Black Forest Dessert – Oma's Schwarzwälder Kirsch Dessert

Oma Gerhild

by: Gerhild Fulson  /  Cookbook Author, Blogger, German Oma!

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This Black Forest Dessert, aka Schwarzwälder Kirsch Dessert, is one of those really, really quick dessert recipes.

I'm almost embarrassed to say that it uses soda crackers, instant chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip! Top it off with canned cherry pie filling. Delicious! Yep, that's it.

It's so easy to make, ANYONE can make it. Get the kids involved and have them stand proud when people start raving about the taste.

With this Black Forest treat recipe, you get the same taste as the cake but without all the fuss.All the flavors of the traditional Black Forest Cake without all the fuss. Even your youngest kids can put this together and get rave reviews!

It's among my favorite holiday baking recipes. Why? Because it's so quick to make, doesn't need to be baked, and is delicious!

What makes it extra special during the holidays is that it needs to be made at least 6 hours before serving. That means it can be made the day before. No rushing around the day of the feast.

A bit of this and a bit of that ...

  • Be ready to hand out the recipe. Although it sounds so strange, and even when guests are told what is in it, they always go back for seconds. Unfortunately, there's seldom any leftovers for the next day.
  • Make sure you get the soda crackers with the unsalted tops! These are the secret to the flaky pastry. With the standing time, the crackers transform into "pastry".
  • To get the thick chocolate layer as shown in the picture, I prepared two packages of instant pudding. Normally, though, you just need one package.
  • For a diet version of this Black Forest dessert, use low-fat instant chocolate pudding and low-fat Cool Whip. Top with fresh, pitted cherries. Just as delicious.

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Try this delicious variation …

OHHHHHH. Crushed pineapple makes the above vanilla version so refreshing, especially on a hot summer's day.

Actually, the black forest dessert is a variation of this easy flaky dessert shown here.

That's the original recipe I was playing around with when I figured that I'd make it really German by incorporating the Black Forest Cake flavors.

Once you make this one, you'll be ready to try your own combinations. Different pudding flavors. Different fruit toppings. Different desserts!

Oma says:

This Black Forest Dessert needs to stand at least 6 hours, so you need to plan this one ahead of time. That's for the crackers to turn into pastry.

This one is one of those easy recipes the kids love to make. They line out the crackers, mix the pudding and put it all together. And what's more?

They really, really enjoy eating this Black Forest Dessert!

A deliciously fun twist on a true Black Forest cake

Not only is this recipe a variation of the pineapple version shown above, it's also a fun, quick, and easy twist on my classic Black Forest cake recipe, also known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.

It's perfect when you want all the flavors of the traditional German dessert without all the fuss. Instant chocolate pudding replaces the layers of chocolate cake, Cool Whip is used instead of having to whip heavy cream, and cherry pie filling is used instead of having to boil sour cherries with cherry juice, sugar, and corn starch.

And, if you're looking to give it even more of an authentic Black Forest cake flavor, try stirring in a little bit of cherry liquor (kirschwasser) into the pie filling if serving to adults only.

Can you use sugar-free instant pudding?

Yes, you can. However, you'll need to follow the package instructions to make sure you use the right amount of milk. My recipe below, uses regular instant pudding, where the 4-ounce package is mixed with 2 cups of milk.

If you want to use a sugar-free instant pudding mix, it will probably use a different amount of milk, as indicated on the package. Follow the package instructions and amounts to make the pudding. Because there is no sugar in the package, the package will weigh about half as much as the one I use. 

The package of sugar-free instant pudding mix that I've seen is 2.1 ounces and it needs 3 cups of milk. That's fine to use in the recipe below instead. Your pudding layer will be a tad thicker. That's ok. 

How to make this Black Forest dessert recipe

Start by lining the bottom of a baking dish with unsalted soda crackers.

Next, prepare the chocolate pudding. Mix a package of instant chocolate pudding mix with 2 cups of milk using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or a large bowl with an electric mixer. (Try mixing in a little bit of almond extract for extra flavor!)

This will give you a nice thin layer of chocolate pudding. If you're a chocolate lover and would prefer a thicker layer of pudding (as pictured above), use two packages of instant chocolate pudding mix and 4 cups of milk.

