Black Forest Cake
  • 42 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 27 g (1/4 cup) Dutch-process cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 135 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) kirsch
  • 1 L (4 cups) whipping cream
  • 115 g (1 cup) (4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 750 mL jar of sour cherries (about 2 cups drained)
  • 150 g (or more) of semi-sweet chocolate in a single block
  1. Preheat your oven to 175 °C (350 °F) and move a rack to the centre. Butter and flour a 25 cm (10”) springform cake pan that is at least 7.5 cm (3”) deep.
  2. Melt the butter, then set it aside to cool while you get started on the rest of the cake.
  3. Tear off a large sheet of parchment paper. Onto it, sift the flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla on high until the mixture has tripled in volume and is very thick (about 8 minutes). The batter should form a thick ribbon when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Don’t skimp on the beating!
  5. Lower the mixer speed to “stir” and use the parchment paper to slowly funnel the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. As soon as all of the dry ingredients have been added, stop the mixer and remove the bowl. We’ll be doing the rest by hand.
  6. Drizzle the cooled melted butter around the edge of the bowl, leaving the milky solids behind. Use a rubber spatula and light hand to carefully fold the butter and any remaining dry ingredients into the batter with as few strokes as possible. We’re counting on the whipped eggs to act as a leavener, so we don’t want to deflate them.
  7. Immediately scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan, place the pan on a baking sheet (in case it leaks) and bake until the cake feels just firm to the touch (about 40 minutes). Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool completely.
  8. In the meantime, get started on the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ½ cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Add the kirsch and remove from heat. Pour the syrup into a small cup or bowl and set aside.
  9. A few hours before you want to assemble the cake, chill the bowl and whisk attachment for your stand mixer. When you’re ready to go, fill the chilled bowl with the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until the cream holds firm peaks.
  10. Drain the cherries, set aside eight to 12 for garnish, and divide the rest into two equal piles.
  11. Use a long, serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into three even layers. Transfer the top layer to a serving plate, top side down, then brush it liberally with ⅓ of the syrup (about ¼ cup). Spread on a thick layer of whipped cream, up to 1.3 cm (0.5”), then sprinkle half of the cherries evenly on top.
  12. Place the middle cake layer on top of the cherries and press it lightly into the whipped cream. Brush this second layer with syrup, spread on the whipped cream and sprinkle the remaining cherries on top.
  13. Place the third cake layer on top of the cherries and press it lightly with the whipped cream. Brush this final layer with syrup. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on top and a thicker layer on the sides.
  14. Use a vegetable peeler to create decorative chocolate curls or shavings from the block of chocolate. Fill your cool, cupped palm with chocolate shavings and tilt it onto the side of the cake. Rotate the cake between handfuls until you’ve covered the perimeter.
  15. Scoop the remaining whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe rosettes or a border on top. Garnish with the rest of the cherries and chocolate shavings.
  16. Refrigerate the cake for at least four hours before serving.
Black forest cake can be quite boozy. This version is not at all. If you want a completely alcohol-free version, replace the kirsch in the syrup with 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp almond extract. If you want to amp up the alcohol, drain the jarred cherries from their syrup and soak them in kirsch for several hours before re-draining them for cake construction.
Recipe by The Casual Baker at