My mom’s Black Forest Cake recipe dates back to the 1960s, a traditional German dessert made of chocolate cake layers drenched in Kirsch cherry liqueur then filled with dark cherries and whipped cream. Topped with more whipped cream, chocolate shavings and maraschino cherries for a festive holiday gâteau.
A Christmas Tradition
I was so delighted to recently find this recipe in my mom’s collection of old recipes. My dad used to buy a black forest cake every year and he would get so excited about it. He was like a kid on Christmas eve. He’d buy it from Mr. Dunderbak’s German deli in Tampa, FL. Then drive it up to his parents’ house in Dothan, AL. He always made such a big production about getting that cake every year. Since my parents were divorced when I was 8, I never knew that my mom made a Black Forest Cake from scratch every year at Christmas. The homemade version is simply to die for and perfect for your holiday dessert table.
Ingredients You Need for This Cake
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – I used Nestle
Butter – Use unsalted real butter, not margarine
Sugar – I used granulated sugar.
Eggs – Large eggs at room temperature.
Almond flour – You can also use ground almonds
All-Purpose Flour – I prefer unbleached.
Baking Powder – I prefer aluminum free
Salt – I used Morton’s Table Salt.
Kirsch – This is a cherry flavored liqueur but it’s not sweet. I like to add some of the maraschino cherry juice to sweeten it up a bit.
Whipped Cream – Made from heavy whipping cream.
Dark cherries – I used canned dark cherries.
Chocolate shavings – You can make your own by using a potato peeler on a large chocolate bar.
Maraschino Cherries (drained) – For the top decoration. Make sure to reserve 1/4 cup of the juice.
(See below for the full recipe for the cake, filling, frosting and decorations on top)
How to Make black forest Cake
Whip up the cake batter in one big bowl (recipe follows).
Pour batter into 3 (6-inch) round cake pans that have been greased and lined with parchment.
Bake as directed and let cool.
Drench cake layers with a mixture of Kirsch (cherry liqueur or brandy) and maraschino cherry juice.
Fill cake with whipped cream and drained, canned dark cherries.
Frost the cake with more whipped cream, then add chocolate shavings to sides and top of cake.
Pipe dollops of whipped cream on top and add maraschino cherries as the crowning touch on this beautiful cake.
Now you can make your own German Black Forest Cake recipe from scratch. It’s such a special dessert. I hope you enjoy making this traditional recipe for the holidays!
Tools for success
Here’s my dad in 1977 with his favorite Black Forest Cake from Mr. Dunderbak’s Restaurant. The precious gâteau traveled all the way from Tampa to Dothan. I just love the look on his face. Priceless. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
Mom’s Black Forest Cake looks a little different but I think it’s even more delicious than the store bought version. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Do you have a Christmas cake tradition in your family? I’d love to hear. Let me know in the comments.
If not, maybe this vintage Black Forest Cake recipe can be your new tradition!
Mom's Black Forest Cake
For the cake
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling and topping
- 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 can dark cherries, drained
- 1/4 cup Kirsch or Kirschwasser, cherry liqueur (Kirsch is not very sweet, so I add some maraschino cherry juice)
- 4 ounce semi-sweet chocolate bar (create shavings with potato peeler)
- 8 whole maraschino, drained with stems (reserve the juice)
- 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
For the cake
- Grease and line three 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Melt chocolate chips in double boiler over low heat. (Or in a microwave safe bowl for 20 seconds on high, then 20 seconds more if needed. Stir until smooth.) Cool. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, almond flour and chocolate. Sift flour, cornstarch and baking powder into the cream mixture. Fold in slowly. Spread batter evenly in greased cake pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
For the chocolate shavings
- To create the chocolate shavings, use a potato peeler on the side of the chocolate bar. I placed a piece of parchment paper on a half sheet pan, then hold the chocolate bar upright with one hand and "peel" off little pieces of chocolate with the other hand holding the potato peeler. Keep shaving the chocolate until you have about 1 cup. Set aside.
For the filling
- Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, then whip until stiff. Set aside. Mix the Kirsch and 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice in a small bowl. Sprinkle each cake layer with the Kirsch mixture. Spread two layers with whipped cream then top with dark cherries (divide them equally). Put the layers together, then top with the third layer. Frost cake with remaining whipped cream (reserving about 1 cup for decoration). Place a pan with parchment paper underneath the cake, before you add chocolate shavings to the sides and top (warning, this will be a messy job but the final product is totally worth it). Just take handfuls of chocolate shavings and gently pour onto the sides and top of cake. A lot of it will fall off, but just collect the excess and add it again.
For the decoration
- Place remainig whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a 1M pastry tip. Pipe 8 dollops of cream on top of cake, then place a cherry on top of each.
You might also like Classic Southern Red Velvet Cake
All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.