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Best Ever Black Forest Cake

This Black Forest Cake is a decadent chocolate and cherry cake with Chantilly cream, soaked in cherry liqueur. Topped with ganache and cherries!

Black Forest Cake - close up of the inside of a cake

My version of this classic German cherry chocolate cake, also known as ‘Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte’ has all the things you love about the traditional cake, except my version is just a little different with even more cherry flavor!

Black Forest Cake - side by side

Soft chocolate sponge soaked in cherry liqueur, layered with Chantilly Cream, a deliciously spreadable cherry sauce, covered in easy to make chocolate curls and my one-bowl chocolate sauce!

By the way, if you’re looking for more delicious cake recipes check out my Red Velvet Cake, Strawberry Cake and one of my all time faves, Hazelnut Chocolate Cake!

What is a Black Forest Cake?

First off, this isn’t your classic German Black Forest Cake. It’s just my version, but all the elements are there! All the delicious things you love about this classic German Cake, just shuffled around and made a little differently. In my opinion, better!

You get all the things you love about Black Forest cake:

  • Chocolate sponge – I worked on developing the softest chocolate sponge cake and I’m super happy to finally share it!
  • Chantilly Cream – soft, but stiff enough to pipe and hold the weight of the cake.
  • Cherry sauce – instead of soaked cherries. I decided to make this into a sauce because the cherry flavor is stronger. Plus, the texture is really nice.
  • Chocolate Sauce – I love the additional of my one-bowl chocolate sauce because it just intensified the rich chocolate flavor of this cake.
  • Rich Cherry Flavor – from the cherry sauce, cherry liqueur, and the cherries on top!

Black Forest Cake - slice of cake held up on a cake serving spatula

Let’s talk sponge cake

Black Forest Cake - side by side 2

I developed this cake over two days. I wanted something really soft, something that worked and something that wasn’t overly sweet but had a rich chocolate, cocoa flavor. 4 batches of testing later and we have a really soft cake that stays soft for days! Especially when it’s soaked with the simple syrup in this recipe. I have a vanilla one coming up, but you can grab it in this Strawberry Cake!

Ingredients You Need To Make Black Forest Cake

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Jump to Recipe

Black Forest Cake - ingredients 01

Cherry Filling

  • Cherries – for this recipe I used a mixture of canned cherries and fresh cherries. I used the canned cherries to make the sauce and used the juice in the jar to make the sauce too. This is different from canned cherries in syrup which I would not recommend using. I used fresh cherries on top. You can use frozen or fresh cherries to make the sauce and you can use maraschino cherries to top this cake. If using fresh cherries, make sure you pit them using a cherry pitter.
  • Water – or the juice from the jarred cherries.
  • Corn starch – also known as corn flour. This is used to thicken the sauce.
  • Sugar – I used granulated sugar for the cherry filling.
  • Salt – I used fine salt.
  • Kirsch – this is a cherry liqueur. It helps intensify this cake and make it a little naughty. No, you will not get drunk eating this cake but if you don’t want to or can’t use the liqueur, you can leave it out.

Simple Syrup

This is just made up of kirsch (optional), water and sugar. Boil them together and then cool completely before using.

Black Forest Cake - ingredients 02

Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • All-purpose flour – I tested this with cake flour, disaster. It needs the strength of all-purpose flour also known as plain flour.
  • Cocoa powder – I used unsweetened natural cocoa powder. Make sure you sift your cocoa powder before using.
  • Baking powder – helps this cake rise.
  • Salt – I used fine salt.
  • Eggs – make sure your eggs are at room temperature before using. When separating, make sure you don’t get any egg yolks in the whites. I like to separate them in a small bowl before adding it into the separate mixing bowls.
  • Cream of tartare – this is an acidic powder found in the baking isle of your supermarket which helps stabilize your eggs whites as you whip them to stop them from deflating or overwhipping.
  • Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar is the best sugar to use for the cake. It dissolves into the egg whites quicker without overwhipping your eggs.
  • Warm water – just warm out of the tap.
  • Vanilla extract – don’t use alcohol based vanilla extracts for this recipe as it can cause your meringue and eggs to deflate.


For more info on the ingredients for the Chocolate Curls, click here. For the Chocolate Sauce recipe, click here. You can grab my Chantilly Cream Recipe here.

How to make Black Forest Cake!

Cherry Filling

Black Forest Cake - steps 01

  1. Mix the corn starch and 1/2 the cherry juice (or water) together.
  2. Chop up your cherries.
  3. Add to a large pot with sugar, remaining water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add corn starch slurry while mixing.
  5. Mix until the mixture goes clear and thickens. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside and allow to cool.

