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Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake Recipe

The German Black Forest Cake is world-famous. The name seems to be related to the region of the Schwarzwald but it’s not necessarily the origin of the cake. There are several theories about the name and my favorite (and probably most reasonable) is, that the look of the cake resembles very much the traditional clothes of women in the Schwarzwald region.

Black Forest Cake how to

About the Cake

Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) has three layers of chocolate cake, drenched with Kirschwasser, which is a cherry schnapps. In between the cake layers, there is a layer of cherries and a layer of whipping cream. The entire cake is covered in whipping cream and decorated with chocolate and with red cherries on top.

Black Forest Cake Slice

Making Black Forest Cake

What is Kirschwasser?

Kirschwasser is made from fermented cherries and usually comes at 40% alcohol. The word is made from the German “Kirsche” which means cherry and “Wasser” which means water. You can learn more about it here: https://www.britannica.com/topic/kirsch

If you want to make this cake without alcohol, you can substitute the Kirschwasser with some cherry juice.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

It Takes Time

A Black Forest Cake can be made in one day if you start early in the morning. However, it might be a better idea to start the day before and let it soak in the fridge for one day before decorating it. On the other hand: If you take too much time, the alcohol in the cake might evaporate. You can avoid it if you cover the cake but due to its large size (especially height), it is often difficult to find something to cover it.

classic German cake

My advice is: Bake it in the afternoon the day before you need it. Assemble it to the point where it is not decorated yet. Leave a cake ring around and cover the cake with a large lid from a pot or so. The next day, finish the cake with the decoration and serve it the same day. This is also how I did it in the video.

Black Forest Cake baking recipe

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Black Forest Cake Recipe and How To Video
Black Forest Cake Recipe

Black Forest Cake

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte – traditional German Cake
4.92 from 23 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Course Afternoon Coffee, Dessert
Cuisine Bavaria, German, Swabia
Servings 12 slices


Round Baking Pan 26 cm // 10 inches
Cake Ring (optional but helpful)
Electric Mixer


For the Base Cake

  • 7 eggs
  • 240 g sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 50 g cocoa
  • 150 g flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50 g corn starch
  • 60 g melted butter

Cake Potion ;-)

  • 100 ml Kirschwasser
  • 20 ml water
  • 20 g sugar
  • or 100 ml cherry juice instead of the ingredients above

Cherry Filling

  • 1 jar cherries (680 g // 24 oz)
  • 45 g corn starch
  • 1 pinch cinnamon optional
  • ½ lemon – the jucice of it
  • 60 g sugar

Cream Filling

  • 700 ml whipping cream
  • 25 ml Kirschwasser
  • 65 g sugar
  • tsp gelatine powder or 9 gelatine sheets

Cake Decoration

  • 1 bar dark chocolate, cooled
  • 400 ml whipping cream
  • 1 pouch stabilizer i.e. Whip it
  • 12 cherries fresh or cocktail cherries


Baking the Base Cake

  • Beat the eggs with the salt and sugar for about 20 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, mix thedry ingredients: flour, cocoa, corn starch and baking powder. Carefully fold itinto the egg mix. Also carefully add the melted butter and fold it in.
  • Grease the baking pan (26 cm /10 ¼ inch diameter) and fill the dough in. Bake at 190°C / 375°F for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool completely, then put it into the fridge for an hour to make it firm for cutting.

Prepare the Cherry Filling

  • Put the Cherries in a sieve and collect the juice underneath.
  • Put all ingredients (starch, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice)into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil until the liquid thickens.
  • Add the cherries and let cool.

Prepare the Cream Filling

  • Prepare the gelatine acording to package instructions.
  • Beat the cream and add the Kirschwasser and sugar until stiff. Mix some of the cream with the gelatine, then mix this into the cream.
  • Also mix in the 25 ml Kirschwasser.

Build the Cake

  • Cut the cake twice to create 3 layers.
  • Put the first layer upside down on a cake plate and brush ⅓ of the "Cake Potion" onto it.
  • Use a piping bag with whipping cream to make a rime around the edge of the cake.
  • Use half of the cherry filling to place it inside the cream rim onto the cake.
  • If you have one: Place a cake ring around the cake.
  • Cover the entire layer with cream.
  • Take the next layer of cake and place it on top of the cream.
  • Repeat the previous steps: Brush ⅓ of the cake potion on it, make a cream rim, place remaining cherry filling inside the circle and cover everything with cream.
  • Brush the third cake layer with the cake potion, then put it with the cut side down and the bottom side up, so it is now the top of your cake.
  • Cover the cake with a large lid and place into the fridge for at least 4 hours or better over night.

