Black Forest Cake | This Old Baker

Black Forest Cake

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The Black Forest Cake, or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte as it’s known in its native Germany, has a history as rich as its flavor. Named after the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) mountain range in southwestern Germany, this cake isn’t just a treat; it’s a cultural icon. It’s believed to have originated in the late 16th century when chocolate first made its way into European confectionery.

The Cherry on Top

No Black Forest Cake is complete without its signature topping – more whipped cream, a sprinkle of chocolate shavings, and a cluster of fresh cherries that sit atop like jewels. It’s this combination of flavors and textures that make each bite an unforgettable experience.

Celebrations and Traditions

Often associated with celebration, Black Forest Cake is a popular choice for birthdays, weddings, and other festive occasions. In Germany, it’s not just a dessert; it’s a piece of heritage. Pastry chefs take pride in creating this masterpiece, adhering to time-honored techniques that have been passed down through generations.

A Global Sensation

While the Black Forest Cake has its roots in Germany, its fame has spread worldwide. Variations of the cake can be found in pastry shops from Tokyo to Toronto, each adding their local twist to the classic recipe. Despite these variations, the essential elements of chocolate, cherries, and cream remain non-negotiable.

An Artistic Inspiration

Beyond its taste, the Black Forest Cake is a visual delight. It’s often the centerpiece at gatherings, drawing all eyes with its elegant layers and garnishes. For many bakers, crafting a Black Forest Cake is not just baking; it’s an art form, an opportunity to express creativity and skill.


The Black Forest Cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a symphony of flavors, a slice of tradition, and a testament to the art of baking. Whether enjoyed in a cozy German café or at a grand wedding banquet, this cake continues to enchant and delight dessert lovers everywhere. So the next time you’re presented with a slice of Black Forest Cake, take a moment to savor not just the taste but the rich history and craftsmanship that goes into every layer.

Black Forest Cake | This Old Baker

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake is a decadent dessert featuring layers of moist chocolate cake, whipped cream, and cherries, often adorned with additional chocolate shavings.
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Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings



  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules optional, such as Folger’s
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs + 1 egg white

Cherry Filling and Chocolate Syrup Layer:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups tart cherries frozen or canned and drained + extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 tablespoons chocolate syrup divided

Whipped Cream and Toppings:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 oz bittersweet baking chocolate e.g., Ghirardelli, for shavings
  • 8-12 fresh cherries for garnish optional


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 8-inch round baking pans with parchment and/or spray well with nonstick spray.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • Prepare Buttermilk Mixture: Stir buttermilk, instant coffee (if using), and vanilla. Set aside to dissolve coffee granules.
  • Combine Oil and Sugar: In a large bowl, mix oil and sugar, then add eggs one at a time. Scrape sides and mix briefly.
  • Combine Mixtures: Alternately add flour and milk mixtures to the oil-sugar mix, starting and ending with flour. Ensure smooth batter.
  • Bake: Divide batter between pans, smooth tops, and bake 28-35 minutes. Cool in pans 15-20 minutes, then cool completely on racks.
  • For the Cherry Filling:
  • Mix sugar and cornstarch in a pot. Add cherries, heat to form a paste, then boil until thick. Remove from heat, add butter and almond extract. Cool completely.
  • For the Whipped Cream:
  • Whip cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to stiff peaks. Refrigerate until use.
  • Assemble:
  • Slice cakes horizontally to make four rounds.
  • Layer cake, 3 tbsp chocolate syrup, cherry filling (leave 1-inch border), another cake layer, remaining syrup, and last cake layer.
  • Cover cake with whipped cream, decorate with piped rosettes and fresh cherries if desired. Use a peeler to create chocolate shavings for decoration.
Keyword cake
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