Black Forest Cake

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Black Forest Cake is made with a moist chocolate cake, fresh whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur, otherwise known as kirschwasser! It’s moist, delicious and full of flavor!

This recipe uses my moist chocolate cake as a base for the entire cake. If you’re looking for a seriously good, easy chocolate cake, that recipe is it!

Black Forest Cake - layers of moist chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur! Completely homemade!

What Is Black Forest Cake?

Black Forest Cake has been around for ages and is a traditional German cake known for its layers of chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and most importantly, a clear liqueur made from sour cherries called kirschwasser. It’s a delicious cake that’s perfect for this time of year with all the fresh cherries available.

How Do You Make Black Forest Cake?

Step 1: Make the Cherry Mixture

To get started with this Black Forest Cake, you’ll make the cherry mixture. Traditionally, Black Forest Cake brushes the layers of chocolate cake with cherry liqueur and then adds chopped cherries to the whipped cream filling. I personally really like to taste my flavors and the cherries a little more, so I mixed it up a bit.

The cherry liqueur is gently cooked over the stove with the cherries. It softens the cherries up a bit and releases their juices. The filling is thickened up a bit with some cornstarch, but it’s still quite syrup-y. The whole mixture is delightful. You really taste the cherries and the liqueur and pretty much want to eat it with a spoon, though you’d have to be careful because it’s fairly strong.

Step 2: Make the Chocolate Cake Layers

Next up are the chocolate cake layers. I’m a big fan of this chocolate cake. It’s super moist and light and full of chocolate flavor! Plus, it’s super simple to make and could even be made with just a bowl and a whisk!

Black Forest Cake - layers of moist chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur! Completely from scratch!Black Forest Cake - layers of moist chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur! Completely from scratch!

Step 3: Make Your Homemade Whipped Cream

Once the filling and cake layers are ready, it’s time to make the whipped cream. It’s a stabilized whipped cream that I use regularly and love. The powdered sugar is what stabilizes it, so be sure to leave it in the whipped cream. I know it might be tempting to reduce it, but it’s actually quite important here.

Step 4: Assemble Your Black Forest Cake

To build the cake, put your first cake layer on a serving plate, cake stand or cardboard cake round. Spread about a cup of the cherry and liqueur mixture onto the cake. The juices will soak into the chocolate cake and add more moisture and flavor to each layer. Top the cherries with an even layer of whipped cream and then repeat.

Frost the cake with the remaining whipped cream. You’ll want to be sure to add a somewhat thick layer of whipped cream to get full coverage. The chocolate cake will be visible through the whipped cream otherwise.

Step 5: Garnish with Cherries and Chocolate Ganache

The whole cake really is quite simple to make, as far as cakes go. The filling is quick, the chocolate cake is easy, peasy and the whipped cream frosting is about as easy as frosting can get. Not to mention that it’s so easy to actually apply to the cake and make look lovely with little effort. The only thing that’s a little more time consuming is pitting the cherries and for that, I’d recommend a good cherry pitter.

To finish off the cake, add a drizzle of chocolate ganache, a few swirls of whipped cream and a few more cherries! I also added some chocolate shavings for little texture! The final cake is not only beautiful and fun to look at, but it’s also delicious! The cherries and sour cherry liqueur really come through and compliment the light cream and chocolate cake so well. I also love the softness of the cherries. Such a classic flavor combination – and you can definitely see why.

Black Forest Cake - layers of moist chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur! Completely from scratch!Black Forest Cake - layers of moist chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur! Completely from scratch!

What can I use in the Black Forest Cake instead of kirschwasser?

While I definitely recommend the cherry liqueur, you could use another liqueur with a fruity flavor, like raspberry. Something like Chambord might be tasty. If you’re looking to make the cake non-alcoholic, you can just substitute it with water.

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
overhead image of Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

  • Author: Life Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Black Forest Cake is made with a moist chocolate cake, fresh whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur, otherwise known as kirschwasser! It’s a delicious version of the classic German chocolate cake that you can make right at home!