Simple Syrup

Black Forest Cake - steps 02

  1. Add all the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. When the sugar is dissolved, take off the heat and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Black Forest Cake - steps 03

  1. Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder to a bowl. Mix together.
  2. To a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar while slowly adding the sugar.
  3. Until you reach a thick and glossy meringue.
  4. In a aspirate bowl add the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract until you reach a nice thick and pale mixture. This will take about 7-8 minutes.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mixture and fold through gently.
  6. Add the egg whites in three batches and fold through gently.

Black Forest Cake - steps 04

  1. Oil the bottom of your cake tin (not the sides). Line with baking paper.
  2. Divide the batter between the cake tins. Bake
  3. Allow to cool in the tins once baked.
  4. Loosen from the tin using a sharp knife.
  5. Trim the very tops off the cakes and then trim in half. You’ll have 4 cake layers all up.

Let’s Decorate!

Black Forest Cake - steps 05

  1. Add some Chantilly cream on the bottom of your serving plate or cake board and spread.
  2. Add the first cake layer.
  3. Brush with cooled simple syrup.
  4. Add a thin layer of cream.
  5. Pipe a ring of cream on top.
  6. Fill with 1/3 of the cherry sauce.

Black Forest Cake - steps 06

  1. Add the next layer of cake on top. Repeat this until all cake layers are on.
  2. Cover the top and sides of the cake with cream. Make sure you have enough to pipe swirls on top of the cake.
  3. Pipe a ring of cream on top to hold the chocolate sauce.
  4. Cover the sides of the cake with chocolate curls.
  5. Cover the top with a thin layer of chocolate sauce.

Black Forest Cake - steps 07

  1. Add swirls of cream on top of the cake.
  2. Decorate with fresh cherries or maraschino cherries.

Black Forest Cake - curls, choc and cream

Chocolate Curls – I have a great tutorial on how to make chocolate curls here.

Chocolate Sauce – I have an easy one-bowl chocolate sauce recipe here!

Chantilly Cream – I have a great recipe on the blog! Grab it here!

Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • Keep it moist! – keeping your cake layers moist using simple syrup is key to make sure your cake doesn’t dry out, although my chocolate sponge cake is already pretty moist.
  • Use high quality ingredients – this cake relies on good quality ingredients for great tasting results.
  • Measure your ingredients properly! The best way to do this is by using kitchen scales and not cup measurements. Specifically for the sponge cake! I know I’ve included the cup measurements; I’ve done that purely for people who refuse to use kitchen scales, but if you’re serious about getting the best results, grab yourself a pair of kitchen scales.
  • Trim your cakes to get flat, even looking cake layers. I used a cake leveler, but you can use a serrated knife.
  • Chill before serving – it’s so nice served chilled and holds it shape much better too. Plus, the cream needs to be kept cold to be safe to eat.
  • Make sure the sauce isn’t warm when you put it on top of the cream.
  • I wrapped my cake tins in cake tin strips. These help the cake rise nice and flat. You soak them in water and wrap your cake tins with them before adding the batter. Optional, but I like to do it.
  • If using fresh or frozen cherries to make the sauce – make sure you pit the cherries. For the sauce, you’ll need to use water. To make the sauce a cherry color, use some food gel coloring. 2 drops of red and one drop of purple. This is optional.
  • When preparing your cake tins, oil the bottom only. Not the sides. You want the cake to stick to the side of the tin to retain its shape as it cools.

Frequently Asked Questions about Black Forest Cake

How do I store this?

You can store this in the fridge for up to three days.

Can I use fresh or frozen cherries for the sauce?

Yes! I used canned cherries for the sauce because fresh cherries are super expensive where I am. I bought a small batch of them to top the cake with, but if you have access to lots of fresh cherries you can use them to make the sauce. You will need to pit them using a cherry pitter. You can also use frozen cherries to make the sauce too. No need to thaw them. However, because of the added moisture level, you may need to add a tbsp extra of corn starch.

Why is the sauce thickened using corn starch?

I decided to use corn starch, also known as corn flour to thicken the sauce to make it spreadable. In my opinion, the sauce gives the cake a stronger cherry flavor than adding soaked cherries. Without the corn starch, the sauce will not thicken. Alternatively, you can skip making the sauce and make this cake in the traditional way: Soaked Cherries.

