Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

I should preface this blog post by saying that this Black Forest Cake I am sharing with you, is the American version Black Forest Cake!

This is not the authentic German version that is loaded up with Kirshwasser infused cherries, Kirsh flavored whipped cream and a drunken simple syrup to soak the cake layers.

Now please let me be clear that I am not at all knocking the authentic German version by any means…after all it is a classic cake; a most famous and delectable dessert enjoyed by…….. ADULTS!

I have learned over the years as baker /owner of a retail bakery and as pastry chef/ blogger here on the internet, that there are many more people who DO NOT like alcohol in their desserts as opposed to the people who do like a little “toddy” now and then.

So in the interest of preparing a cake that most people will actually make and eat, I am going to show the American version today.

I am however going to be using small amounts of Kirshwasser in the black cherry compote, the whipped cream and the simple syrup, but you can of course leave it out of everything completely with no substitutions.

All you die hard pastry passion-istas……. cover your eyes! It’s about to get deliciously sacrilegious up in here!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Black Forest Cake
Prep time
Total time
We are Building on Recipes here so be sure to get all of your base recipes prepared in advance
Serves: 1 - 8" Cake
  • 1 Recipe Chocolate Cake (baked into 3-8" layers)
  • 2 Recipes Whipped Cream (1/3 will be made into chocolate whipped cream)
  • ΒΌ Recipe Ganache
  • 1 Recipe Black Cherry Compote
  • ΒΌ Recipe Simple Syrup
  • Cherrry Juice 2 - 4 tablespoons *optional
  • Kirshwasser 3 Tablespoons or to your taste *optional
  • Chocolate Shavings for garnish
  • Fresh Cherries for garnish
  1. Bake cake layers and be sure they are fully cooled before beginning to build the cake (I keep mine in the freezer until I am ready to build)
  2. Prepare all base recipes except the whipped cream as far as 1 week in advance or as directed for the storage on each recipe
  3. Prepare whipped cream only when all base recipes are ready and add 1 Tablespoon of Kirsh at the last stage of whipping.
  4. Take out ⅓ of the entire amount of whipped cream and add the melted cooled chocolate ganache.
  5. Add the other 2 tablespoons of Kirsh and 2 tablespoons of cherry juice to the Simple Syrup
  6. Fill the cake layers brushed with the infused cherry simple syrup and then fill with chocolate whipped cream and black cherry compote.
  7. Ice cake with remaining regular whipped cream
  8. garnish with chocolate shavings and fresh cherries.
This cake must be stored in the refrigerator at all times due to the whipped cream filling and icing for up 5 days covered

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  1. WOW!!! My mom’s friend who visited us from Canada, a few days back, bought fresh cherries from there! πŸ˜€ I think I would make this soon! Looks amazing!

  2. Gretchen: Nice video!
    First time seeing how a Black Forest Cake is done. Growing up in a British Crown Colony, Hong Kong, I had Black Forest Cake from local bakeries. Never knew cherries were the ‘main’ part of the Black Forest Cake.
    Thanks for the video!

  3. Wow! Can’t wait to try this one! Looks fabulous as always!
    Had to laugh out loud about the focusing dilemma. πŸ™‚

  4. That cake looks delicious! I don’t particularly like chocolate cake or cherries by themselves, but for some reason I LOVE blackforest cake. Perhaps it’s all the kirsh…

    Few questions:
    1) For the first layer you piped the whipped cream dam before applying the simple syrup, but for the second layer you did it the opposite way. Which is the correct way? Or does it even matter?

    2) Does it matter if you put the compote on before the chocolate whipped cream?

    3) What tip do you use to pipe the decorations on top?


      1. I didn’t know you had a store! Am bookmarking it. For as much as I’ve been bugging you, you definitely need to get some of my “stuff” business. πŸ™‚

  5. Gretchen, this cake looks amazing. I will definitely be trying this one. Is this the same chocolate cake recipe you used in your checkerboard cake and will you be doing a video in how to make your checkerboard cake again?

  6. Dear Gretchen, you inspire me so much.

    I started baking about a year ago and ran into your swiss buttercream recipe.
    I have tried tons of buttercream recipe but yours is obviously the best!
    I want to thank you for your amazing recipes and awesome videos. I can tell that you love
    what you do and you are obviously very good at it!

    For a novice baker like me you are truly an inspiration, I fell in love with your videos and
    reading your post is definitely a highlight of my day.

    πŸ™‚ Just wanted to tell you how awesome you are, Lots of love!


    1. wow, best message all day! Thankyou so much this really made me smile! I am so happy you too have found your passion in baking (yes its mine, and you can tell! LOL)

  7. How can or where can I get your recipe for petite fours and the icing you used to pour over??
    I had the vedio and it just vanished…….help help Ron

    1. Hi Ron, my entire business just vanished, so that is why you cannot find most of what you are familiar with. Im working very hard to get all the recipes re-blogged a& videos refilmed, but in the meantime many of the most popular recipes are at my Gretchens Bakery facebook page in PHOTOS and also there are so many people who
      have saved the recipes and can share with you right away! Just ask on the main page! Thanks!