Decoration the Cake

  • Whip the cream with the stabilizer. If you don't have stabilizer, use a tablespoon of corn starch.
  • With a sharp knife, shave some chocolate from the bar. Then grate the remaining chocolate.
  • Take the cake from the fridge and cover it entirely with cream. Leave some cream for the top decoration though.
  • Use the grated chocolate to cover the sides of the cake. If you freeze the grated chocolate for a little bit, you can use your hands to put the chocolate onto the cake – worked best for me.
  • Divide the top of the cake into 12 slices by just tracing the sizes but not cutting the cake.
  • Use a piping bag and a tip to create 12 swirls on top of the cake – one swirl on each slice.
  • Place the shaved chocolate on the center of the top, then put a cherry onto each cream swirl.
  • Done!
Keyword baking, Cake, Oktoberfest
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About The Author

32 thoughts on “Black Forest Cake”

  1. I have a question about the gelatine powder – if I use Knox unflavored gelatin packets, do I measure out 4 1/2 tsp of it? Somewhere in comments it said something about 1 1/2 packets. Is Knox unflavored gelatin same as gelatine powder?

    1. Yes, Knox is gelatine powder. Since people from all over the world are using my recipes, it is often easier for all to measure in a way that everyone can relate to, like teaspoons.

  2. Did you use salted or unsalted butter in this recipe? I’m sure it isn’t extremely important but I want to keep my cake as similar as is possible to yours. Also did you use large sized eggs? Looking forward to trying to make this cake for my grandfather. Love your channel best cooking channel on YouTube ?.

    1. Hi Cyprus,
      All German recipes on my blog are with unsalted butter because we don’t have salted butter in Germany (except for imported butter). For the eggs you can use medium or large eggs.
      I wish you great baking success, I’m sure your grandfather will appreciate your cake very much!

  3. 5 stars
    When we were first married, I was very young and we lived in Wiesentheid in 1976. Our landlady, Frau Stein, taught me how to make this cake. She didn’t speak English and my German was terrible. She was so kind. We returned to the US in 1985. I miss the foods and the people. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  4. Stanley Schrattenholz

    5 stars
    Thanks Barbara,

    We had a fun time baking the black forest cake on New Year’s Eve
    and had a few visitors as a result to enjoy it. Still have half of the cake left
    for others to share with.

    All liked its delicious taste.

  5. Hi Barbara! Thank you for the lovely recipe and the video with instructions! How much cherry juice do you use to make the filling? Do you add water to it in case there is not enough of it. Many thanks in advance, Marina

    1. I only use the juice that comes with the cherries in the glass, never measured it. If you feel like you need more liquid, you can add a little water but not too much since it will change the taste. Or you buy some cherry juice in a bottle to add more. If you are looking for a shortcut: Here in the US you can buy cherry pie fillings in a can. It is a lot sweeter than I would want it but it is a solution.

  6. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe, I loved baking it and the result was perfect. I’m from Mexico and I’ve tried some black forest cakes from different restaurants, but none like this, thank you so much, Barbara.

    1. I am so happy you are getting the perfect Black Forest Cake with my recipe! Keep up the good baking :)

  7. Hello! I am making this for the first time and your video and recipe has been the easiest to follow so thank you. My german friend however said that black forest cakes don’t have butter in them. Can I just leave the butter out or should I keep it in? Thanks again for your informative video and recipe.

    1. I have no experience with a recipe that has different ingredients. I would suggest sticking to my recipe since I can almost guarantee that it will work out or use a completely different recipe that your friend provides.

  8. Hello Barbara,
    My parents spent some time in Germany when my father was in the Army ( I was actually born in Bavaria). My mother has a black forest cake recipe that she says is the closest to what they had in Germany and it’s similar to your version, but hers includes a layer of a dense chocolate mousse. Is the mousse a common option that some people add?

    1. I’ve never come across a Black Forest Cake with chocolate mousse in it. But I’ve never had one at the area of the Black Forest, so maybe there is something regional about it?