Soaked Cherries

  • 3 cups (600g) fresh or canned cherries, pitted
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp kirsch (cherry liqueur)

Soaked Cherries

  1. To prepare the cherries you’ll need a cherry pitter. Make sure your cherries are washed and dried, then pit them using a cherry pitter. Place into a large mixing bowl along with the sugar and kirsch and fold through. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Once soaked, add the soaked cherries to the cake once the cream has been added in each layer.

Is this cake gluten free?

No. This cake has flour. I haven’t tested it using gluten free flour, but if you do, let me know how it went and I’ll add notes to this section!

How long does this cake last for?

This cake lasts for 3 days in the fridge.

Can I freeze Black Forest Cake?

Technically, yes, but the problem is the cream. Cream doesn’t freeze and thaw well. It will likely split which is why I wouldn’t recommend freezing this cake. You can certainly freeze the cake if you’re making it ahead of time. Wrap each cake tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw completely before using.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of this cake?

Yes! This cake is loaded with Kirsch, a cherry liqueur to intensify the cherry flavor but you can leave it out altogether.

Gave this a go? Don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Hungry for more? Join me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok for more great recipes!

Here’s some of my favorite cake recipes!

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @thescranline on Facebook and Instagram!

Black Forest Cake - thumbnail image

Black Forest Cake

This Black Forest Cake is a decadent chocolate and cherry cake with Chantilly cream, soaked in cherry liqueur. Topped with ganache and cherries!

Serves 12

4.7 from 56 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Cool: 2 minutes
Total: 4 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Calories: 724kcal


Cherry Filling

  • 2 cups (400 g) jarred cherries in juice (not syrup) pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water or jar juice divided
  • 8 tbsp corn starch/flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (315 g) granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 3 tbsp kirsch cherry liqueur
  • 1 drop purple food gel optional
  • 2 drops red food gel optional

Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (105 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp kirsch

Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • 1 cup (150 g) all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) cocoa powder sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 large eggs room temperature and divided
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup (210 g) caster sugar divided
  • 3 tbsp warm water just above room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 fresh cherries or maraschino cherries to decorate

Chantilly Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) heavy cream cold (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup (65 g) powdered sugar sifted (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 g) mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract see notes
  • 1 tbsp kirsch


  • 1 cup (200 g) chocolate shavings (see notes)
  • 1/2 batch Chocolate Sauce


Cherry Filling

  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup(125ml) of the cherry juice or water and corn starch and use a whisk to combine. Set aside. If using water, add the food color (optional) at this point and mix until evenly mixed in.
  • Chop the cherries into small pieces and add half to a large saucepan along with the sugar, remaining cherry juice (or water), lemon juice and salt. Set the other half aside for later. Stir continuously and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Then lower to medium heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Add the corn starch mixture, purple and red food gel (optional) and stir through until the mixture turns glossy and thickens. Stir for another 2 minutes then turn the heat off and add the remaining cherries and the kirsch. Stir through and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool at room temperature. This mixture can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

Simple Syrup

  • Add the sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, take off the heat and add the kirsch. Mix and set aside to cool completely before using.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • Preheat a fan forced oven to 150C / 300F (conventional oven to 170C / 340F). Spray only the bottom (not sides) of two 8-inch cake tins with oil spray and line the bottom with baking paper.
  • To a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • To a separate large bowl add the egg whites and cream of tartar. Use an electric hand beater to whisk until frothy. Slowly add 1/2 cup (105g) of the sugar while the mixer is on high speed. Once all the sugar has been added continue mixing for 90 seconds. The mixture will thicken and become glossy. Take care not to overwhip the mixture otherwise it will result in large air bubbles in your cake.
  • To a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, remaining sugar, water, and vanilla extract and use your electric hand mixer to whip until pale, thickened, and creamy, about 5 minutes. The mixture should fall off in ribbons when you lift the beaters.
  • Sift 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture and use a spatula to fold through. Then repeat with another 1/3 of the dry ingredients until all of it is combined. Take care not to overmix.
  • Add half the meringue and gently fold through with a spatula. Then add the other half and repeat.
  • Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake in the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once baked, allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before carefully running a knife around the sides to release them. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Whipped Cream

  • Add all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl (glass or metal, not plastic) and use an electric hand mixer fitted with beaters or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whip until you reach stiff peaks. This usually takes about 3 - 4 minutes to achieve. What you’re looking for is a smooth but stiff whipped cream, not one that looks split. If it looks split or separated, congratulations, you’re on your way to making butter! Once finished, fold through the kirsch (optional)

Let’s build and decorate!