Now gently spread the delicious chocolate pudding over the layer of soda crackers.

Scoop out half the Cool Whip from its tub and gently spread it over the chocolate pudding.

Layer the remaining soda crackers over the Cool Whip layer.

Gently spread the remaining chocolate pudding over the crackers, and then layer the remaining Cool Whip over the chocolate pudding.

Cover the dish with a sheet of plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least six hours (although letting it stand overnight would be preferable).

When you're ready to serve this delicious dessert, top it with a can of cherry pie filling.

See? Easy-peasy!

If you're feeling extra fancy, go ahead and sprinkle some chocolate shavings (using a chocolate bar and a knife) or chocolate curls (using a chocolate bar and a vegetable peeler). Or maybe drizzle the top with a little bit of chocolate sauce. Yum!!

More Black Forest desserts

  • My best Black Forest cake recipe is THE traditional German chocolate layer 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.
  • Here's an even easier version of a German Black Forest cake. It tastes almost like the traditional one, only this one's really, really easy and super quick to make. It's what you serve when you want German food without the fuss! It still has chocolate cake, cherries, and real whipped cream, but it uses a cake mix, some pie filling, and freshly whipped cream.

Ready to make this really easy no-bake dessert?

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Black Forest Dessert - Oma's Schwarzwälder Kirsch Dessert

This Black Forest dessert recipe, aka Schwarzwälder Kirsch Dessert, is such a good recipe! It's super quick and requires little effort to make because it calls for prepackaged ingredients, but it tastes so amazingly good that you'll even want to serve it for special occasions.

See hints below about using an extra package of pudding for extra chocolaty flavor!

Prep Time

10 minutes

Stand Time

6+ hours

Total Time

6+ hours


Makes 12 servings


  • 1 package soda crackers (unsalted tops)
  • 1 4-ounce package regular instant chocolate pudding mix 
  • 2 cups milk (to make pudding according to package instructions)
  • 1 12-ounce tub Cool Whip (4 cups)
  • 1 can of cherry pie filling


  1. Line bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with half the soda crackers.
  2. Prepare pudding mix according to package directions. Gently spread half of the pudding over the crackers.
  3. Gently spread half the tub of Cool Whip over pudding.
  4. Cover Cool Whip layer with a layer of remaining soda crackers.
  5. Gently spread remaining pudding over crackers. Cover with remaining Cool Whip.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  7. Serve, topping each piece with some cherry filling.


  • If you use sugar-free Jell-o instant pudding mix, your package will weigh less. Use package instructions to make your pudding with as much milk as the package says. If it's 3 cups, then your pudding layer will be nice and thick. See the section, Can you use sugar-free instant pudding?, in the post above for more info.
  • To get thicker chocolate layers as shown, I used 2 packages of regular Jell-o instant pudding mix (not sugar-free) with 4 cups of milk as per package instructions.
  • I prefer to use whole milk (3.5%) to get a rich tasting pudding. You can use 2% if you prefer. 
  • Use low-fat Cool Whip, low-fat pudding and low-fat milk, if you need a low-fat version.
  • Yes, you can use homemade whipped cream frosting instead of Cool Whip. Whip up 2 cups of heavy cream with 2 packages of Dr. Oetker's Whip It (to stabilize it), adding sugar to taste.
  • Add this recipe to your list of quick Christmas recipes. Since you quickly make it ahead of time, preferably the day before, there's no hassle the day of the party.
  • Add a little bit of almond extract to the chocolate pudding for some added deliciousness to the pudding mixture.
  • Drizzle with some chocolate sauce or sprinkle chocolate shavings or chocolate chips for added pizzazz!
  • Try the original version of this with vanilla pudding and pineapple. A summer-time (or anytime) treat.

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01.19.2023 revision update

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Make this easy dessert that tastes like Black Forest Cake, but so much easier to make.

Black Forest Dessert made Just like Oma

Black Forest Dessert made Just like Oma
This Black Forest Dessert is among the quick easy dessert recipes. It uses soda crackers, instant chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip. Top it off with Cherry Pie Filling. Delicious!

Ingredients: unsalted soda crackers, chocolate pudding, cool whip, milk, cherry pie filling,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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