  9. I had the same problem with the gelatin like someone mentioned in the YouTube comments. The printed recipe says 4 1/2 tsp of gelatin. I bought a box of knox and each package was 2 tsp but you said 1 1/2 package so these measurements don’t add up. Then your said use a little water but the printed recipe says to follow the package instructions. Sorry but again this is confusing. It would be easier in the future for something like this to be consistant between the YouTube and printed recipes. Also to give exact measurements (the water amount) for people who are unfamiliar with certain products (like gelatin). I also can’t find in the video where you said to put the gelatin in the microwave. I see that you put the powder in the water but then you said it was warm, I think you edited out a section regarding how the gelatin got warm. Mine was all lumpy because this whole step is confusing. I don’t know if I used the wrong amounts or the steps I took were wrong. Thank you for the recipe though, was a favorite from my childhood.

    1. Hi Jordan,
      thank you for your feedback. I will check the video and recipe for consistency. The challenge that I have with all my recipes is, that they are not just for the US audience. People from all over the world are watching them and trying their best to make them with the ingredients they can get in their area. I don’t know if the gelatin in South Africa, Australia, Pakistan or Spain are the same as here in the US. There is already a difference in the ingredients between Germany and the US which often makes research and calculations necessary and instructions differ, too. I’m doing my best to keep all that in mind. As of gelatin in general, the usages depends on whether you are using it in a hot or a cold liquid. If you want to add gelatine to a cold liquid like whipped cream, you need to dissolve it in water first and then heat that liquid. But you don’t want to add too much of a hot liquid to your cream, so you are using just a little water to dissolve the gelatin. The dissolved gelatin then needs to be heated because otherwise it will be lumpy. I hope this cleared it up.

  10. Hi Barbara, may I know what type of flour to use? Cake flour or All Purpose Flour? Thanks in advance

  11. Madame,
    thank you for your complete demonstration of this beautiful and tasty german cake, time consuming.
    though, could you provide me with the shortcrust base recipe…….which I remember, while enjoying this pastry in Austria.
    With my many thanks.

  12. This is the only authentic Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte recipe I found online and I am soooo happy!
    Thank you so much for the very instructive video. Plan to make this for our Christmas desert.
    I’m from Germany and this was always my favorite cake.

  13. 4 stars
    Lovely cake. Just wanted to ask if i wanted to make a smaller size cake. How do I go about it. Something like a 8″ or 9″ cake.

    1. Do you want it to just have a smaller diameter but be higher or do you want to end up with less cake? For less cake, I would probably reduce the quantities by maybe 1/4. With just a smaller diameter, you might just have thicker layers. As long as the baking pan is high enough – or you bake in several batches.

  14. Hi Barbara, I am very excited to try out this recipe. I have a question about the kirschwasser. I bought some yesterday specifically for this recipe. I have never tried it before but my senses tell me that I received a bad bottle. It smells like grain alcohol and nothing to do with cherries. Is there a specific brand you go to?

    1. This is actually right, it doesn’t really taste like cherries. Just stick to it, the combination with the cherries in the cake will make things right :-)

  15. Cathleen Machado

    I would like to make this today but am confused about the 1.2 cups of sugar. Does that mean 1 cup plus 2 Oz’s?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Cathleen,
      no, these digital numbers are created when the metric measurements are converted to US customary measurements – they don’t line up to full digits most of the time. It is 1 cup and a little less than 1/4 cup. Like 0.25 would be the same 1/4 cup but since it’s .2 and not .25, it’s a little less.
      My recipes are original German recipes, the best result will always be, using a scale (cost about $15) and weigh the ingredients. But if you need to use cups, the conversion unfortunately comes to these kind of numbers and you need to remember some Math.
      Here some examples:
      .25 = 1/4 th cup
      .2 = a little less than 1/4 cup
      .3 = roughly 1/3 cup
      .5 = half a cup
      .75 = 3/4 cup

      I hope I could help to clear this up.


  16. Hello,
    It would be a great service to those of us, who do not use the metric system, to have the measurements in U.S. terms. By the way, this Black Forest cake, Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte, is native to the Black Forest area.
    Thank you for the good sounding recipe.

    1. Hello Margot,
      if you take a look at the recipe section: Below the ingredients, there is a link to switch from metric to US customary. I wish it was a big red button but I didn’t make the program that is converting this, so I have to live with this little link that is so easy to overlook.

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