  • Add your first layer of cake to your serving plate. Brush with simple syrup and add about 1/4 cup of Chantilly cream. Fit the end of a piping bag with an open star tip and pipe a tube of frosting around the top of the cream. Add 1/3 of the cherry mixture and spread evenly using a spoon. Then add the next layer of cake and repeat until all cake has been laid on.
  • For the top of the cake repeat this process but add chocolate sauce instead of cherry filling. Coat the sides of the cake with cream. You should have cream left over to pipe on top of the cake. Spread the cream around the sides of the cake as evenly as you can. Stick the chocolate shavings around the sides of the cake.
  • To finish, pipe swirls of cream on top of the cake and add cherries on top.


Cream - make sure you use cream labelled heavy cream for this recipe. Whipping cream will work but won’t be as stiff as heavy cream. Low fat cream will not work.
Powdered sugar - I don’t like my cream too sweet, but if you like yours on the sweeter side you can use up to 1/2 cup. Make sure you sift it!
Mascarpone - is an Italian cheese that is similar in flavor to sour cream, but more creamy and less sour. Opt in for a better brand one as they tend to be thicker and make sure it’s cold straight out of the fridge! 
Vanilla - I have a great recipe for Vanilla extract here on the blog which is alcohol based. It can be used for most recipes. However, I would advise against using it for whipped creams (yes, even stabilized ones like this one) or meringues as it can muck around with the air whipped in the mixtures. Instead use a syrup based vanilla extract. I find vanilla bean paste is best.
Chocolate Shavings - For the chocolate shavings I used dark cooking chocolate. Melt it, pour it and use a spoon to shave it when it’s almost completely set but still slightly soft.
 Storage - Cake layers (undecorated) can be wrapped tightly in plastic and stored in a cool, dark, dry place at room temperature for up to three days before using. The finished and decorated cake can be store in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to three days.
Nutrition - is based on per slice. This cake makes 12 slices.
A note on measurements - all ingredients in this recipe are offered in Australian cup measurements and weight measurements. Weight measurements are created by me, in my kitchen here in Melbourne Australia. The best way to get recipe success is to measure ingredients by weight, using kitchen scales.


Calories : 724kcal
Carbonhydrates: 76g
Protein: 12g
Fat: 36g
Saturated Fat: 21g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 7g
Trans Fat : 0.02g
Cholesterol: 218mg
Sodium: 152mg
Potassium : 372mg
Fiber: 4g
Sugar : 49g
Vitamin A: 1369IU
Vitamin C: 4mg
Calcium: 118mg
Iron: 3mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!

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box of cake August 13, 2021 - 6:25 am

5 stars
really i appreciate, you made and guide properly regarding cake recipe now i want to try this recipe pictures also looking very awesome

Nick Makrides August 15, 2021 - 10:35 am

Wow! Thanks so much, that means a lot! N x

Beatrice August 28, 2021 - 8:13 am

I want to make this cake for my bday. Do you know if I can transport it safely without cream being ruined? Thanks!

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 2:55 am

Hi Beatrice! You would need to make sure the cake is chilled really well. Hope that helps! N x

Tara December 31, 2021 - 6:48 am

Hey, haven’t made it yet but will update rating when I have! Question; the soaked cherries that go into the cake, are they whole pitted cherries or do you cut them into smaller bite sized pieces first??

Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 1:16 pm

Whole pitted, but you can certainly chop them up a little if you like first. N x

Jenny October 31, 2022 - 11:46 am

Can this cake be made a day ahead.with no loss in quality?

Nick Makrides November 1, 2022 - 3:25 am

SHould be ok! N x

Janet January 2, 2022 - 9:54 pm

I made the syrup using boiled water from kettle and sugar. Left it to cool but was runny so assumed this was correct as you don’t say it should thicken. I drizzled this onto each layer but now think my cake is going to be soggy as had difficulty layering up. It was so soft it broke in a few places. I managed to complete it nd hope by leaving in the fridge overnight any juice will be absorbed and the cake won’t be soggy

Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 1:16 pm

Hi Janet! Sorry to hear that! How’d the cake go in the fridge?

Dimmy January 17, 2022 - 5:07 pm

Hi! 🙂 I have only one 6” tin. Can I make half the recipe and just cut to two or three layers? Any idea how much I need to bake it for in this case?

