Authentic Black Forest Cake Recipe ~ German Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

➤ by Oma Gerhild Fulson

This authentic Black Forest cake recipe is THE traditional German chocolate cake, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. With its layers of chocolate sponge cake, kirsch-permeated cherries and whipped cream frosting, it truly is a delightful dessert.

This version is one of the easier ones to make, so even if you're not an experienced baker, you can enjoy this world-famous treat any time you wish.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important & interesting stuff to know right below.

Below, I've decorated it with sliced almonds on the sides and jarred sour cherries on top, a rather non-traditional way. Or, make it totally traditional with chocolate shavings surrounding the sides and fresh cherries on top of the cake.

This traditional German Black Forest cake is so easy to make. Try making this creamy, delicious cake yourself. Great for birthdays!

To be authentic, Kirschwasser is drizzled over the delicious chocolate cake layers and also added to the cherry filling. Topped with whipped heavy (whipping) cream, chocolate shavings, and cherries, this Black Forest cake is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat. WUNDERBAR!

Why is it called Black Forest Cake?

The easy answer could be that it's from the Black Forest region of Germany. (That's in Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany). That may be true or not.

No actual record of this cake's origin exists. There are several theories, however.

One is that the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, literally translated as "Black Forest Cherry Torte", takes its name from the distinctive kirsch liquor (Schwarzwälder Kirsch or Kirschwasser) that is made from the Black Forest sour cherries.

Another gives the credit for this delicious cake to Josef Keller of the Cafe Ahrend in Bad Godesberg in Bonn, in 1915.

Whichever it is, this rich dessert is now world-known as one of Germany's most recognizable and best loved cake.

Oma says ...

By the way, that's me below, many, many, many years ago, with our oldest granddaughter, Alana, and the first time she had an authentic black forest cake, minus the kirsch. To amp up the cherry flavor, I used some cherry juice, a great alternative when serving this cake to children.

The handsome young man?

Well, that's Richard (aka Eran), our youngest son. You can read about his culinary escapades in Rich's Meals.

As you can see, EVERYONE loves Black Forest cake!

Using maraschino cherries is an Americanized addition to this, my first authentic Black Forest  cake recipe was served for my granddaughter, Alana's fourth birthday ... many, many years ago.

Maraschino cherries have become the staple topping for Black Forest cakes throughout much of the world. However, that's not the case in Germany. Schattenmorellen (Morello sour cherries) are used in the filling as well as the deco on top.

Additional notes on making this Black Forest Cake

NOTE: The cake needs at least four hours of resting time, so take that into your "time" consideration. The cake could be baked the day before filling as well.

Even though it takes some time, this IS the cake to make that will impress your guests with your culinary skills.

Grab your copy of Oma's favorites in her Special Occasion German Cakes & Tortes e-Cookbook.

Take a look at Oma’s Special Occasion Cakes & Tortes eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

Want a quick & easy Black Forest Cake?

For a quick and easy version, check out my really Easy Black Forest Cake -- this one uses your favorite chocolate cake mix, heavy (whipping) cream, and cherry pie filling. It's easy and delicious and QUICK! A very easy Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte recipe that's simple enough for beginner bakers (or if you're in a real hurry.)

Ready to bake your authentic Black Forest cake recipe?

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.) Use either chocolate shavings or sliced almonds (like I did here.)

Prep Time

1 hr

Bake Time

30 min

Total Time

5 hr 30 min

Servings:

Makes 12 slices

Ingredients:

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
  • 3 tablespoons (39 grams) granulated sugar or to taste, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) kirschwasser (cherry liqueur or cherry brandy)
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) dark chocolate shavings (or sliced almonds)

Instructions:

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. 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 to make 1¼ cups and pour into a small saucepan. Add in cornstarch and vanilla sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once thickened, remove from heat.
  2. Put 12 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. 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 12 rosettes on top. Decorate with cherries. Pat the chocolate shavings around the side of the cake.

Notes/Hints:

  • 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 1 can of pitted dark 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 sprinkled over the baked cake layers. You can also add one tablespoon of kirschwasser to the whipped cream. 
  • 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!)
  • A traditional Black Forest cake has ½ cup cherry brandy or cherry liqueur (Kirschwasser) sprinkled over the cake layers after they are baked. As well, about 1 tablespoon is can be added to the whipped cream.
  • You can make your own vanilla sugar.

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma | www.quick-german-recipes.com

11.07.2021 revision update

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This traditional German Black Forest cake is so easy to make. Try making this creamy, delicious cake yourself. Great for birthdays!

Authentic Black Forest Cake Recipe - German Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

By
Authentic Black Forest Cake Recipe ~ German Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte
This authentic Black Forest Cake is the traditional German chocolate cake, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. With its chocolate cake layers, kirsch-permeated cherries and whipped cream, it’s a decadent dessert!

Ingredients: eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, cocoa, sour cherries, heavy (whipping) cream, Whip It (whip cream stabelizer), Kirschwasser, chocolate shavings,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

Words to the Wise

"A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense."

Proverbs 12:11 (NLT)