This homemade Black Forest Cherry Cake is a bakery-quality dessert that folks rave about! It’s a cake you can serve for Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or anytime!

This Black Forest Cake recipe serves 10 and costs about $18.59 to make. That’s just $1.86 per serving! 

For a lighter variation of this cake, try my White Forest Cake

A close up picture of a slice of black forest cherry cake.


What is a Black Forest Cake?

Have you seen the meme that says, “How do you like your eggs?” And then it says, “in a cake!” Ummm, I can 100% relate! In a cake is how eggs are done best! End of story.

One of the best ways I can think of for eggs is to use them in this Black Forest Cake recipe. This cake is indeed a labor of love, but I promise that it is well worth it! I guarantee your guests will LOVE it!   

I love the flavor combination of chocolate and sweet and tart cherries in this Black Forest Cake recipe. The whipped cream frosting is my favorite because it’s creamy but not too sweet. The cake is especially chocolatey, just the way it should be!   

Do not let this cake intimidate you, because anyone can make it! Here is the secret: the chocolate shavings on the top and sides help make this cake very forgiving as far as decorating cakes goes. Meaning, you do not need to be a professional cake decorator to achieve a beautiful looking cake! 

I love the flavor combination of chocolate and sweet and tart cherries in this Black Forest Cake recipe. The whipped cream frosting is my favorite because it’s creamy but not too sweet. The cake is especially chocolatey, just the way it should be! 

A slice of the best black forest cake recipe on a white plate.


Black Forest Cake Ingredients & Cost



NOTE: The recipe prices are used calculating name-brand products from grocery store websites. The recipe’s actual cost will vary depending on what your pantry is already stocked with and current grocery prices. 

  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder $0.80
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour $0.29
  • 1 tsp baking soda $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder $0.07
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water $ 0.00
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate $1.97
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter $1.00
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar $0.72
  • 3 large eggs $0.30
  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.72
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate $2.96
  • 14.5 ounce can red tart cherries in water $3.42
  • 21 ounce can cherry pie filling $2.74
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar $0.18
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch $0.03
  • 3 cups heavy cream $2.91
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract $0.46
A picture of the black forest chocolate cake with a slice taken out of it.


How to make Black Forest Cake

STEP ONE: First, make the Devil’s Food Cake. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 15-20 minutes. 

STEP TWO: Next, prep the cherries and make the syrup. Then, poke the top of the cake layers with the back of a wooden spoon and brush with the remaining syrup. 

STEP THREE: Now, make the whipped cream frosting. Do this before assembling the cake. 

STEP FOUR: Lastly, assemble the cake. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Just before serving, decorate the top and sides of the cake. 

A picture collage of the recipe steps to ace this black forest cherry cake recipe.


Black Forest Cake Recipe tools & tips

  • (3) 9-inch round cake pans
  • Parchment paper
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Handheld mixer
  • Rubber scraper
  • Wire racks
  • Medium saucepan
  • Small saucepan 
  • Paring knife
A picture collage of all of the ingredients needed to make this black forest cake recipe.

How to store Black Forest Cherry Cake

Black Forest cherry cake is best stored in the refrigerator, as the whipped cream frosting can spoil if left at room temperature. To store the cake, cover it loosely with foil or plastic wrap. It will keep for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Black Forest Cherry Cake Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between chocolate cake and black forest cake?

Black Forest Cake uses chocolate cake as the base, and then there are layers of whipped cream and cherries. The cake is then topped with chocolate shavings and cherries. Basically, it’s an extreme version of a chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream. 

Why is it called Black Forest cake?

Black Forest Cake is named after the specialty liqueur from Germany, which was distilled from tart cherries. That’s a little boring, though. So I did a little more research. I found that the name was inspired by the women’s traditional costume of the Black Forest region in Germany. They wore a hat with big, red pom-poms to the top. How fun is that?!  

Does Black Forest cake need to be refrigerated?

Yes, it does need to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. If it is stored properly, it will be safe to eat for 3-4 days. 

What are the cherries in black forest cake called?

The cherries in Black Forest cake are typically called sour cherries or Morello cherries. They are small, dark red cherries with a tart flavor.

Where does Black Forest Cherry cake come from?

Black Forest Cherry cake, or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in German, comes from the Black Forest region of Germany. The cake is named after the region’s signature cherries and the kirschwasser liqueur, which is distilled from sour cherries.

Why is there red in a black forest cake?

The red in Black Forest cake comes from the sour cherries used in the cake.

Looking for more show-stopper desserts?

A close up picture of a slice of black forest cake being taken from the larger cake.
4.45 from 9 votes

Best Recipe for Black Forest Cake

Recipe Cost $ $18.59
Serving Cost $ $1.86
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 55 minutes
10 people
This homemade Black Forest Cake is bakery-quality and everyone raves about it!


