Chef Elizabeth’s Classic Black Forest Cake

Summer is in full swing and it is wonderful to have a show-off cake in your repertoire. My Classic Black Forest Cake always gets rave reviews and it a stunning summer time dessert. There is something magical about the combination of cream, cherries, chocolate and Kirsch. The cake recipe is so simple and makes a very delicious and moist cake. The only real time consuming element is the assembly.

I know it may seem complicated but if you like you can use a cake mix if you are pressed for time. If you are not good with a piping bag you can just spoon little piles on top of the cake – or eliminate the rosettes altogether. I would not use a canned whipping cream dispenser as the cream melts so quickly.

European Cakes often call for simple syrup, which is simply water, and sugar combined in equal amounts, brought to the boil to dissolve the sugar and then cooled. Left over syrup is a perfect liquid sweetener  for mixed drinks (I was once a bartender and this is one of their tricks) and in fruit salads. There are many ways to use this delicious syrup.

Kirsch, a cherry based liqueur may be hard to find – you can substitute another liqueur such as  grand marnier or brandy  if you like or omit it altogether if you do not like alcohol in your cakes. By the way Kirsch is that secret ingredient in Swiss Cheese Fondue.

 Cake Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups lukewarm water

3/4-cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 1/3 cups white sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

2 1/2 cups all -purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1-teaspoon salt


1/3-1/2 cup Kirsch liqueur for moistening the cake

Simple Syrup:

See notes

The Filling:

1 500 ml jar of pitted sour cherries drained and then soaked in kirsch

2-3 cups of heavy cream

1 teaspoon of Kirsch-

2-  9 g packets  (roughly 2 teaspoons Dr. Oetker Vanilla Sugar
2 – 10 gram  packets (roughly 2 teaspoons) of Dr. Oetker Whip it- ( stabilizer)

For Decorating:

3-4 ounces of grated semi-sweet chocolate grated

8 Macerated Sour Cherries



  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour two 9-inch pans, or use parchment paper liners. If you like you can use 4 pans, but I slice my cake after baking to create layers after the cake has cooled.
  1. In a large bowl or mixer place first six ingredients: the water, oil, beaten eggs, vanilla, sugar and sifted cocoa powder and beat on low speed or by hand for about 2 minutes or until the batter is well blended.
  1. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and then add to cocoa mixture and beat for an additional 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl.
  1. Divide into the pans and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  1. While the cakes are cooking, drain the cherries (reserve the juice to add to the simple syrup if you like) and soak in some kirsch.
  1. Once cooled, cut each of the cakes in half if you made just 2 layers and sprinkle with the simple syrup and or kirsch. I do both. You may have to level off the cakes at this stage or they will not stack easily.
  1. Whip the heavy cream and as it thickens add the vanilla sugar and the stabilizer if desired (it does help) and flavour with some kirsch if desired-
  1. Assemble the cake by spreading some whipped cream on the top of the cake and then distributing the cherries evenly on top and then repeat the process.
  1. Grate the chocolate and use it to decorate the sides and the top of the cake.
  1. Pipe 8 rosettes of whipped cream and top each rosette with a Kirsch marinated cherry.



Chef Elizabeth

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