Four chocolate layers filled with vanilla and brandy mousse, studded with Morello cherries and ganache drizzled over. Everyone needs their version of Black Forest Cake. Here is mine and I hope it will becomes yours as well!
If you are a chocoholic like me, take a look at my Honeycomb Crunch Chocolate Cake.
It’s no secret that cake is my favourite dessert and I like making my own. I don’t bake very often but when I do I make sure it’s something very special. The cake category on this website is quite extensive. So many different flavours to choose from. Which one is your favourite?
This Black Forest Cake is my husband’s favourite and he usually requests it for his birthday. It’s an easy enough cake to bake, so I am happy to oblige.
I never cared for the store bought versions of the Black Forest Cake for two reasons; artificial taste of chocolate layers and the electric red of maraschino cherries.
I didn’t grow up in North America and prefer more subtle flavours. I also love cakes that are not too sweet.
However, the cake is actually German and I know I LOVE German cakes. They are just the right combination of rich and decadent without being overly sweet. A small piece goes a long way!
My version of Black Forest is plenty traditional. Dark. Boozy. Delicious.
What is Black Forest Cake
This cake consists of four chocolate layers, which are filled with vanilla and brandy flavoured whipped cream. The filling is studded with Morello cherries, the original Maraschino cherries before they turned bright red in America. The top is glazed with chocolate ganache.
I am also happy to tell you that the cake is incredible easy to make. This is how you do it.
How To Make It At Home
Lucky for us this famous cake is not difficult to make. All you have to do is to bake two chocolate sponge cakes. And I am using my fail proof chocolate cake recipe here.
Then split them in two. This way you get 4 thin layers filled with stabilized whipped cream, which is flavoured with vanilla and brandy
The photo guide belows will show you exactly how I did it.
How To Decorate It
Classically the cake is decorated with whipped cream rosettes, which are topped with fresh or maraschino cherries. I’ve followed the tradition and added a few personal touches as well.
I am not sure why but I’ve always thought of Black Forest Cake as a Christmas cake. I think the Black Forest itself, and all the woodland creatures, make me think of Christmas.
So I decorated it along those lines by sticking wooden Christmas tree cutouts to the sides of the cake. The little tree are gift tags that I purchased earlier.
If you’ve never decorated a cake before, here is a great resource to consult. Cake Decorating for Beginners from The Best Cake Recipes.
What sets this Black Forest Cake recipe apart from all the others is amarena cherries. Amarena cherries come from Italy (you can see them in the collage above) are demi-glacé cherries in a delicious syrup made with the sour cherry variety! You can buy them in an Italian deli or online.
I brushed chocolate cake layers with a combination of Amarena cherry syrup and a splash of brandy. The result is nothing short of divine. That little extra step takes the cake to a new level!
More chocolate cake recipes:
- Christmas Chocolate Cake with Cranberries
- Black and White Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Compote
- Malted Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Truffle Cake
This recipe was originally published in 12/2013. Updated and republished in 12/2020.
For the Cake
- 220g/1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 300g/1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
- 90g/3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs large
- 250ml/1 cup whole milk or 2%
- 125ml/ ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla
For the filling
- 600ml/2 ½ cups heavy cream/double cream
- 100g/1/2 cup icing sugar
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 tsp gelatine
- 3 tbsp water
- 250g/1 cup cherries from Amarena cherry conserve chopped
- 70ml/1/4 cup Amarena cherry syrup
- 2 tbsp brandy
For Chocolate Ganache
- 125ml/1/2 cup heavy cream/double cream
- 125g/3/4 cup dark chocolate
- 8 fresh cherries
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. In a large mixing bowl combine sifted flour and cocoa, sugar, baking powder and baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into two 8" pans. Bake at 350F/180C for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- In a 250ml/1 cup glass measuring cup combine cold water and gelatin. Let stand for 2 minutes. Place measuring cup in a microwave and heat for 15 seconds until gelatine is completely dissolved.
- Run a sharp knife along the length of a vanilla bean, open it and with a blade of a knife scrape out the seeds.
- In a large mixing bowl beat whipping cream, icing sugar, vanilla bean seeds and brandy with an electric mixer on medium speed while gradually drizzling gelatin mixture over cream mixture. Continue beating cream mixture until stiff peaks form. (Adding gelatine to the filling gives it more stability.)
- Cut each cake layer horizontally in two. You will have 4 layers. Brush the cake layers with the mixture of cherry syrup and brandy.
- Fill the cake with the vanilla cream filling and chopped morello cherries. Leave ¼ of the whipped cream for the sides and the top. Cover the sides and the top of the cake with the whipping cream.
To make the ganache
- Heat ½ cup of whipping cream in a saucepan and take off the heat just when it's about to come to a boil. Pour over chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then stir.
- Drizzle chocolate ganache over the edge of the cake. Pipe rosettes and decorate with fresh cherries. Sprinkle grated chocolate on top of the cake.
- Chill in the fridge for the mousse filling and chocolate ganache to set. Keep refrigerated.