Step-by-Step Instructions for the Perfect Black Forest Cake

The Black Forest Cake, also known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, is a classic German dessert.

Renowned for its layers of chocolate sponge cake, rich cherry filling, and fluffy whipped cream, this cake is a staple in German cuisine.

Its name and origin are tied to the Black Forest region in Germany, reflecting the area’s cuisine.

Now let’s talk about the recipe and ingredients.


Ingredients For the Chocolate Sponge Cake Layers

For the Chocolate Sponge Cake Layers:

  • Eggs (room temperature): Ensures a light and fluffy texture.
  • Granulated sugar: Adds sweetness and structure.
  • All-purpose flour: The main structural component of the cake.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder: Provides a rich chocolate flavor.
  • Unsalted butter (melted and cooled): Adds moisture and richness.
  • Vanilla extract: Enhances the overall flavor.
  • Cornstarch (optional): This can make the cake lighter.
  • Instant coffee powder (optional): Intensifies the chocolate flavor.

Cherry Filling


For the Cherry Filling:

  • Morello cherries (pitted, in syrup): These sour cherries add a tart contrast.
  • Cherry juice (from the jar of morello cherries): Used for the filling and syrup.
  • Granulated sugar: Sweetens the filling.
  • Fresh lemon juice: Adds brightness and balances the sweetness.
  • Cornstarch: Thickens the filling.
  • Almond essence/extract (optional): Adds a subtle nutty flavor.
  • Ground cinnamon (optional): Adds warmth and depth.

Cherry Syrup

For the Cherry Syrup:

  • Reserved cherry juice from the jar: Provides a moistening syrup for the cake layers.
  • Kirsch (cherry liqueur) or almond essence/extract: Adds an authentic flavor to the syrup.

Heavy whipping cream

For the Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • Heavy whipping cream (cold): Forms the base of the whipped cream.
  • Mascarpone cheese (cold): Stabilizes the whipped cream, keeping it firm.
  • Icing sugar (powdered sugar): Sweetens the cream.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds flavor.

For Decoration:

  • Dark chocolate (for shavings/curls): Adds a decorative and flavorful touch.
  • Additional cherries (fresh, glacé, or maraschino): Completes the look and adds flavor.

Preparation Steps

Now let us take a look at the preparation process. Preparation of Chocolate Sponge Cake Layers:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Ensures the oven is at the right temperature when the batter is ready.
  • Line the bottoms of three 8-inch (20cm) cake pans with parchment paper. Prevents the cake from sticking to the pans.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, instant coffee powder, and salt. Ensures even distribution and eliminates lumps.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar over simmering water until warm, then whip until thick and tripled in volume. This method creates a light, airy texture.
  • Fold in the sifted dry ingredients and melted butter mixture. Maintains the airiness of the batter.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. Ensures even baking.
  • Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely. Prevents overcooking and prepares the layers for assembly.

Preparation of Cherry Filling:

  • Combine cherry juice, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, almond essence, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Creates a flavorful base.
  • Cook over medium heat until thickened, then add morello cherries and coat them in the mixture. Ensures the filling is well combined and thick.
  • Set aside to cool. Prepares the filling for layering.

Preparation of Cherry Syrup:

  • Combine reserved cherry juice and kirsch (or almond essence) in a bowl. Creates a flavorful syrup.
  • Set aside for soaking the cake layers. Keeps the cake moist.

Preparation of Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • Beat mascarpone, icing sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Forms a stable base.
  • Add cold whipping cream and whip to stiff peaks. Ensures the cream holds its shape.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps the cream firm.

Assembling the Cake

Preparation of the Black Forest Cake

Now let us address assembling the cake. Layering the Cake:

  • Place the first cake layer on a serving plate and soak it with cherry syrup using a pastry brush. Ensures the cake is moist and flavorful.
  • Pipe a dam of whipped cream around the edge and fill the center with half of the cherry filling. Prevents the filling from spilling out.
  • Spread a layer of whipped cream over the cherry filling. Adds creaminess and stability.
  • Repeat with the second cake layer. Continues the layering process.
  • Place the third cake layer on top and soak with the remaining cherry syrup. Completes the layering with added moisture.

Frosting the Cake:

  • Cover the top and sides of the cake with whipped cream. Provides a smooth surface for decoration.
  • Use your hands to press dark chocolate shavings/curls onto the sides of the cake. Adds texture and flavor.
  • Pipe decorative swirls of whipped cream around the top edge of the cake. Enhances the cake’s appearance.
  • Fill the center with more chocolate shavings/curls and top the whipped cream swirls with cherries. Completes the decoration.

Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches - Black Forest Cake

Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

This step is crucial for the cake to set properly and for the flavors to develop fully.

The chilling process ensures that the whipped cream stabilizes, the cherry filling sets and the syrup is absorbed into the sponge layers, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

When ready to serve, slice the cake with a sharp knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts for neat slices.

Serve the cake chilled, allowing each slice to showcase the rich chocolate, tangy cherry filling, and smooth whipped cream in perfect harmony.