Nick Makrides September 10, 2022 - 12:58 am

Hi Dimmy! That should be fine. I would recommend baking for 20 minutes 🙂 Nx

Alison Johnson October 11, 2022 - 12:00 pm

5 stars
Oooh this is so yummy can I use three six pans using the same recipe and it turns out ok also being that it is six inches do I still have to cut the cakes in half and how long do I bake it for

Nick Makrides October 31, 2022 - 6:50 am

Hi Alison, I would make 1/2 of the recipe for 6″ pans as baking the same amount of batter in a 6″ pan will mess around with baking times. Unfortunately I havent tested it in a smaller tin and can’t say for sure how to adjust the baking times. N x

Qaira February 19, 2022 - 12:11 pm

5 stars
Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. Could I substitute kirsch with cherry juice?

Nick Makrides February 22, 2022 - 8:23 am


Sarah Cielo March 21, 2022 - 4:14 am

4 stars
Excellent cake! I love scran line bakes! They are always my go-to for recipes that truly work. Always crowd pleasers! Today I used the sponge recipe for the cake, I only altered by using Dutch cocoa and then 2tsp baking powder to activate it.. recipe produced two beautiful, level chocolate cakes perfect for torting.
I will say though, I baked mine bottom shelf of gas oven @160 and they actually took 35 – 40 mins to bake. Thankyou again, love your work 👏👏

Nick Makrides April 27, 2022 - 1:29 am

Amazing to hear Sarah! Thanks so much for the lovely words, glad you like the recipe! N x

Lilly April 12, 2022 - 9:16 pm

Question … what if I don’t have fresh cherries what can I substitute with.

Nick Makrides April 26, 2022 - 12:37 pm

Great question Lilly! You can use canned cherries in the cake and top with them as well! N x

Tabby November 20, 2022 - 4:30 am

Hi I want to make this cake and store it in the freezer for a couple of days will the filling hold or turn soggy.

Nick Makrides November 26, 2022 - 6:40 am

Ah, yeah I wouldn’t freeze cream. It will not thaw very well at all. I would recommend freezing the cake itself before it’s decorated and filled and then put it together fresh.

Santosh Sahani April 29, 2022 - 3:49 pm

Everything would be better if more people were like you. I really appreciate, you written well and helpful blog for those regarding cakes. Looking forward for more!!

Nick Makrides May 3, 2022 - 11:48 am

Awww, thanks so much Santoshi! That means so much N x

Maddie September 17, 2022 - 1:41 pm

Looks delicious and am making an alcohol free version for my mil’s birthday. I am making the cakes today and freezing them and hoping to double the recipe. Any advice? Thank you for the recipe!

Nick Makrides September 18, 2022 - 11:59 pm

Awesome! When you say doubling the recipe, do yu mean same 8-inch cake tins but double the height because I wouldn’t recommend that. The sponge is quite soft and may not be able to carry its own weight. I would recommend using 10″ cake tins or making two cakes 🙂 So excited for you to try this recipe its fab! N x

Maddie September 30, 2022 - 12:29 am

5 stars
I did it! Doubled, and yes, 2 10″. Worked perfectly. Cherries are out of season so used jarred and used the cherry juice as my simple syrup – also added some in the whipped cream. It was such a hit. Everyone loved it, and my 5 yo asked for seconds. Thank you!

Nick Makrides October 31, 2022 - 6:53 am

Amazing Maddie! So happy to hear this! N x

ReNay November 8, 2022 - 12:36 am

Thank you for sharing your recipe!

Nick Makrides November 26, 2022 - 6:34 am

Thanks for the lovely comment! N x

Nida November 6, 2023 - 12:40 am

Hello I have a question. For the cherry filling, the recipe says the total amount of water or jar juice to use is 1 cup (250ml). It says to add corn starch to 1 cup (250ml) of water and set is aside (this would use up all the water). Then it says to add more water or jar juice to the cherry, sugar and lemon juice saucepan but haven’t we already used all the 1 cup of water? Or did the recipe mean to divide it so we only use 1/2 cup of water at a time?

Nick Makrides November 9, 2023 - 12:25 am

Hi Nida! Thanks for flagging this and sorry for the confusion. I’ve gone in and made a change tot he recipe. It’s 1 cup (250ml), divided. So 1/2 cup with the corn starch and 1/2 cup when the cherries go in. Thanks for letting me know about this! N x

Angie March 18, 2024 - 6:48 pm

Is there an additional “frosting”
Used on the cake along with the Chantilly cream? Or in the white coating in your picture of the finished cake just the chantilly cream? Thanks!

Nick Makrides March 22, 2024 - 11:19 pm

extra chantilly cream 🙂


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