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Black Forest Cherry Cake

Possibly the most famous of all Germany's cakes, the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest Cherry Cake is a retro favourite that never seems to go out of style.

Possibly the most famous of all Germany’s cakes, the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest Cherry Cake is a retro favourite that never seems to go out of style.

Supposedly invented in 1915, it has gone in and out of fashion ever since, but with a luscious combination of cherries, chocolate, cream and liquor it is no wonder it has a permanent spot in the culinary canon.

What is a Black Forest Cherry Cake?

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest Cherry Cake is named after Germany’s Black Forest region (the Schwarzwald in Baden-Wüttemberg) and famous cherry schnapps (Kirsch). It is always a show stopper of a dessert, with layers of chocolate sponge cake, cream, cherry compote and a crown of fresh cherries sitting on even more cream!

The ring of cherries on top looks a little bit like the traditional hats of the region, and is likely what the cake was designed to look like.

Black Forest Cherry Cake

Is it difficult to make a Black Forest Cherry Cake?

Not particularly, but it does take a little care in the assembling. This isn’t a super speedy recipe like a German Strawberry Cake, but it is not too challenging for a competent cook.

The recipe below might look long, but that’s only because I’ve described each step of the process in detail. It’s a good idea to have your kitchen bench clear and your ingredients prepared before you start to make your life as easy as possible.

Don’t wait for fresh cherries, make this cake all year round

Traditional German recipes almost exclusively use sour cherries from the jar to make Black Forest Cherry Cake, which means you can bake this cake all year round.

In saying that, I’m not a massive fan of the 70s style Maraschino cherries commonly found on the top of the cake so I either bake this cake in summer when cherries are in season, or simply leave them off the top altogether.

Looking for an easy German Cherry Cake Recipe?

I have just the one! Try my recipe for Sunken Cherry Cake (Versunkener Kirschkuchen). It’s super easy and can be whipped up in minutes!

Have you ever tried baking a Black Forest Cherry Cake? Let me know in the comments below. Take care out there and happy cooking. xJ

Cherries for Black Forest Cherry Cake

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

This cake has gelatine in the cream. Can I leave it out?

Absolutely! Gelatine is simply used as a stabiliser for the cream. I would replace it with 1 Tbsp of cornflour/cornstarch and 1 Tbsp of icing/confectioners sugar. You can whisk them through the cream after it has reached soft peaks.

How do I store Black Forest Cherry Cake?

Because of the cream, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It will keep for several days, loosely covered.

I don’t drink alcohol, can I leave it out of this recipe?

Sure! Simply omit it. You might like to drizzle a little cherry juice over the cake for extra flavour, though it’s not necessary.


Use a whole jar of sour cherries in the recipe for the best flavour. If you have fresh sour cherries they are delicious too!

black forest cherry cake

Make sure to keep the cake in the fridge so the cream stays fresh and delicious.

Black Forest Cherry Cake

BLACK FOREST CHERRY CAKE RECIPE

Black Forest Cherry Cake

Black Forest Cherry Cake

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

A retro classic, Black Forest Cherry Cake or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is as delicious today as ever. A tower of chocolate, cream, cherries… what could be better?

Ingredients

for the chocolate sponge:

  • 3 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 125 g (½ cup) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75 ml (5 Tbsp) neutral oil
  • 75 g (½ cup) plain flour
  • 50 g (½ cup) cocoa (unsweetened, Dutch-processed)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, extra
  • butter to grease the pan

for the filling:

  • 680g (24 oz.) jar sour cherries, (reserve the cherry juice)
  • 2 Tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 25g (2 Tbsp) sugar
  • 2 sheets gold strength gelatine
  • 500ml (2 cups) cream
  • 3 Tbsp Kirsch or rum
  • 150g (5.5 oz.) dark chocolate
  • fresh dark cherries, to decorate

Instructions

    1. PREPARE: Heat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Line the base of a 20cm round springform cake tin with baking paper and grease the base and sides well with butter.
    2. BEAT THE EGGS: Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment fitted beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes, then drizzle in the oil, beating continuously until incorporated.
    3. MIX DRY INGREDIENTS: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gently, but thoroughly fold the dry ingredients into the beaten egg mixture, ensuring it is well combined but keeping as much air in the mixture as possible.
    4. BAKE: Pour into the prepared cake tin, then bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until risen and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the tin. Take care not to walk around in front of the oven too much while the cake is cooking, sponges are very fragile and can collapse.
    5. COOL: Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Line a rack with baking paper and invert the cake on top, remove the tin and allow to cool completely before peeling off the top paper.
    6. MAKE THE CHERRY COMPOTE: Drain the cherries and reserve 150ml of the juice. Mix 2 tablespoons of the juice with the cornflour/cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Heat the cherries with the sugar in a small saucepan, stir through the cornflour/cornstarch mixture and cook gently until thickened. Set aside to cool.
    7. WHIP CREAM: Place the gelatine sheets in a shallow dish, pour over enough cold water to cover and allow to soften for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes squeeze out as much liquid as you can, then place the gelatine in a small saucepan with 3 Tbsp of the cream and heat very gently, stirring until the gelatine has dissolved. Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to whip the cream until stiff.
    8. MIX CREAM: When the gelatine has dissolved, remove from the heat ad allow to cool slightly. Add two big spoonfuls of the whipped cream to the gelatine and stir to combine, then add the mixture back to the whipped cream, folding through, gently but thoroughly. Transfer ¼ of the cream to a piping bag with a star nozzle fitted and chill.
    9. CUT CAKE: Use a long, serrated knife to carefully cut the cake horizontally into three layers. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate or stand, sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the kirsch or rum, then top with half of the cherries and a layer of cream. Repeat with the next layer, then place the third layer on top. Sprinkle with the remaining kirsch or rum.
    10. ADD CREAM TO CAKE: Spoon a layer of cream on the top of the cake and spread a thin layer of cream over the sides. Pipe tufts of cream evenly around the top of the cake and decorate with the fresh cherries.
    11. DECORATE CAKE: Use a knife or peeler to shave the chocolate and make chocolate curls, then press them over the sides and in the middle of the cake. Chill until ready to eat.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 638Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 168mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 4gSugar: 40gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.

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Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

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