  • 1/2 cup (104g) sugar
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) cherry liqueur (or water)
  • 3 cups (510g) pitted and quartered cherries


  • 1 3/4 cups (228g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (85g) cocoa
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot water


  • 3 3/4 cups (900ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar
  • 3 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


  • 3 oz (1/2 cup | 86g) semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy whipping cream


1. To make the cherry mixture, combine the sugar, cornstarch and liqueur (or water) in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Heat until the mixture is wet and the sugar begins to melt.
2. Add the cherries and stir to coat them with the sugar mixture. Cook mixture until the cherries start to soften and let out juices.
3. Remove from heat when the cherries are juicy and the juice has begun to thicken. Pour the mixture into another bowl and refrigerate until cool.
4. To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare three 8 inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper in the bottom.
5. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
6. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
8. Slowly add the hot water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
9. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
10. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
11. To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl. Whip with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.
12. To layer the cake, first use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the tops of the cakes so they are flat. See my tips on how to level a cake and how to stack a cake.
13. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or on a cardboard cake round.
14. Pipe a dam around the outside of the cake layer with some of the whipped cream.
15. Spread 3/4 to 1 cup of the cherry mixture on top of the cake, in the center of the dam. The juices will soak into the cake.
16. Fill in the rest of the dam with a layer of whipped cream and spread into an even layer.
17. Add the second layer of cake, then repeat steps 14 thru 16.
18. Add the third and final layer of cake on top.
19. Frost the top and outside of the cake with the whipped cream. Set the cake in the refrigerator.
20. To make the chocolate ganache, add the chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl (see my tips on making chocolate ganache).
21. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour over the chocolate chips.
22. Allow the chocolate and cream to sit for 1-2 minutes, the whisk until smooth.
23. Drizzle the chocolate ganache around the edge of the cake, then fill in the center. I just swirled it around the top in circles to make a neat looking design. See my tips on making a chocolate drip cake.
24. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the top of the cake using the remaining whipped cream.
25. Finish off the cake with a few additional cherries and some chocolate shavings. To make the chocolate shavings, just run a vegetable peeler along the edge of a chocolate bar.

Cover and efrigerate cake until ready to serve. Cake is best when consumed within 2-3 days. I like to store my cakes in an airtight carrier (the cupcake inserts are removable for a nice, tall cake carrier).


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 656
  • Sugar: 60.7 g
  • Sodium: 406.5 mg
  • Fat: 36.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 79.1 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Cholesterol: 106.1 mg

Keywords: black forest cake, blast forest recipe, cherry liqueur dessert, german black forest cake, german chocolate cake, simple black forest cake, easy black forest cake, how to make black forest cake

Filed Under:



This post contains affiliate links.

Black Forest Cake - layers of moist chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and cherry liqueur! Completely homemade!

Share a Comment

Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you and seeing what you made!

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

  1. Sharlene

    Hi, Lindsay. I’m planning on making this cake fir a friend’s birthday, but it’s hard to find cherries 🍒. Can I replace fresh cherries for frozen cherries if i get stuck not finding them?

  2. Stacie Parmiter

    This sounds delicious and I plan on making for Thanksgiving, since I already have the cakes in my freezer! What brand of cherry liqueur do you use? I’ve read that Kirschwasser and Cherry Liqueur are not interchangeable; as one is sweet and one isn’t. Maybe it doesn’t matter which one is used, but I want to make it as described 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      I used Kirschwasser, which is traditionally what is used. You could use cherry liqueur. It may be a little sweeter, but it’d be fine.

  3. Jamie

    I love all of your cake recipes!! Do you think the cherry mixture will be okay to make ahead of time and keep in the fridge to make the cake the next day?

  4. Lana

    This cake looks absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to try it out. My husband isn’t much of a cake eater but a black forest cake is what he has requested for this birthday, so going to give your recipe a try 🙂
    I wondered if it can be made up in full the day before and just left in the fridge until the next day for eating?

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, definitely. I often make my cakes the day before. Just be sure to include the powdered sugar and the whipped cream so that it doesn’t wilt.

  5. Courtney Riedel

    Don’t use a wide mouthed bottle if you drip the icing because I failed at mine lol. However it looks yummy. I made this recipe last year and it was so moist.

  6. h

    Hi, this looks wonderful and I’d like to make it for my husband’s birthday but cherries are out of season right now. My grocery store has canned pitted red tart cherries in water. Would these be OK to use?

    1. Lindsay

      I have never tried those canned tart cherries before. I would actually recommend frozen cherries and then thaw them out.

  7. Sophie

    My batter is very liquid, is it normal?
    And once cooked, they are about 3/4 of an inch each.
    I haven’t done the final steps (whipped cream) yet, waiting for the cakes to cool off.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29