layer of deliciously moist and rich chocolate cake. This ultimate favorite German cake is perfect for any occasion!
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4.75 from 4 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Black forest cake, chocolate cake recipe
Author: Maricel
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
chilling: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 16

Watch How to Make It

Equipment

  • 3 of 8" round baking pans
  • stand mixer or hand mixer
  • cake strips

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups cherries pitted, cut in halves and quartered

Dry ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour 220g
  • ¾ cup Hershey's cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Wet ingredients

  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup hot coffee or 2 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in ¾ cup hot water.
  • 1 tbsp kirsch or cherry liquor optional

For the Cherry syrup

  • cup filtered water
  • cup sugar
  • cup cherries chopped

For the crumb coat frosting

  • cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or kirsch
  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tbsp cold water

For the top 1st layer chocolate ganache

  • 75 g semi-sweet chocolate
  • cup heavy cream

For the smooth final coat frosting

  • cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or kirsch
  • tbsp powdered milk
  • cup cream cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

For the chocolate ganache mirror glaze drip

  • 125 g semi-sweet chocolate
  • ½ cup Heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp unflavored gelatine

For the chocolate shaving

  • 50 g milk chocolate

Instructions

For the Chocolate cake

  • Mix and sift all the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients except for the coffee. then add the dry ingredients in four additions to avoid big lumps and to avoid overmixing the cake batter. Add the coffee slowly to the cake batter and mix until well blended. 
  • Divide and pour the cake batter evenly into the 3 greased round baking pans lined with parchment paper. Tap them on the table to release and knock out some air bubbles.
  • Put a cake strip on each baking pan to have a flat top cake and avoid crusty edges on the cake. This also helps to keep the cake moist.
  • How to make aluminum foil cake strips. To make the cake strips, cut off a foil long enough to wrap around the baking pans or overlap two pieces of aluminum foil. Lay the wet three strips of paper towel and place onto the foil overlap the same length of the foil. Fold the foil in half lengthwise to seal the wet paper towel inside. Wrap the cake strips around each baking pan. Fold the ends of the foil strips to lock.
  • Bake in preheated oven to 350°F for about 25 minutes or until the inserted cake tester in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool in a pan for 10 minutes. Loosen the cakes with an offset spatula, then place them on a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper to cool completely.

For the Cherry Syrup

  • How to make the cherry syrup. In a saucepan, add water and sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Add chopped cherries and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer in a strainer over a glass container, press and squeeze out the remaining juice from cherries.

For the Crumb Coat Frosting

  • How to make the crumb coat stabilized whipped cream frosting. In a small bowl add the gelatin in water, let it bloom for 5 minutes then microwave for 10 seconds until gelatin melted.
  • Whip the very cold whipping cream in a chilled bowl or place a bowl over a bowl of ice water. Beat the whipping cream until medium-stiff peaks.
    Add the sifted powdered sugar, vanilla and gelatin that has been cool but not set. Beat for few seconds just until incorporated. Transfer in a piping bag or just use a cake spatula.

The Assembly

  • How to assemble 3 layers cake with filling and frosting. Place a cake board or place the cake directly to the cake server. Spread a dollop of frosting to glue the cake, so it will not move or slide when you rotate the cake turntable.
  • Brush the cake with cherry syrup. Spread or place the pitted halves of cherries on the top edges of the cake. Spread the frosting and add more cherries to the middle. Repeat this procedure on the 2nd layer.
  • Just brush the 3rd layer with cherry syrup.
  • Crumb Coating the cake. Apply the frosting using a spatula or in a piping bag. Spread evenly with the offset spatula or scraper on the side of the cake until you see the cake crumbs. Refrigerate while making the chocolate ganache.
  • Make the chocolate ganache. Heat the heavy cream in a microwave then add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melt and let it cool but not set. Pour the chocolate ganache evenly on the top middle of the 3rd layer of cake. Spread evenly up to the edge.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if not serving the same day.

For the smooth Final coat frosting

  • How to make the stabilized whipped cream frosting with cream cheese. In a chilled bowl of a stand mixer, beat the very cold whipping or heavy cream until soft-medium peaks. You can also beat by hand over a bowl of ice water to avoid overmixing.
  • Add pure vanilla extract or kirsch in the whipped cream and stir until incorporated.
  • In a small bowl, mix the softened cream cheese and sifted powdered sugar until smooth and with no lumps.
  • Add the whipped cream in 2 to 3 additions. To avoid air bubbles mix slowly until well blended and smooth.
  • Frosting a cake with smooth whipped cream. Smooth frosting a cake with a crumb coat that has been dried and chilled is easier.
  • Place the chilled crumb-coated cake on a turntable. Using an offset spatula, apply a few scoops of the frosting on the side of the cake.
  • When the sides are covered, hold the cake scraper about 90° angle parallel to the cake or as tight and close to the cake while you rotate the turntable.
    Clean the cake scraper with warm water and drying with a paper towel. Do this in between smoothing and removing extra frosting until the cake surface is smooth.
  • Transfer the extra frosting in a piping bag with a star tip nozzle. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes while making the chocolate drip.

Decorating the cake

  • For the chocolate ganache drip or chocolate mirror glaze drip. Add the unflavoured gelatin to the small bowl with water. Let it bloom for 5 minutes. Heat in a microwave for few seconds until melted.
  • Heat the heavy cream in a microwave then add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted then add the melted gelatin. Transfer in a squeeze bottle for easy even dripping. Let it cool for about 45 minutes or at 85°F.
  • Prepare the chocolate shavings. Use a knife or peeler to make chocolate shavings. You can use any chocolate you prefer, dark or milk chocolate that is hard enough to shave.
  • Test the chocolate drip consistency. Squeeze the bottle with the mirror glaze chocolate ganache on the top edge of the chilled cake. If you like the consistency and not too runny, continue the drip as you rotate the turntable.
  • Place the chocolate shavings evenly on the bottom around the cake with parchment paper. Carefully press with the offset spatula. Remove extra chocolate shavings.
  • Frost the top edge of the cake with the remaining whipped cream frosting in a piping bag with a star tip nozzle. Top with fresh whole cherries with the stem. Refrigerate for an hour before slicing.

Notes

Use a kitchen scale to evenly divide the cake batter in each pan. The weight is about 425 grams on each pan.
It is important not to overwhip the heavy cream to have a smooth final coat for the cake.
Nutrition Facts
Black Forest Cake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 587 Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Fat 38g58%
Saturated Fat 24g150%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 10g
Cholesterol 122mg41%
Sodium 378mg16%
Potassium 245mg7%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 41g46%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 1039IU21%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 103mg10%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @maricelsrecipes or tag #maricelsrecipes!

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