This decadent Halloween-worthy Black Forest Cake is loaded with dark cherries and rich chocolate. Every bite is chocolaty, perfectly moist, and totally delicious. It's sure to impress even the biggest chocoholic in your life!
We decided to fully embrace Halloween this year, and went a little bit nuts buying decorations for our house - plastic flying bat decorations, glowing skulls, carved pumpkins, skeletons and fake hands, we have it all.
To get in the spirit of Halloween I also decided to do some Halloween baking.
Last year I made Chocolate Halloween Cookies and this year I decided to take the Halloween baking up a notch.
The funny thing is though, this Black Forest Cake wasn't actually supposed to be a Halloween cake, but as I was putting it together I thought the chocolate shards surrounding the delicious Black Forest Cake encased inside looked a little like an evil castle....
Or maybe that's just me and my overactive imagination!
So I grabbed some plastic spiders and a few Halloween decorations and turned it into a pretty scary cake!
But of course, you could decorate this cake more gracefully for a birthday or other lighter celebration.
What is Black Forest Cake?
Black forest cake is a rich, chocolate sponge cake with a cherry filling.
This decadent dessert originated in Germany, where it is known as a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, which translates to Black Forest Cherry Torte.
It typically includes several layers of dark chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream, and cherries.
And it always contains kirschwasser, a clear spirit made from sour cherries. In fact, German law mandates that it contains this kirschwasser to be labeled as a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.
Black Forest Cake Ingredients
The more modern versions of Black Forest Cake are a bit less stringent on the rules. Our cake doesn't include any liquor (although now I want to try that), and I prefer to serve it with whipped cream on the side rather than layered in the cake.
The only two ingredients that are non-negotiable for a Black Forest cake are: 1) dark chocolate, and 2) cherries!
Recipe Inspired by Donna Hay
The original recipe for this cake comes from Donna Hay's latest magazine. There were so many delicious treats inside, but the recipe for little individual Black Forest Cakes caught my eye and I knew I had to make it.
I decided to make one big cake rather than the mini ones, and made a few other small modifications, but the cake is absolutely delicious.
I honestly think it's the best Black Forest Cake recipe out there!
When I served a slice to my husband after I took these photos all I could hear was "Mmmmm" as he quickly devoured it. It's rich and chocolatey and deliciously moist, with sweet juicy cherries hidden inside.
How to Make Black Forest Cake
Despite the elaborate look of this cake, it was actually a pretty simple recipe that was easy to make. It does take a bit of time - so it's a great weekend project for the family!
The recipe calls for preparing a simple (but rich) dark chocolate cake and an easy chocolate ganache. The full recipe is below, but I'll give you a few extra tips here.
Rather than baking the cake in individual layer pans, I simply prepared one large cake in an 8" springform pan. When it was finished baking, I cut it in half to create a top and bottom layer. So easy!
The recipe also calls for melted dark chocolate in order to make the ganache for frosting your Black Forest Cake. If you have a double boiler, that's always the best way to melt your chocolate without burning it.
But if you don't have one, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave. Just microwave in 15-20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is fully melted.
The trickiest part of this cake is the chocolate shards. My advice - just go with the flow! If the pieces don't come out exactly the shape and size that you envisioned, the cake is still going to taste just a delicious. So just have fun with it.
For more Halloween treats, be sure to check out these mummy cakesicles, these ghoulish cupcakes, or this sinful Spooky Black Forest Cake. Yummy!
Black Forest Cake
- ½ cup butter (110g) softened
- 1 cup caster sugar (220g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (150g) sifted
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder (40g) sifted
- 1 ¼ tsp baking powder sifted
- ½ cup milk
- 15 oz can of pitted cherries (425g) drained and syrup reserved
- 400 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate melted
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 300 g dark chocolate chopped
- whipped cream optional, for serving
- Parchment paper
- 8" springform pan
- double boiler optional
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 celsius) Fahrenheit) and grease an 8" (20 cm) spring form pan.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until light and creamy.
- Gradually add the eggs and beat well between each addition.
- Fold through the flour, cocoa, baking powder and milk until combined.
- Scatter the cherries through the cake mixture and fold through. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.
- To make the chocolate ganache place the cream and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside and let it come to room temperature.
- To make the chocolate shards collect some parchment paper, a spatula and a ruler (or something similarly flat). Place 1 large sheet of baking paper on the kitchen bench and pour the melted chocolate over the top. (You can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or just in the microwave.) Smooth with a spatula and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Use the side of the ruler to smooth out the chocolate to a smooth even layer, leaving a 2cm border at the edge. Carefully roll the parchment paper into a roll and place into the refrigerator to set.
- Cut the cake in half (so you have a top and bottom layer) and drizzle each half of the cake with the reserved cherry syrup. Note I used only half of the syrup, but it's up to you how much you use. Leave the cakes for 30 minute to allow the syrup to soak into the cake.
- To assemble the cake, spread ganache over the bottom half of the cake before topping with the top of the cake. Cover the outside of the cake with the ganache, using an angled spatula. Remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and unroll. This will crack the chocolate into shards. Arrange the shards around the cake, pressing into the ganache to secure.
- Serve with whipped cream.
Gorgeous (and creepy) cake!
Winnie Myers says
So I LOVE the pictures in this post- very halloween! voted for your pineapple recipe!
Katherine Martinelli says
Wow, this cake is beautiful for any time of year but I love how you dressed it up for Halloween! Thanks for submitting it to my Halloween blog hop! 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
That looks great! I saw it in the new Donna magazine and earmarked it to try. It worked out beautifully! 😀 And I love the Halloween theme too 😉
Roxana GreenGirl says
This looks like the perfect cake for Halloween. Love the chocolate bark and the decorations!
