Decadent and dreamy, this Black Forest Cake is moist and perfectly balanced with the light sweetness of cherries and cream with the delicious flavor of chocolate.
There are so some really great reason to make this cake,
it’s one cake recipe and one frosting recipe,
that simplifies this cake a lot.
You typically see a three 3 or 4 layer black forest cake, but I’ve simplified it, which means you can make this cake any day of the week. But if you’re looking for a cake for bigger celebrating try my more traditional Black Forest Cake recipe. It’s equally delicious!
You’ll only be baking 1 8″ round cake for this recipe, then you’ll slice it in half into two thin layers. All the glory of a layer cake, but simplified. Perfect for smaller celebrating and such!
Dark in color and rich in chocolate flavor, this cake is paired with a sweet filling that doubles as a frosting. The flavor of cherry mingles and lingers as it mixes with heavy cream, creating a light texture packed with taste.
This historic cake has been around for many centuries beginning in the 1600’s. Its trademark name can be attributed to the Black Forest region of Baden-Wurttemberg. I’m certainly glad it made its way to the states so we could all enjoy it.
To begin, preheat the oven to 350°.
While the oven heats, prepare an 8″ round cake pan with a baking spray, I use Baklene. You can also use oil to coat the pan and then lightly dust flour in and around the pan, moving it to be sure all areas are coated. This is done so the cake can be removed easily.
In a medium bowl with a whisk or mixer, add butter and sugar and whip until smooth.
Add in the egg along with vanilla. You may add a little cherry extract if you’d like for extra cherry flavor. Mix to combine.
Then blend in cocoa, baking soda, salt, and flour.
Next, add in buttermilk, water, and cherry juice and mix until smooth.
Pour your batter into prepared baking pans (wrap with a wet baking strip to bake cake evenly)
Bake at 350° for 33-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then place wax paper over the top of the cake to turn the cake so the bottom is on the cooling rack.
Cool your cake completely before applying any frosting unless you want to see your frosting melt!
While the cake is cooling, we will work on our filling and frosting.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. You can also use a medium bowl with a hand mixer.
Reduce your speed to low and add in powdered sugar. Mix on low until the sugar is incorporated. Resist the temptation to increase the speed as doing so will cause your ingredients to fly out and make a mess.
Once the butter and sugar are combined, drizzle in the heavy cream and whip the mixture on high until it’s fluffy.
Remove the bowl from the mixer.
You will split the frosting into half by removing 1/2 and putting it into a small bowl.
Next, Dice 7 of the cherries and add to the small bowl of frosting along with the 2 tablespoons of cherry juice
This will be the filling in the cake.
Once the cake is cool, cut the cake in half using a thin serrated knife. (you’ll then have two portions of cake, that you’ll make into a small layer cake)
Spread the cherry frosting on the bottom cake layer, then place the top cake layer on top.
Set aside while we get the topping together.
Add the vanilla extract to the remaining frosting and mix well. No need to use the mixer, just a spatula. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake.
At this point, it’s all about artistry! You can top with chocolate curls (they are so cute, THESE are similar to the curls I used).
You can also use a potato peeler and shave off some chocolate from your favorite chocolate bar. And I think I may have to get THIS tool as it makes shaving chocolate super easy. Mini chocolate chips can also be used in place of the curls.
Then place some Cherries on the top center of the cake.
Usually, I use a potato peeler and shave curls off a chocolate bar.
Now, as tempted as you may be to dig right in, restrain yourself. Chill the cake for 30 minutes, this will set up the frosting so the cake will be stable when you slice it.
Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.
What is a baking strip and where do I find them?
Good Question! I love using these little miracles, they keep my cake from crowning in the middle, allowing me to have a very flat-topped cake – which adds a professional flair! They aren’t necessary, as you can make a cake without them, but you can buy baking strips here.
Could I use melted chocolate in place of cocoa- powder?
The simple answer is yes. But it’s tricky. It’s recommended to substitute 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder with one ounce of dark baking chocolate. You’ll have to melt the chocolate down and add it in after the butter and sugar. Because it’s a liquid, you’ll want to omit a tablespoon of butter.
Can I substitute the buttermilk?
This is a common question, and yes, you can. It will take away a bit of tang but will still work excellently. To do this, you’ll measure one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to every cup of milk. It’s important to note that you need the milk fat, so whole milk or 2% is recommended.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cherry extract, if desired
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup dutch process cocoa, or unsweetened cocoa
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup buttermilk (or ¼ cup milk and 2 teaspoons vinegar blended)
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice can be added, just reduce the water by the 2 tablespoons if you add the cherry juice.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Prepare an 8" round cake pan with a baking spray or oil and flour pan, so the cake releases easily (I use Baklene)
- In a medium bowl add butter and sugar and whisk until well blended.
- Add in the egg along with vanilla and cherry extract if using, mix to combine.
- Add in cocoa, baking soda, salt, and stir in flour
- Add in buttermilk and stir,
- then add in water and cherry juice, whisk until smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan (wrap with a wet baking strip to bake cake evenly)
- Bake at 350° for 33-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then place wax paper over the top of the cake to turn cake onto a cooling rack.
- Cool cake completely before applying any frosting.
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 maraschino cherries
- 2 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
- chocolate curls
- 1 choc cake recipe 8" round
- In the bowl of a mixer beat butter until smooth.
- Add in powdered sugar and start to mix on low until the sugar is incorporating so it doesn't fly out and make a mess.
- Drizzle in the heavy cream and whip the frosting on high until it's fluffy. (the heavy cream will help whip it up fluffy)
- Remove the bowl from the mixer.
- Split the frosting into half by removing ½ and putting it into a small bowl.
- Dice 7 of the cherries.
- Then add those7 diced cherries along with 2 tablespoons of cherry juice to the small bowl of frosting. This will be the filling in the cake.
- When the cake is cool, cut the cake in half (so you'll have the two layers)
- Spread the cherry frosting on the bottom cake layer, then place the top cake layer on it.
- Add the vanilla extract to the remaining frosting and spread it over the top of the cake.
- Top with chocolate curls (or mini chocolate chips) and add the remaining cherries to the top center of the cake.
- Chill the cake for 30 minutes, this will set up the frosting so the cake will be stable when you slice it.
- Remove the cake from the fridge to come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.