Authentic Black Forest Cake Recipe – German Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

This authentic Black Forest cake recipe is the traditional German chocolate cake, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. With its layers of chocolate cake, kirsch-permeated cherries and whipped cream, it’s a decadent dessert! This version is one of the easier ones to make, so you can enjoy this world-famous treat any time you wish. (Drizzle Kirschwasser over the cake layers and added to the cherries if this is for adults.)

Prep Time

1 hr

Bake Time

30 min

Total Time

5 hr 30 min


Makes 16 slices


For the cake:

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • ⅞ cup (175 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) lukewarm water
  • ⅔ cup (87 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (64 grams) cornstarch
  • ½ cup (42 grams) cocoa powder

Filling and Decoration:

  • 1½ 24-ounce (680-gram) jars pitted morello sour or tart whole cherries 
  • 4 teaspoons (11 grams) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla sugar 
  • 3 cups (720 milliliters) heavy (whipping) cream, divided 
  • 3 pouches DR. OETKER Whip It (Sahnesteif)
  • 3 tablespoons (39 grams) granulated sugar or to taste, divided
  • 3 tablespoons (30 milliliters) kirschwasser (cherry liqueur or cherry brandy), divided, optional
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) dark chocolate shavings


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and set aside. Do NOT grease the sides of the pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites, slowly adding sugar and vanilla sugar, until stiff peaks form. 
  3. In a small bowl, mix egg yolks with water. Gently fold into stiffly beaten egg white mixture. 
  4. In another bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, and cocoa. Sift over egg mixture. Fold in gently and pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan, leveling the top. 
  5. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the outer ring to loosen the cake. Remove outer ring and invert onto wire rack. Remove parchment paper. When the cake is cold, cover with a towel and let stand for about 2 hours before filling. 

For the filling:

  1. Drain the cherries, saving the liquid. Measure the cherry liquid and add water or juice to make 1¼ cups and pour into a small saucepan. Add in cornstarch and vanilla sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 1 – 2 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat. Add 1 tablespoon of Kirschwasser, if using.
  2. Put 16 nice cherries into a bowl and set aside. Add remaining cherries to the saucepan, stir, and let cool. 
  3. Whip 1 cup of cream with 1 pouch Whip It according to package instructions, adding 1 tablespoon granulated sugar once peaks start forming.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Cut the cake into 3 layers. Drizzle kirschwasser over cake layers.
  2. Place bottom cake layer onto a serving plate. Put a cake ring (or springform ring) around the cake. Pipe a row of whipped cream along the top edge of the layer. Spread half the cherry mixture within the cream circle. Add second cake layer and repeat piping with whipped cream and fill with the rest of the cherries. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the cherries. Add third cake layer. Press down slightly until level. 
  3. Cover with plastic wrap or a cake dome and let cake sit in the fridge for about 2 hours. 
  4. Whip the remaining 2 cups of cream with 2 pouches Whip It according to package instructions, adding 2 tablespoons granulated sugar once peaks start forming.
  5. Remove cake ring. Put some whipped cream into a pastry bag with a fluted tip. Cover top and sides of the entire cake with remaining whipped cream. Pipe 16 rosettes on top. Decorate with cherries. Pat the chocolate shavings around the side of the cake.


  • You can replace the vanilla sugar with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and add that to the egg yolks.
  • Can't find morello cherries? Use any other jarred sour cherries or canned pitted dark cherries. I've also used thawed frozen cherries. 
  • You can add a bit of cherry syrup to the filling to amp up the cherry flavor.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate curls from room temperature best quality dark chocolate bar.
  • I love using sliced almonds to decorate. It's not traditional but it tastes so good!
  • Traditionally, the Schwarzwälder kirschtorte has up to half a cup of kirschwasser (cherry liqueur or cherry brandy) sprinkled over the baked cake layers. You can also add one tablespoon of kirschwasser to the whipped cream.
  • If you don't want to use alcohol, use cherry juice in its stead. 
  • Want a really EASY version of this cake. Try this easy German Black Forest Cherry Cake -- this one uses a chocolate cake mix, whipped cream, and cherry pie filling.
  • Something a bit different? Try Black Forest Cherry Dessert -- uses soda crackers, cherry pie filling, and chocolate pudding. It's REALLY, REALLY good! (I know it sounds strange!)
  • You can make your own vanilla sugar.

*  *  *  *  *

Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma |

02.28.2024 revision update