Black forest cake

black forest cake

Black Forest cake originates in the black forest region of Germany, and that’s where it gets its name “schwarzwälder kirschtorte.” The French call it a gâteau Forêt Noire. Black forest cake is a classic layer cake taught in pastry school and ever popular in Europe. 

Black forest cake components

The cake is made from layers of chocolate génoise. The layers are soaked with a kirsch flavoured simple syrup to moisten the chocolate sponge cake. The filling is lightly sweetened whipped cream, with a few boozy cherries soaked in kirsch (griottes is the French term for these sour cherries soaked in kirsch) dropped between the layers. The outside is coated with more whipped cream, and then darkchocolate shavings.

gâteau forêt noire coated in whipped cream and shaved dark chocolate, served on a white plate,

Making a chocolate génoise

I’ve been focusing on practicing génoise cakes. The génoise cake is another balloon-whisk recipe that I’m working on getting just right. The eggs and sugar are whisked over a double-boiler to 55°C, then whisked off the heat back to room temperature at which point the mixture is a very creamy light yellow and ribbony. Finally, you carefully but quickly fold in the dry ingredients (in this case flour and cocoa powder, double sifted so that it’s extra light and without any lumps). Then you gently work in the melted butter.
If you fold the batter too much, your mixture will deflate and you risk making a rock-hard cake. If you don’t fold the mixture enough, you end up with a cake with little flour rocks randomly dispersed throughout. There’s a fine line between too mixed, and not mixed enough. Remember, with this sponge cake, the only leavening agent is the eggs. There’s no baking powder, nor baking soda here, so the rise of the cake comes from the air incorporated into the batter with a little evaporation from the heat of the oven. This is quite a different recipe than the warm milk sponge, for example, which not only depends on eggs but also baking powder to rise.
black forest cake sliced to show layers of chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream, and cherries

I’ll leave you with a basic recipe for a black forest cake. You can obviously make it with a chocolate génoise sliced into three even layers (like I did in school), or you can use your favourite chocolate cake for the layers. This eggless chocolate cake would make great layers for this cake..

Black forest cake

A recipe for traditional German black forest cake made with layers of chocolate sponge cake, kirsch, whipped cream, and cherries. Feel free to make this cake with fresh raspberries if you prefer
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Keyword Black forest cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 576kcal
Author Janice


For the whipped cream

  • 625 mL (2 ½ cups) whipping cream (35 % fat)
  • 60 mL (4 tbsp) icing sugar sifted
  • 1 tsp (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract

For the soaking syrup

  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 200 mL (¾ cup) water
  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) kirsch

For assembly

  • 1 (1 ) 6-inch chocolate cake sliced into three even layers
  • 150 grams (1 cup) boozy cherries or maraschino
  • 300 grams ( lb) chocolate shavings


For the whipped cream

  • In a large bowl with a balloon whisk (or in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the icing sugar and vanilla, and continue whipping to firm peaks. Set aside in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

For the soaking syrup

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup comes just to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
  • When the syrup has cooled, add the kirsch to flavor it. Set aside.

To assemble the cake

  • Place the first layer of cake on a cake board (or a rotating cake stand like this one on Amazon) and brush generously with the soaking syrup (if working with a génoise cake, brush on enough syrup that when you press on the cake, the syrup comes up).
  • Top with a layer of whipped cream and a third of the cherries. Press the cherries in place lightly, then spread another thin layer of whipped cream over top to lock them in place.
  • Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the the second layer of cake.
  • Top the cake with the third layer, brushing it with syrup and topping it with a thin layer of whipped cream.
  • Spread whipped cream on the sides of the cake and smooth the surface.
  • Press chocolate shavings all over the sides.
  • Top the cake with more chocolate shavings and pipe on a few decorative rosettes with a star tip. Place a cherry in the middle of each rosette.
  • Sprinkle the cake with a little cocoa powder and icing sugar before serving.


For this recipe, you can buy boozy cherries like these on Amazon
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenhealssoul or tag #kitchenhealssoul!


Calories: 576kcal

booze, cherries, chocolate, chocolate cake, cocoa powder, layer cake, whipped cream

13 Responses to Black forest cake

  1. grongar May 9, 2012 at 2:13 PM #

    So happy to hear you’ve conquered the Italian meringue! Next will be the génoise. You can do it! And that cake up there? That looks pretty darn delicious….


  2. Jeannie May 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM #

    Oh my! but that looks so delicious! You did a great job putting this cake together, I know it’s not easy!

  3. [email protected] Bigger May 10, 2012 at 4:25 PM #

    Black Forest Cake was my favourite cake as a kid. I still love it… I think the name has something to do with it. But I sure do admire your perseverance! I think I’d be pretty hopeless at genoise – I can’t even get the folding/mixing right in a muffin recipe after all these years!

    • Jan May 11, 2012 at 12:57 AM #

      Folding is awful! But I’ve started counting while I fold so that I keep track of how many folds I’m making, thus avoiding getting lost in mixing/deflation! Haha! I think it’s working!

  4. Eve May 11, 2012 at 8:41 PM #

    First, lovely cake!

    Second, maybe go on epicurious or foodgawker (or tartlette she always has lovely looking cakes) on one of your days off and just for fun try out another genoise recipe? Maybe this one just isn’t “for” you and if you can conquer another maybe it’ll give you the confidence to fix or master your current one. I know that I’ve come across recipes that just didn’t work for me. I would try and fail again and again and just get ridiculously frustrated and defeated only to try a different one, succeed, and go back to the old one.

    At least you conquered the meringue! 😀

    Best of luck. 🙂


    – Eve

    • Jan May 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM #

      Hi Eve,
      Thanks for the suggestion! I think that is a great idea for me to try a different recipe and then go back to the original!

  5. Vreid June 12, 2016 at 8:30 AM #

    Where’s the cake BF Ingridients?

    • Janice June 12, 2016 at 1:47 PM #

      You can use any chocolate cake recipe (or chocolate sponge cake) you like. For this I used a chocolate génoise.


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