Thanks Roxana 😀
I LOVE Halloween too! Perhaps we should start a Brisbane Halloween revolution?
I have already purchased my cupcake liners, jack o'lantern cookie cutter (complete with evil grin), and two sizes of spooky cat cookie cutters all in time for the Halloween baking fest that I shall surely be undertaking in my kitchen next weekend.
Before that though, can I have a slice of that gorgeous cake ?
Happy Halloween friend 🙂
Of course you can Amy 😀 I'll courier one over.
This cake looks absolutely incredible - I love what you've done with the chocolate decoration and it's spooky but sophisticated at the same time. I'll be celebrating Halloween with a hollowed out pumpkin, pumpkin cheesecake brownies and lots of sweets and treats 🙂
Decadent and sinister - what a fantastic cake! I love that you have embraced Halloween down under, it really is such a fun holiday 🙂
Thanks Liren. I hope more people embrace it 😀
Sweet Artichoke says
Your black forest looks delicious and I love the spooky Halloween presentation with the crunchy insects, LOL!
Yummmm chocolate.... I have to agree with Lily I would end up hiding it and keeping it for myself!
This is a really impressive-looking cake! I love chocolate!
Thank you Melanie 😀 I love chocolate too!
Kristin @ The Pastry Affair says
This is GORGEOUS. It almost doesn't look real, the lighting is so perfect. I love it. I've tried so many times to master the chocolate shards on the side of the cake and I've never been able to do it. I'm so using your method next time.
Seriously gorgeous. I can't get over it.
Thank you so much Kristin. 😀 Chocolate shards are tricky, but if you would like some tips feel free to email me 😀
Im not a massive cherry fan so dont normally go for BFC but OMG this looks amaaaazing! Your shards are fab :)!!!
Baker Street says
Woah! That cake sure looks creepy! Well done J!
Thank you! 😀
Fahad Khan says
Such a mouth-watering cake;Looks incredibly delicious!And when I say mouth-watering,I so much mean it,since my mouth is watering!Hehe.Rather easy recipe,I am going to serve cream on the side as well rather than sandwiching it between layers.
Thank you for sharing!:-) Great to discover your vegetarian blog.
Thank you for your kind words Fahad, and for stopping by. I hope you will be back. 😀
Love the chocolate work you did here, really has a spookiness to it. Love finding Halloween ideas.
Chez Us says
Jennifer - I love this idea for a Halloween dessert. The added bugs are fantastic!!
Thank you so much 😀
I love looking at all the halloween decorations at the shops and am always so tempted to buy them.....but we don't really celebrate it so there's not much of a point 🙁 I've never even been trick-or-treating!! So I LOVE the pictures in this post- very halloween! The cake look delicious too- but it's so good to look at, I probably wouldn't want to eat it until halloween is actually over!! haha....
Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice says
Looks awesome!! Great work! Love the scary bark 🙂
Thanks Yasmeen 😀
a spoonful of yumm says
wow that is some cake !! looks fabulous
Christina @ The Hungry Australian says
This looks incredible! I'm in awe of your baking, decorating, styling and photographic skills. My kids would LOVE this.
Thank you so much Christina 😀 You're too kind 🙂
Sneh | Cook Republic says
Love love the grisly and sooooooooooo delicious pictures!!!
ooh what an awesome looking cake Jennifer. Leaving aside the creepy crawlies - I think I'd like a slice please!
Thank you Meeta 😀
WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! <--- I'm speechless! This looks great eventhough I am petrified of creepy crawlies, even those fake rubber ones! Well done Jennifer!
Thank you Martyna 😀
Emma Galloway says
Oooh scary looking cake ! Looks yum as though 🙂
This is absolutely beautiful! I really envy the people that have the skill to make such delicately beautiful and perfect cakes.
Thank you Juls. 😀 It's certainly not perfect, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out 🙂
How 'awesome' is that cake?! Love how you've spooked it up. We don't celebrate Halloween in Dubai either so it will pass like ay other day. Perhaps when M is older, we'll do something together!
Wow, this cake is to die for! The photos and the decoration are stunning! I love it so much, I'm intrigued to make it myself :)))
There are no Halloween celebrations in my country either, but last year we started a tradition for Halloween parties, so now I have a reminder on my phone - "Organize a Halloween party" which will blink every year from now on 🙂
Maybe we'll see a Halloween post or two from you next year 😀
Oh. My. Goodness... that cake looks TO DIE FOR!!!
I think the scariest thing about it is that I could probably eat the whole thing myself if I had half a chance 😉
That's the scariest thing about it for me too! 😀
jen @ giftboxology says
voted for your pineapple recipe!
love this cake but i cannot possibly make it as i would eat it all in a matter of days.....
tweeted comp entry again!
Thanks Jen 😀
Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says
Love how decadent and dark this looks -- great idea to turn it into a halloween theme!
Thanks Xiaolu! 😀
This looks amazing! I'm not sure if I'm up to the technicalities but I might give it a go. As it's Halloween I can hide my mistakes as a pile of icky mud 🙂
Hi Trish, the cake isn't really that difficult. The most difficult part is the chocolate shards, but really it's only a little bit fiddly, and if you have the Donna Hay iPad app there is a great video on how to make the shards. 😀
Loved the way you decked up the cake for halloween..looks so moist,decadent & spooky at the same time Boo!
The cake is incredibly moist and luscious Tanvi. It's delicious and evil because it's so hard to resist!! 😀
wow this rocks your a pro
Thanks Rebecca 😀