31 May 2014

Black Forest Cake / How to make a Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake is a very popular party cake. It originated in Germany and traditionally a black forest cake consists of several layers of chocolate sponge cake with whipped cream and cherries between each layer. Then the cake is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings. In a typical black forest cake each layer of chocolate cake is soaked with Kirschwasser - liquor distilled from cherry. Or it is even soaked with alcohol like rum or brandy. I normally soak the cake layers with fresh grape juice but this time I used the cherry syrup. You can even soak it with sugar syrup. For the cherries you can use the canned cherries that are available.

I made this cake for a special anniversary celebration and it tasted awesome and disappeared quickly! It is truly an amazingly delicious cake! So soft and moist and flavors made this cake taste exotic!

Traditionally a light sponge cake is used but to make this egg free, I used my favorite dairy free eggless chocolate cake for this recipe. You can use any of your favorite chocolate cake (with eggs / without eggs) to make your black forest cake. 

Here are some chocolate cakes that I love. Choose your favorite! 
Have a look at the other chocolate cakes in this space!

For the cake
Bake the cake and allow it to cool completely. Once it's cooled, cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours, this will help in slicing the cake easily.

For layering
  • Whipping cream - 1.5 cups
  • Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
  • Cherries  -  1 tin
  • Chocolate  - 1/2 to 1 cup grated or swirls.

Prepare the whipped cream while the cake is cooling. 

1.  Remove the required amount of cream from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator a couple of hours ahead of whipping.
2. Place a large metal bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 mins before whipping the cream.
3. I used Rich non dairy whipping cream. 

4. Add the vanilla extract and whip the cream at medium speed until the cream starts to form stiff peaks about 7-8 minutes. Do not over beat, then it will become butter.
5. Cover and keep the cream in the fridge till you start assembling the cake.
(Check notes on how to stabilize whipped cream)
Check this post for more details on how to whip cream to stiff peaks.


1. I used tinned cherries. Keep the syrup to soak the cake, do not discard it.

2. Pit 1 cup of cherries and chop into small pieces. Reserve 1/4 cup of cherries for decoration.

Assembling the cake

1. Take a piping bag and cut the tip, insert any nozzle. Fold the edges of the piping bag and put it in a glass. 

2. Spoon some whipped cream into the piping bag. Release the edges and push the cream to the end. Press around to remove air bubbles. 

3. This bag is for decorating the cake. Leave this bag in the refrigerator until we finish assembling the cake.
4. Slice the cake in half and place the bottom layer on a cake board or serving platter. Drizzle the bottom layer of the cake with sugar syrup or the cherry syrup or grape juice. 

5. Place a dollop of whipped cream on the bottom half of cake and spread evenly. Add the chopped cherries over it.
6. Place the other half of the cake over whipped cream and soak that layer too. Add some more whipped cream on top and spread using a spatula or knife or spoon. Spread the cream along the sides of the cake too. It need not be perfect since we will be covering the whole cake with chocolate.

7. Once you spread cream on the cake, do not use the same spatula to dip into the bowl of whipped cream. The cake crumbs will make the whole whipped cream brown. Use separate spatulas or wipe clean before dipping in to scoop more cream.

7. Take chocolate shavings in your hand, tilt the cake slightly and carefully and press the chocolate shavings along the sides of the cake. 

8. Add more chocolate on top of the cake. 
9. Take a wet cotton and clean the sides of the cake board. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.

10. Now take the piping bag from the refrigerator and pipe any designs over the top of the cake and also pipe a border along the lower end of the cake.

11. Place cherries on top of the cake.
12. Cover and refrigerate the cake.

Chocolate shavings
There are 3 ways by which you can make chocolate shavings. Take the chocolate from the refrigerator and let it come to almost room temperature. It should not melt too much and it should not be too cold.
1. Keep the chocolate bar on the table, using a knife, shave the chocolate.

2. You can use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls.
3. Or simply use a chopping board to make thin chocolate slices.

