A stunning Black Forest Cake decorated with fresh cherries.

Let's Bake

Easy Black Forest Cake recipe

Yield Serves 12-14 1x
Prep: 60 minutesCook: 30 minutesTotal: 1 hour 30 minutes

Beautiful Black Forest Cake covered in whipped cream.


Chocolate cake

  • 315 grams (2 and 1/4 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour, sifted
  • 80 grams (1 cup) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 250 grams (1 and 1/4 cups) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 90 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 240 ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon full fat sour cream
  • 240 ml (1 cup) hot water

Cherry syrup

  • 500 grams Morello cherries, in syrup
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour or corn starch
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) kirsch or cherry liqueur, if using


  • 600 ml (2 and 1/2 cups) thickened or heavy cream (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons) good quality dark chocolate, grated
  • Fresh cherries, to decorate


  1. Chocolate cake
    Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Grease and line two 8-inch round cake pans with baking or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and sugars. Briefly whisk or stir using a spatula.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, add buttermilk, oil, vanilla, eggs and sour cream. Whisk with a fork just to break up the egg yolks. 
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Start stirring, while slowly pouring in the hot water. Continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly into prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Leave for 10 minutes before gently removing the cakes, and placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Cherry syrup
    Set aside one cup (200 grams) of Morello cherries, reserving 3/4 cup (180 ml) of cherry syrup. In a small saucepan, add cherry syrup, sugar and cornflour. Heat on medium-low, stirring constantly, for approximately 3-4 minutes or until syrup thickens.
  8. Stir in cherry liqueur, if using. Set aside to cool completely. Cherry syrup should reduce to approximately 1/2 cup (120 ml) of liquid. 
  9. Whipped cream
    Add cream and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Use a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer and start whisking on low speed. Turn the mixer up to medium speed.
  10. Continue to mix and watch closely as the cream changes texture. Instead of going by time, look for visual clues. Your cream will slowly thicken and become smooth, creamy, and cloud-like.
  11. Turn your mixer back to a low speed or swap for a hand whisk. Continue to beat until you see the cream turn thick and stiff. When this happens, stop immediately or you’ll over-whip your cream.
  12. Assemble cake
    Use a serrated knife to level the tops of both cakes, to ensure they are flat. Place one chocolate cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Use a pastry brush or spoon to generously coat the top of the cake in cherry syrup.
  13. Cover in a generous layer of whipped cream and spread into one even layer. Carefully place morello cherries all over the top. Drizzle over more cherry syrup.
  14. Place remaining chocolate cake layer on top (I like to place it upside down). Generously brush more cherry syrup on top of the chocolate cake. Spread whipped cream all over the top and sides of the cake. Use a teaspoon to swoosh the cream into swirls.  
  15. Decorate with grated chocolate and fresh cherries.


Cocoa powder: You will need to use unsweetened natural cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder for this recipe. Either will work well! Do not use sweetened chocolate powder.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk ensures this cake has a soft and tender crumb – and stays moist for days. I recommend using storebought full fat buttermilk if you can. Alternatively, you can create a substitute but using 1/2 cup (120 ml) of regular milk and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of full fat Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Sour cream: Just a small amount of sour cream is added for richness. If you don’t have any sour cream, you can use a full fat Greek or natural yogurt. Or you can leave it out.

Oil: You can use any flavourless oil – I like to use grapeseed oil as it does not add any oil taste, but makes a very moist and tender cake. 

Morello cherries: I use jarred or canned Morello cherries in syrup. You’ll use both the cherries and the syrup in the recipe. You could also use canned or jarred sour cherries. 

Cherry liqueur: You can use any cherry liqueur, cherry brandy or kirsch you prefer. Alternatively, you can leave it out. However, it does help to really intensify that cherry flavour.

Thickened cream: Find a high-fat (at least 35% fat) cream that is designed for whipping. Read the label to find the right cream for you – here in Australia, I use thickened cream. It may be called whipping cream or heavy cream.

Storage: Keep Black Forest Cake in the fridge until serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 slice Calories: 708 Sugar: 58.4 g Sodium: 189.1 mg Fat: 23.3 g Carbohydrates: 90.3 g Protein: 6.3 g Cholesterol: 66.9 mg
Nutrition information is a guide only.
Author: Jessica HolmesCategory: DessertCuisine: American
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