      AS for the petit four, well it is really any cake recipe you like to use (I used the pound cake last time adn that one is posted to FB photos in an album called most popular recipes) with a filling of buttercream and then poured fondant icing:
      White Poured Fondant Icing
      Yield 1 Qt of Icing
      Confectioners Sugar 9cups (1080g)
      Corn Syrup or Glucose Syrup warmed in the microwave 1/2 c (120ml)
      White Merckens Coins 4oz (112g)
      Almond Extract or any Extract 2tsp optional
      Water Warm 1/2 c – 1 cup adjust consisitency for desired result

      Mix Method:
      Place the sifted confectioners sugar (and cocoa powder if you are making the chocolate variation) in the bowl of your Kitchen Aid Mixer with the paddle attachment.
      Add the warmed corn syrup and the melted chocolate all at once, and continue to mix smooth.
      Add the warm water starting with a half cup first, then add more to adjust to your desired consistency.
      Add extract of your choice and food color as desired.

  8. Hi Gretchen, this cake looks incredible, I just want to ask you a couple questions:

    1- is this the chocolate buttermilk cake?
    2- if so can I substitute buttermilk for just milk?
    3- and finally can I turn this recipe into a three milk black forest cake?
    or will you share a three milk cake recipe in the future cuz’ I love three milk cakes (pastel tres leches) and I really want to learn how to make them.

    Thank You for sharing your recipes love them all : )

    1. HI Thanks! Yes it is the chocolate buttermilk cake, and if you use regular milk I would like you to add 1 teaspoon vinegar to it to help the reaction with the soda
      Ihave not yet does Tres Leches, but I am not so sure how you would incroporate that recipe into this one? I think it will be verrrrry sogggy!

    1. The adult version recipe is straight up cherries poached in kirshwasser simple syrup (like 1 cup Kirsh : 1 Cup simple) then the cake layers are soaked with same liquor.
      There are many variation floating the internet for this authentic version

  9. Wonderful Cake!
    Missing the chocolate shavings on the whole of outside of cake. It’s just the way I’ve seen all Black forest cakes all my life and trust me I’ve seen a lot as every birthday I get this favourite.

    Wish I could try yours looks way more delicious.

  10. Hi Gretchen,
    Made dis cake(without rum since had few kids too) for a get together yest n omg it was sooo good.. Exact ua way except d decoration part.
    Thanks a ton.

  11. Dear Gretchen,
    you are such a sweet person shering your recipes to us. I always like to add butter for cakes instead of oil. but the problem is refrigerating and serving. Now my doubt is in India for black forest cake all use sponge cakes with very little melted butter or oil for the base or genoise sponge. add lot of syrup to make it moist. So if we use a butter cake will it be spongy and will it be difficult to serve when cold.
    thanks for all your services. God bless you.

  12. Hi Gretchen,
    I’m so happy to know your website.
    I’ve tried your Buttercream recipe and I haven’t used any other buttercream since.
    I live in a very hot country, I’m not sure if the whipped cream would hold outside the refrigerator for up to 4hours, is it okay to use the buttercream recipe for the Black Forest Cake?
    Thank you!

  13. Hi gretchn’s
    Thank you so much for the prompt reply yesterday. Really appretiate it.
    I have one more question, what can i substitute for kirsch in blackforest cake?
    Rum, vodka or almond extract or anyother? If so, then in what proportion?
    Thank you

    1. You can add a pinch of almond extract, but there really is no other alcohol that matches the Kirsh- it is a very subtle addition and very unique. However you can use a light fruit brandy like pear as a substitution

  14. Hi Gretchen! I love your recipes and I have been using them for over two years.

    Quick question. Is it possible to freeze this cake (in its finished, decorated form)? I know I have bought frozen cakes filled with whipped cream which were ready to eat after defrosting but they might have had some additives. So is it possible to freeze whipped cream without it turning into a soup later? Or are there better fillings (apart from obvious buttercream) I could do that with?

    Thank you!
    And I love your new website and channel! πŸ˜€

    1. HI Thanks! I appreciate the support!
      I wouldnt advise to freeze a whipped cream cake, mostly because it will get a bit dried out and the whipped cream (in my opinion) gets sort of chalky tasting
      Those cakes in the supermarkets are using a non dairy whipped topping, not real whipped cream and why they are more freeze stable!

  15. Hi Gretchen! Since it doesn’t seem to be cherry season right now, could I use frozen cherries? Do you think they would affect the outcome of the cake?

    1. I just had a comment from another viewer who said she used frozen and they had NO TASTE! Now Im not sure if it was the brand or what, but you may do better with canned for now

  16. Hi Gretchen. Is it normal for the cherry compote to be tasting a little sour/tangy?
    I’m using frozen pitted cherries.


