If there’s one dessert that perfectly pairs chocolate and cherries, it’s black forest cake. A rich layering of chocolate cake, kirsch filling and homemade whipped cream frosting make this delicious dessert a family favorite! Also known as Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, this German-inspired recipe is easy to bake and perfect for celebrating special occasions!
This decadent dessert is named after the Black Forest mountain region in southwestern Germany but its origin is actually a bit more obscure. The name actually refers to a specialty liquor called kirschwasser that is distilled from tart cherries. It is this distinctive cherry-flavored spirit that gives this cake its unique flavor. If you would like to make this cake without alcohol, you can easily substitute with store-bought cherry juice.
The traditional Black Forest Cake is made with a few layers of light chocolate cake with a thick layer of creamy kirsch-flavored whipped cream between each. It is then topped with a generous amount of dark chocolate shavings and maraschino cherries for a truly special treat! While this dessert is usually served as a layer cake, you can also enjoy it as a gateau or torte.
This classic recipe is very simple to make and the whipped cream frosting can be made ahead of time, making it a great choice for entertaining! The light whipped frosting is not only refreshing but it also compliments the dark cherries and rich chocolate cake perfectly. It is a lighter version of a buttercream frosting and it can be sweetened to taste, depending on how much cherry syrup you add.
To make the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. It is important not to overbeat the whipped cream or it will become stiff and dry. It is also important to use chilled ingredients to prevent the whipped cream from melting too quickly. If you want to prepare the whipped cream ahead of time, wait until you are ready to assemble the cake and refrigerate it.
For the chocolate cake, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition. The batter will turn out slightly lumpy but that is okay.
To assemble the cake, divide the batter evenly between two 8 or 9 inch round pans. Bake the cakes according to the recipe directions. Cool the cakes completely before removing them from the pans.
Once the cakes are cooled, spread a layer of whipped cream between each of the layers. Then, top the cake with the remaining whipped cream and cherries. To serve, place the cake in a decorative cake dome or cloche and garnish with additional whipped cream and cherry slices for a beautiful presentation.
If you’re looking for even more cake inspiration, check out our Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe and our White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe! These desserts are sure to impress your friends and family at any dinner party or gathering.