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Feb 20, 2022

Easy Black Forest Cake

This easy black forest cake is the perfect combination of chocolate cake, sweetened whipped cream, plus cherries cooked in cherry liqueur or brandy.

Black forest cake on a plate.

This black forest cake, or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, is an adaptation of the German dessert made with lots of layers of chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream, and cherries topped with shaved chocolate. 

Typically, there are also bright red maraschino cherries decorating the top of the cake too. And, of course, if you call this by it's German name, you must include kirschwasser in the cherry mixture.... at least if you are in Germany and don't want to fall afoul of the German food police. 

My liquor cabin is pretty well stocked, but I do not have any kirschwasser, so I cheated and used brandy. The results were still delicious. In fact, we used these cherries for serving the cake, at breakfast over yogurt and oatmeal, and over ice cream.

Cherrie pie filling.

One of the reasons this black forest cake is easy is because you make the cake itself in a Pullman pan and keep it separate from the whipped cream and the cherries until you are ready to serve the dessert. 

If you assemble the cake all at once, you have to keep it in the refrigerator, which can stale the cake crumb itself, plus, the cake will only last a day or two. That's fine if you are serving it for a party, but not so good when there are only two of you. 

P.S. The cake itself is probably the best chocolate cake I have ever made. I'm serious. It's moist, dense but still light, and it stays fresh at room temperature for days. I can't say enough good things about it. 

Easy Black Forest Cake bite on a fork.

How to Make the Chocolate Cake

This cake is a Devil's Food Cake made with Dutch process cocoa, brewed coffee, buttermilk, eggs, brandy, a good amount of sugar, and oil rather than butter. I like to use grapeseed oil because it is very neutral, but any vegetable oil will work. 

The batter for this cake is very liquidy, which will make you question whether or not you've made a mistake. Rest assured, you didn't. 

You don't need a mixer to make this cake. You just need three bowls plus the baking pan. 

First, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. I'm amazed at how dark the final cake looked after seeing this mixture. 

Easy Black Forest Cake dry ingredients.

Next, mix together some strong hot coffee and brandy in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. 

While you can brew your own hot coffee, I used instant espresso powder to make the coffee for this cake. 

Easy Black Forest Cake coffee and brandy in a measuring cup.

In another bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. 

Easy Black Forest Cake wet ingredients in a bowl.

Once you have each of the three bowls mixed, combine the bowls into the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth. 

Pour everything into the Pullman pan for baking. Note: You can also bake this cake in two 8-inch round cake pans for a layer cake or into 24 cupcakes. 

Bake the cake for about 70 minutes (30 minutes for cake rounds, 20 minutes for cupcakes), until a tester comes out clean. 

Easy Black Forest Cake baked in a pullman pan.

The cake rose quite a bit in the oven, to the point that some of the batter spilled over the top onto the bottom of the oven. Fortunately, I caught it and placed a baking sheet under the pan before too much spilled. There were also a few darkened bits of cake on top, which I shaved off with a knife when the cake cooled. 

Once the cake is done, let it cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. It will sink a bit, but not too much. 

Turn the cake out onto a plate and use a serrated knife to slice off any blackened or uneven bits on top of the cake. 

Easy Black Forest Cake baked.

Even if you don't make the cherries or whipped cream, make this chocolate cake. It is phenomenal. 

Finishing the Cake:

While the cake cooled, I made the sweetened whipped cream and the cherry filling. 

For the cherry filling, I used frozen dark cherries, brandy, sugar, and cornstarch. You could also use fresh dark sweet cherries when they are in season. Frozen cherries are fabulous, especially since they are already pitted. 

Black forest cake cherries in a bowl.

To serve this cake, slice it into thin slices and layer it with whipped cream and the cherries. 

Keep the cake, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature. Keep the whipped cream and the cherries in the refrigerator for up to four days. 

Cake slice bakers logo

Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoē François. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th we all post about our cake on our blogs!

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the links below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

Zoe Bakes Cakes Cover Art.

Our choices for February 2022 were ~

Chocolate Devils Food Cake

Black Forest Cake
Karen's Kitchen Stories

Easy Black Forest Cake serving.

Easy Black Forest Cake

Easy Black Forest Cake
Yield: 16 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 1 H & 10 MTotal time: 2 H & 10 M
This easy black forest cake is the perfect combination of chocolate cake, sweetened whipped cream, and cherries cooked in cherry liqueur or brandy.


For the Cake
  • 280 grams (2 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 50 grams (2/3 cup) Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups strong hot coffee
  • 2 tablespoons rum or brandy (I used brandy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • To assemble the cake you will also need sweetened whipped cream from 2 cups whipping cream, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla whipped together into stiff peaks.
For the Cherries
  • 550 grams (4 cups) frozen or fresh sweet dark pitted cherries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons kirschwasser or brandy
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch


To Make the Cake and the Whipped Cream
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a nine-inch Pullman pan with parchment paper. Spray with spray oil. Alternatively, spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with spray oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the coffee and brandy.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
  5. Pour the egg mixture and half of the coffee mixture into the flour mixture and gently mix until combined. Add the rest of the coffee mixture and mix to combine.
  6. Pour the mixture into the pan and smack the pan down onto the counter top to let out any extra bubbles. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 70 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (30 minutes for cake pans and 20 minutes for 24 cupcakes).
  7. Cool completely in the pan.
  8. Meanwhile, whip together the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until you have stiff peaks.
To Make the Cherry Filling
  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the cherries, water, and liqueur over medium low heat and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes for frozen cherries and 15 minutes for fresh cherries.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch.
  3. Strain the cherries through a fine mesh sieve, saving the juice in one bowl and the cherries in another.
  4. Return the juices to the saucepan. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and cook over medium until boiling. Cook for about 3 minutes until thickened and shiny. Add the cherries back to the pan and cook for another 30 seconds.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool while the cake is baking.
  6. You can store the filling for up to four days in the refrigerator.
To Assemble the Cake Servings
  1. Slice the cake into 1/2 inch slices. Place a slice on a serving plate, spread with the whipped cream, and top with some cherries.
  2. Repeat with a second layer.

Nutrition Facts



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Would you like to comment?

  1. I was so tempted to make this cake and now, hearing your description, I am so glad that I didn't because I would have just kept picking at it and eating it until it was gone. I have absolutely no self control LOL.

    1. Every time I walked by I'd take a little slice, you know, "just a little...."

  2. I may have to make this cake this week since I have a jar of cherries just waiting to be used!

  3. This looks phenomenal! I made my daughter a Black Forest cake two years ago for her birthday and at her request made chocolate whipped cream to go on it. I am absolutely going to try your version this summer.

    1. Oooh, chocolate whipped cream sounds amazing..... Thanks Heather!

  4. I'm gonna make those cherries and put them on everything I eat! Looks great.

  5. Oh my word, the cherries, the fluff, the cake! It was all so delicious!

  6. Your cake looks exceptional! Still no cherries here, so as soon as I see some I can't wait to try this.


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