    1. That will depend on how your fruit tasted in the beginning, if they were sour tart cherries then yep, that’s what you end with. Making compotes and purees is best not to stick to a recipe by exacts but taste the fruit, see how it is, you may need more sugar, less sugar, No sugar. Nature is a mystery

  17. When I make Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte for office events where we cannot have alcoholic food or drink, I use brandy extract to approximate the flavor of Kirsch. I found it works out quite well in conjunction with good canned sour cherries or Schattenmorellen, their juice thickened with arrowroot starch.

  18. can i use swiss meringue buttercream outside of the cake in order to make it pretier for a birthday party??

  19. Hi Gretchen,
    The buttermilk chocolate cake recipe is for 2x 8 inch pans, and it calls for 3 layers would you advise to me to put 2/3 of the cake batter in one cake tin and split that in two, and 1/3 in the other. I don’t want to double the recipe and have left over batter. Or put all of the batter in one 8inch pan and cut in 3 layers, as cooking time would need to be adjusted?

    1. Ah yes, the confusing 3 layer cake (and why I changed to 7″ cake pans recently) but I like your 2/3 1/3 idea! OR just go 2- thick 8″ layers and then torte them to give you a 4 layer black forest cake! Stunning!

  20. Hi Gretchen,
    I’m from Australia and I can only seem to fined processed Dutch cocoa. Is raw Cacao same as natural cocoa. I’m getting confused because it’s spelt differently.

  21. I love all your recipes and thank you for sharing. but what I need to know is did you torte the chocolate cake for this recipe because I can’t imagine that each layer of this cake is 2 inches tall.

  22. Your Black Forest cake looks and sounds delicious… My question is, do you deliver or mail or have a store in the Houston area?
    I would so much like to buy this cake from you… I am not much of a baker and it is my husband’s favorite and so hard to find.
    Thank you, Chrisy Herren

  23. Hi Gretchen

    I want to make this Black Forest cake as a 10 inch layer cake. Should I double the recipe or 1 and 1/2? How long should I bake it?

    Thanks a lot

  24. When I made the stabilized whipping cream this time it left geletin chunks in it. I used a hand mixer this time which slowed things down,,,,,,, did I wait too long to add it?

  25. Hi Gretchen . I have no words to express my heartfelt thanks to you for giving us auch awesome recipes. I tried your black forest cake last week for my sons second birthday and shaped it very comfortably in a number 2 figure cake. It was A BIG HIT!

    I also tried your ferrero rocher hazelnut cake yesterday and we were all head over heels on that as well.

    I have 2 questions, its my daughters birthday next month n she wants a doll cake , so can you suggest which of your cakes i should make to hold the shape ?

    Also could you possibly tell me a few recipes with which i can use my leftover ganache ?

      1. Hi Gretchen,

        I askes you for a cake recipe for my daughters requested doll cake. You suggested white cake . But i thibk my family just cant get enough of the 2 chocolaty cakes that i tried of yours , namely black forest cake n ferrero rocher truffle cake and insiist on making the cake chocolate flavour . Can you please suggest a recipe i could make the doll cake , in chocolate flavour ? Thanks a ton

        Also could you please share your email address so i can share with yitu the photos of the cakes that i made . I would love your reviews on it !!!!!

  26. Hi Gretchen
    I tried ur Black Forest cake, and it was awesome, everyone loved the taste, but looks like I made some mistake and ended up getting a hard base cake, rest all was fine. First thing I added the whole batter into a 9inch cake pan n baked, it took lil longer time but was done and Shrinked later, I cut it into 3 layers.
    second thing I only had a blend of Dutch process cocoa powder n natural cocoa, I added it n skipped salt n baking soda, and added some baking powder.
    Now can u tell me where did I go wrong ? Rest all was fine, I’m still having the cake , jus that the chocolate buttermilk cake got hard.

    1. While the switch to baking powder from soda may be fine in some recipe, this one os a bit touchy when it comes to dutch process and natural and then switching the leaveners as you did. The other problem could have been putting all the batter into 1 pan, it’s quite alot of batter for just 1 pan.
      Always best to follow the recipes exactly as written for best results (the blend of dutch and natural would have been OK to stick to the recipe as written) I hope you try again to make sure this is indeed the problem

      1. Hi Gretchen. Thanku so much for your quick reply, that helps a lot. i replied long back but looks like it din update or there some problem, thanks again

  27. Hi Gretchen,
    Thanks for the superb recipe. I always like to use butter. Not oil for cakes.
    My problem is when I make whipped cream cake we have to keep in fridge. Since it is very hot in here. So if we keep this cake in fridge with the frosting will the cake be too hard. Please advice.

    1. I understnad, I have never had trouble with this recipe despite it being whipped cream and served right out of the refrigerator

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