  • (3) 9-inch round cake pans
  • parchment paper
  • mixing bowls
  • whisk
  • handheld mixer
  • rubber scraper
  • wire racks
  • medium saucepan
  • small saucepan
  • paring knife




  • 14.5 ounce can red tart cherries in water drained with the liquid reserved
  • 21 ounce can cherry pie filling
  • ½ cup granulated sugar



  • 6 ounces chunk semisweet chocolate



  • Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 3 9-inch round cake pan, then dust with cocoa powder and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
    Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the boiling water, chocolate, and ½ cup of the cocoa powder together until smooth.
    Stir the chocolate and coco powder mixture together until combined.
  • In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until incorporated.
    Beath the eggs, butter, flour, and vanilla.
  • Reduce the speed to low and beat in ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ½ of the chocolate mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining chocolate mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.
    Stir in the chocolate into the batter until combined.
  • Give the batter the final stir with a rubber scraper to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the tops, and gently tap the pans on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 15-20 minutes, rotating and switching the pans halfway through baking.
    Pour the cake batter into 3 9-inch pans and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Runs a small knife around the edge of the cakes, and then flip them out onto the wire racks. Peel off the parchment paper, and flip the cakes over again. Cool the cakes completely, about 2 hours.


  • Drain the sour cherries and reserve the cherry juice.
  • Slice the sour cherries in half and place then in a medium bowl.
  • Reserve 8 of the prettiest cherries from the pie filling for your garnish.
    Reserve the cherry juice to make a glaze.
  • Stir the remaining pie filling into the sliced sour cherries.
  • Simmer the reserved cherry juice and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the mixture is thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
    Pour the cherry juice into a saucepan.
  • Toss 1 tablespoon of the syrup with the cherries reserved for garnish. Toss 3 tablespoons of syrup with the sour and cherry pie filling mixture.
    Stir the cherry pie filling, tart cherries, and glaze together in a bowl.
  • Poke the top of the cake layers thoroughly with the back of a wooden spoon.
    Poke each cake layer with the back of a wooden spoon nd brush with the cherry glaze.
  • Brush the cake with the remaining syrup.


  • Whisk the sugar and the cornstarch together in a small saucepan and slowly whisk in ½ cup of the cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 2-3 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
    Stir the warmed cream, cornstarch, and whipped cream together until smooth and thickened
  • In a large bowl, whip the remaining 2 ½ cups cream and the vanilla together with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to whip the mixture until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Slowly add the cooled cornstarch mixture and continue to whip until the mixture forms soft peaks, 1-3 minutes.
    Beat the whipped cream until hard peaks forms.


  • Line the edges of a cake platter with strips of parchment paper to keep the platter clean while you assemble the cake. Place one of the cake layers on the platter. Spread ½ cup of the whipped cream over the top, right to the edge of the cake.
    Spread the whipped cream on top of the first cake, all the way to the edge.
  • Then, cover with half of the sliced cherries. Repeat with another cake layer, 1/2 cup more whipped cream, and the remaining sliced cherries.
    Place 1/3 of the cherries on top of the whipped cream. Add a cake layer on top followed by whipped cream and more cherries.
  • Place the remaining cake layer on top and press lightly to adhere. Frost the cake with the remaining whipped cream.
    Layer the 3 cake layers with whipped cream, and cherries.
  • Refrigerate the cake until it absorbs the soaking syrup, at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Before serving, let the cake sit at room temperature, 30-60 minutes.
  • Make the chocolate shavings by placing a chunk of chocolate on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Use a paring knife to scrape the chocolate to form chocolate shavings.
  • Gently press the chocolate shavings into the sides of the cake.
    Cover the cake in whipped cream and then with chocolate shavings.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with whipped cream, the reserved cherries, and chocolate shavings. Finally, slice and serve.
    Garnish the cake with pipped whipped cream and cherries.



  • Because of the whipped cream in this cake, I do not recommend freezing it. It will be a soupy mess if you do. 
  • This cake will cut into 10 hefty slices. You can easily get more slices out of the cake for smaller portions. 


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 577kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 254mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 1969IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 5mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. holy cow! that is soooo gorgeous! Yay to Curtis both for passing the bar, and for marrying someone who could make him such a cake.

  2. Jillian Wade says:

    Thanks, Lauren!

  3. Congratulations to him. I know for a fact how difficult the bar exam can be and what a relief it is to find out you passed. This cake is one of my favorites too. Sounds like a delicious way to celebrate.

  4. Jillian Wade says:

    Thanks, Lisa. =)

  5. This cake looks amazing! I love your step by step photos, those are so helpful when making this at home.

  6. Lauren Vavala | Delicious Little Bites says:

    This Black Forest Cake has been craving a slice right now! I just love the cherry and chocolate combination – so good!

  7. Bless my food by payal says:

    Black forest is my favourite cake and you have made it to utmost perfection.

  8. My dad LOVED this recipe for his birthday celebration! Thanks for a great recipe!

  9. Amanda Wren-Grimwood says:

    I haven’t had a black forest cake for years! This one looks amazing with all those cherries – can’t wait to make this for the family.

  10. This looks so delicious and scrumptious! I can’t wait to make this recipe