This decadent 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, which is now available on the iPad. As soon as I received an email letting me know the app was available I downloaded it right away, and I wasn’t disappointed.
There were so many delicious treats inside, as well as video content, 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.
Black Forest Cake
This decadent Black Forest Cake is loaded with dark cherries and rich chocolate. Every bite is chocolaty, perfectly moist, and totally delicious. [Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Oct-Nov 2011]
- 1/2 cup butter (110g) softened
- 1 cup caster sugar (220g)
- 1 tso vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (150g) sifted
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (40g) sifted
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder sifted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 15 oz can of pitted cherries (425g) drained and syrup reserved
- CHOCOLATE SHARDS
- 400 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate melted
- CHOCOLATE GANACHE
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 300 g dark chocolate chopped
- FOR SERVING
- whipped cream optional, for serving
- SUPPLIES NEEDED
- parchment paper
- 8" spring form 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.
Donna's recipe included adding a layer of cream between the layers of cake. I prefer to serve whipped cream on the side.