1. The whipping cream will double in volume.
2. If you prefer alcohol, add some wine to the cherry syrup.
3. You can use sugar syrup too to soak the cake. For this cake you can add 2 or 3 tbsp of sugar to 1 cup of water, boil it and cool completely and then use. 
4. This cake tastes best the next day when all the flavors have seeped in. Let it rest atleast for 12 hours.
5. The left over cherry syrup can be stored in the freezer. The left over cherries can also be stored in the freezer.
6. If you have left over whipped cream use it in some other deserts. Do not store for a long time. I make this vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream or this black forest trifle or this chocolate mousse if I have cream left over. 
7. If you're using non diary creams like Tropolite or Rich, scoop out the required amount of cream and then put the packet back in the freezer.
8. If you feel the cream is not getting stiff but is runny, you can stabilize the cream by adding gelatin. 
9. For every 1 cup of cream, you will need 1 tsp of gelatin to 4 tsps of water. Add the gelatin to water and let it bloom for 5 minutes. Then heat it for 30 seconds in the microwave and allow it to come to room temperature. Add the cooled gelatin to the cream once you see beater marks while whipping the cream.
10. If you are using tinned cherries, most probably they would have added color to the cherries. When you place the cherries on the cake the day before and leave it in the fridge, the cherries will start leaching color making your whipped cream reddish. So I would suggest washing the cherries slightly and decorating just before serving.
11. Do not keep the whole bowl of whipped cream out, when frosting the cake. It might start melting. That is why I add some in the piping bag and leave it in the fridge so that it will remain set.
12. You can add a layer of chopped cherries on the top layer of cake too.
13. Refrigerating the cake makes it easier to cut the cake in two. Take a sharp serrated knife and slice the cake slowly into 2 or 3 layers. You can even warm the knife and cut. This is a moist cake, so be careful while handling it. Otherwise it might break.
14. You can leave the top without any chocolate shards too. Decorate as you wish.

Enjoy the cake!!

P.S - Special thanks to my husband who patiently took all the step wise photos :)

Until next time,
photo New signn_zps3ubziitr.png
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  1. Splendidly breathtaking. I'm not big fan of cakes but this one, can't resist.

  2. So beautiful... really appreciate ur detailed post... black forest is always an enchanting cake...

  3. Loved those stepwise pictures,black forest cake looks absolutely stunning, wish i can have a slice.

  4. Lovely and beautiful cake...well explained..

  5. Nicely presented....... Cake looks delicious with those cute tiny cherries !

  6. Detailed explanation.. Cake looks amazing

  7. wow those whole red cherries looks so beautiful and fabulous cake dear :) you did a great job !!

  8. Really helpful and cake looks so tempting!

  9. Rich and delicious cake....well explained...hats off for the effort shown.

  10. lovely cake...so perfectly done ..looks really delish...

  11. you made such a yummy cake and what a clicks very tempting

  12. super delicious,loving it!!

  13. Cake looks absolutely delicious!!!

  14. Gonna try this dear!!!!!!!!!but my frst experiment was a big flop(with amul fresh cream) so little bit tensed...this time will try to buy whipping cream..

  15. Wow Beulah - your step by step instructions are so easy to follow!! I've never made a black forest cake but after your instructions I will definitely do it. Thanks for taking the time to show us.

  16. thanks a lot for detailed post...its really useful ....

  17. o my Gosh... mai tunn hogaye hun you k cakes py lol :D Mashallah awesome great job .. pass me the slice and step by step pix very helpful :D happy to be your follower hehehe

  18. Hi. this black forest looks awesome. the step-wise pics are very helpful. one question, since no sugar is added to the whipping cream, won't the cake taste bland? i mean are the cherries and cake sweet enough to make up for the lack of sugar in the whipping cream?

    1. Hi, I use non - dairy whipping cream which is already sweetened. Adding more sugar makes it too sweet for me and my family! One tbsp of icing sugar can be added for those who prefer their dessert to be very sweet.

  19. ok..i just googled and found out that non-dairy whipping cream has sugar added to it already, which i obviously didn't know coz i have never used it! :p

    1. Yes it's pre sweetened. If you use dairy heavy cream, you must add extra sugar while whipping since it does not have any sugar! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave comments :)

  20. Beulah...thank you so much for this step by step pictures. Its really helpful for beginners like me. I have one question though on whipping cream. I use the Bluebird product and m not very happy with the taste. and heavy whipping cream is not available in super markets in my locality. I have tried Amul's whipping cream but I find it difficult to get stiff peaks from that. Would you be able to tell me any other brand or may be help me with making the whipping cream using amul only. thanks!

    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by! Your right, bluebird does not taste good and amul doesn't whip to stiff peaks. Unfortunately if you are in India, the only other option is non dairy whipping cream. There are no other options for whipped cream. I have written a detailed post on How to Whip Cream, have a look to understand cream better.

  21. Seriously,Amazing...your stepwise method would be relief for many of us.

  22. can i bake this in an 8 inch cake pan

    1. Yes, the egg free dairy free chocolate cake that I've used for this black forest can be baked in an 8 inch pan.

  23. plz evn gve detail info for cake batter for egg

  24. can you please tell me... on refrigeration why does my cake becomes hard?

    1. If your cake recipe has butter in it, the cake will harden on refrigeration. Leave the cake out for about 45 mins before cutting the cake, it will become soft again. Oil based cakes will stay soft and moist even after refrigeration.

  25. I have tried making black forest cake with best chocolate recipe of your site. It came yummy. Thanks for detail explanation

    1. Thank you for the feedback Asha! So sweet of you :)


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