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The Black Forest Cake Recipe

Black Forest Cake

While black forest cake recipes can vary to a great extent, in most instances, a Black Forest Cherry Torte or the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (as it’s called in Germany) is a Gateau-style chocolate cake or a sponge cake that is completely soaked with Kirschwasser (cherry schnapps). It’s also filed with whipped cream and cherries and will be filled and topped with chocolate shavings. Traditionally in Germany, cherry schnapps is a mandatory ingredient in the black forest cake, which can’t be legally sold if it’s made without it.

Black Forest Cake – An Overview

Southern Germany (Der Schwarzwald) has a region called the Black Forest; this is known for its deliciously sour Morello cherries as well as for Kirsch/Kirschwasser (double-distilled and clear cherry brandy that is made from these cherries). Therefore it’s not surprising that the desserts that are made with Kirsch and the cherries are a very integral part of the region’s cuisine. The German name for the cake is Schwarzwälderkirschtorte- the Black Forest Cherry Torte (the word torte is German for cake).

The Cake

This chocolate cake has many layers of Kirsch-soaked sour morello cherries and whipped cream. The additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries & chocolate curls/shavings makes it a truly rich dessert. The black forest cake layers will be soaked in the Kirsch syrup (alternatively, rum or brandy can be used). Australian recipes omit these spirits in order to make this cake much more family-friendly. Today, the “Black Forest Gateau” or the “Black Forest Cherry Cake” is probably one of the most-famous German desserts.

Some Interesting Facts

This is quite interesting simply because the inspiration for it might just have originated in Switzerland. The cherry firewater or kirschwasser on which the current day cake is based, originally came from the land that lies around many central Swiss lakes. Even today, this region is very famous for it; and is home to world-famous brands such as Dettling and Etter. These spirits made their way to the Rhine Valley as well as the Black Forest. This is where it began being manufactured up until the mid to the late- 1800’s. Slowly but surely, the popularity of the Black Forest cake spread across Europe, the U.S and Australia. Here is a quick & basic Black Forest Cake recipe:

The Black Forest Cake Recipe


  • 1 x 470g packet chocolate-cake mix
  • 1 x 670g jar of Morello cherries
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 600-ml of thickened cream
  • 60-ml (1/4th cup) kirsch
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 100g extra-dark cooking chocolate (coarsely grated)


    1. Prepare and bake the chocolate-cake mix (follow packet directions).
    2. Turn onto a wire-rack to cool completely.
    3. Using a large serrated knife, cut the cooled cake horizontally into three layers.
    4. Drain the cherries and reserve 160ml (2/3th cup) of the juice.
    5. Reserve 10 cherries for decorating the cake.
    6. Place remaining cherries and juice in a saucepan.
    7. Add sugar & corn flour.
    8. Stir over medium-low-heat until the entire mixture boils & thickens.
    9. Transfer it to a larger bowl.
    10. Cover with a plastic wrap & place in the refrigerator to chill.
    11. Beat cream with an electric beater until firm peaks emerge.
    12. Place kirsch, water & extra sugar inside a jug – stir until all the sugar dissolves.
    13. Place a cake layer on your serving plate, drizzle over 50% of the kirsch mixture.
    14. Spread with 50% of the cherry mixture.
    15. Add a layer of cream.
    16. Repeat with the rest of the cake, cherry mixture, kirsch mixture and cream.
    17. Finish with a layer of the cake.
    18. Spread some cream over the top-layer and side of the cake.
    19. Sprinkle chocolate shavings over the top and gently press onto the sides of the cake.
    20. Place the rest of the cream in a piping-bag that has a 1cm fluted -nozzle and pipe some rosettes around the entire edge of the Black Forest cake.
    21. Arrange reserved cherries right round the cake and between all the cream rosettes.
    22. Cut the cake into large wedges to serve.



Today, the Black Forest cake is a very popular dessert across the country and you will find variants of it in different cake shops and French patisseries.

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Ganache Patisserie
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