Black Forest Cake Recipe

This is a easy-to-make version of Black Forest Cake.

Black Forest cake has multiple (usually 4) layers of chocolate sponge cake, cherries, and whipped cream.  It is frosted with whipped cream and covered with chocolate shavings and a few cherries for decoration.  Kirschwasser (cherry schnapps) is used to flavor the whipped cream.  The bottom layers of sponge cake are also brushed with Kirschwasser (cherry schnaps) to provide moisture and a little extra flavor.

There are many other ideas on how the cake originally got its name.  Some historians say that it is possible that the cake got its name from the traditional costume worn by women in the Black Forest.  The dress was black (just like the chocolate flakes), the blouse is white (like the cream), and the hat has red pom-poms that look just like cherries.  Called Schwarzwderkirschtorte in German, which means Black Forest Cherry Torte or Gateau.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes one (1) four-layer cake

  • 1 box dark chocolate or devil's food cake mix (your favorite brand)
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1/4 cup Kirshwasser (Cherry Brandy), divided
  • 1 container whipped icing (cream cheese or vanilla)
  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling, divided
  • Maraschino cherries (for garnish)
  • 1 to 2 ounces shaved semisweet chocolate*


How To Make Chocolate Shavings - For best results, the chocolate used should be cold, straight out of the refrigerator.  If it is room temperature, then the slices won't turn out paper thin; instead, they will be thick, broken chunks.  To make chocolate shavings, you first need a good quality of chocolate in block form.  Using a vegetable or potato peeler, hold the chocolate with a paper towel and pass the vegetable peeler over the narrowest side of the chocolate block.  The chocolate will curl up like wood shavings.


Make chocolate cake according to package directions, adding 1 teaspoon red food coloring and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Bake cake, as directed, in two 9-inch layer cake pans.  When done baking, remove from oven and cool the cake completely on a wire rack.  When the cake is cooled, wrap each layer in plastic wrap.  Place layers in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour.

In a large bowl of the electric mixer, whip together the heavy cream and powdered sugar.  Refrigerate until ready to use. Using a sharp knife, slice each cooled cake round horizontally to make four layers.


First Layer:  Place one layer on a flat plate and brush with 2 tablespoons cherry brandy.  Fill a plastic bag with whipped vanilla or cream cheese icing (your choice) and pipe a generous ring (at least one (1) cherry high!) around the edge of first cake layer.  Fill the exposed ring of the cake with some of the cherry pie filling.

Second Layer:  Place the second layer on top of the first layer.  Repeat first layer process with the second layer.

Third Layer: 
Place third layer on top of the second layer.  Repeat process with the second layer.

Fourth Layer:  Place fourth layer on top of the third layer.  Frost the entire cake with freshly whipped cream.

Garnish the top of the cake with (cherries picked from the pie filling) or maraschino cherries.  Sprinkle the top chocolate shavings.  Gently press chocolate shavings onto sides of cake.

Refrigerate for at least two hours prior to serving.  Slice while well chilled for best results.

Courtesy What’s Cooking America


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Cake Magazine: Black Forest Cake Recipe
Black Forest Cake Recipe
This is a easy-to-make version of Black Forest Cake.
Cake Magazine
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