This decadent German Black Forest Cake recipe features fluffy chocolate sponge cake, layered with fresh whipped cream and cherries. This cake is light, perfectly sweet, and delicious.
WHY IS IT CALLED BLACK FOREST CAKE?
This cake is named after a specialty liquor, Schwartzwalder Kirsch, a cherry Brandy found in the region of Schwarzwald (Black Forest), Germany. This specialty liquor is distilled from tart cherries.
Traditionally, a Black Forest Cake would have the chocolate layers soaked in this liquor, however I went with an alcohol free version for this recipe.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE A GERMAN BLACK FOREST CAKE
I wanted to make a few notes on the actual assembly of this cake.
Make sure that before you start assembling the cake, that the cake layers are nice and cool, the whipped cream is prepared, and the cherry syrup is ready. It is best to work quickly with this cake to keep the whipped cream fresh and whippy.
If you are not planning on serving this cake immediately, make sure to refrigerate it up until the time you plan to serve.
Place one layer of chocolate cake onto a cake stand and brush on the juice from your cherries. Top with about 1/3 of the whipped cream, then cover with the halved cherries. Continue with the other 2 layers of cake.
When you place on the last layer of cake, cover with the chocolate ganache, pipe on some swirls of whipped cream. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate, and top with fresh cherries.
PRO TIP: When working with chocolate, never let it touch your hands.. EVER. When I shave chocolate, I keep the chocolate in the wrapper it came in and work with it that way. Keep your shavings in a bowl, then use a spoon to sprinkle over the top of your cake.
SWEET VS. SOUR CHERRIES
Sweet cherries are what you usually find fresh in grocery stores. They are sweet enough to eat straight. My youngest son could eat them all day.
Sour cherries are typically not found fresh in grocery stores. Similar to apples, a lot of people normally go for the tart cherries for baking. I am a big fan of sweet cherries, so that is what I used for this recipe.
If you use sweet cherries for baking, there is no need to add a lot of extra sugar into the recipe.
Q: Should Black Forest Cake be refrigerated?
A: Yes! Refrigerate your cake until you are ready to serve. I would wait until you are ready to serve before you assembled the cake.
Q: Can you make this cake ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can. I would recommend eating it within two days of making. Keep the cake refrigerated.
Q: Can I use cherry brandy in this recipe?
A: Yes! On the final step of the cherry syrup, add in the cherry brandy at the very end once you remove the cherries from the heat. I would recommend using about 1/3 of a cup.
IF YOU LOVED THIS GERMAN BLACK FOREST CAKE AS MUCH AS I DO, MAKE SURE YOU SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK AND PINTEREST SO THEY CAN MAKE IT TOO!
MORE CAKE RECIPES!
German Black Forest Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups fresh cherries pitted and cut in half
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream cold
- 2 oz. cream cheese softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
- 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 8-10 fresh cherries
- Grated chocolate
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees/F and prepare 3 8-inch cake pans by rubbing generously with vegetable shortening and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a whisk attachment, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder and whisk until well combined.
- Add in the vanilla, eggs, milk, and vegetable oil and mix until there are no dry spots remaining.
- Add in the boiling water last and mix on low speed. Slowly increase to high for 1-2 minutes.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Add the cherries, sugar, and water into a medium saucepan and heat over med-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 6-7 minutes stirring occasionally. You want the cherries to be soft but not mushy.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the almond extract (or brandy if using)
- Allow to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a whisk attachment, add the cream cheese and whip until light and fluffy.
- With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream.
- Add the powdered sugar and whisk on low speed until incorporated then increase the speed to high until stiff peaks form.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, add the heavy cream and microwave on 30 second increments until hot (but not boiling). Remove and add the chocolate and corn syrup. Let sit for 3-5 minutes and then whisk until smooth.
- Place one cooled layer of cake on a cake stand and brush generously with the syrup from the cherries.
- Place about 1/3 of the whipped cream on top and smooth evenly.
- Place 20-25 cherries around on top of the whipped cream and press them in slightly.
- Repeat with each layer of cake.
- Once you place on the last layer of cake, pour over the chocolate ganache and smooth letting some drip over the sides.
- Place the remaining whipped cream into a piping bag with a large (1M) star tip and pipe whipped cream circles around the top.
- Sprinkle grated chocolate over the cake and top the whipped cream with fresh cherries.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.