Authentic Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)

A black forest cake on a decorative cake plate

Don’t let those maraschino cherries on top fool you, this is nothing like a black forest cake you find at the grocery store and nothing like most of the recipes you will find online!

Unlike the chocolate cake and maraschino cherry laden versions at the store, the recipe for this one originates from the back of a postcard when my Mom first visited Germany as a teenager over 40 years ago. She tasted authentic Black Forest Cake and knew she had to bring the recipe home.

The slightly chocolatey layers of this cake are complimented by lots of ground almonds, a little cinnamon and sandwiched between layers of sour cherries soaked in kirschwasser (cherry liqueur) and pillowy whipped cream.

Since as long as I can remember she has been making this cake for my birthday every single year (maybe without the liqueur when I was little), but my birthday just isn’t complete without this cake. This year, along with two other years, I’ve made the cake myself, but this year was exceptionally fun because I was able to share this beauty with my two best friends and my Oma. 😀

Side view of chocolate shavings and whipping cream florets with maraschino cherries on top of a black forest cake

Maybe someone will request this cake for their birthday so I can enjoy it more than once a year? Hint hint. 😉

Happy baking!

If you liked this recipe you are going to love these ones!

Hazelnut Mocha Spelt Torte
Strawberry Topped Chocolate Torte
Fancy Shmancy Spelt Flour Carrot Cake

Traditional Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)

Servings 12
Author Sophie

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp organic all purpose, unbleached spelt flour also known as white spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground clove
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water at room temperature
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 115 grams almonds finely ground

Filling

  • 2 jars of sour cherries 720mL sized jars
  • 500 ml juice from sour cherries
  • 4+ tbsp kirschwasser cherry liquer optional
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatine
  • 1 tbsp cold water + 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 600 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp organic sugar

Decoration

  • 113 grams semi-sweet baking chocolate shaved
  • 8 maraschino cherries sliced into half lengthwise

Instructions

Make the Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 26cm round spring form pan with butter. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, cinnamon, clove and baking powder. Set aside.

  2. Separate the eggs, adding the whites to a large bowl or stand mixer bowl and the egg yolks to a small bowl. Whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar and water and set aside.

  3. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment or large bowl with hand mixer beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat to combine. Gently pour the sifted dry ingredients onto the egg whites along with the ground nuts and the egg yolk mixture. Using a large spatula, gently fold together all the ingredients until just combined.

  4. Pour mixture into greased spring form pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool before removing cake from pan.

Make the Filling

  1. Drain the cherries and reserve 500ml of the juice. In a medium bowl, add the drained cherries and 2 tbsp of kirschwasser (optional). Stir to combine and let soak. In a medium saucepan, combine the juice and cornstarch with a whisk. Bring to a boil to thicken and then remove from heat to cool. Add 2 tbsp of kirschwasser (optional) to the cooled juice mixture, add the soaked cherries and stir to combine.

  2. In a small bowl, mix the gelatine with the cold water, then add the boiling water and mix until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment or large bowl with hand mixer, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks, then add the vanilla extract, sugar and gelatine mixture and beat again until stiff peaks. Transfer approximately 1 cup of the cream to a pastry bag with a flower tip.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Remove the cake from the spring form pan and using a large, serrated bread knife cut the cake into three equal layers. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate or platter, sprinkle with kirschwasser (optional) and gently pour half the cherry mixture on top. Spread the cherry mixture out close to the edges. Add approximately 1/3 of the whipping cream mixture and drop large spoonfuls on top of the cherries. Use a spatula to spread the cream close to the edges. Repeat with the second layer and spread the filling layers right to the edges. Top with the last layer of cake.

  2. Fill the cracks on the sides of the cake with cream, then frost the sides and top of the cake with the rest of the cream.

  3. Shave the chocolate with a large knife or potato peeler. Sprinkle chocolate around the base of the cake then lift and gently press the shavings onto the sides of the cake with a spatula. Pipe 16 florets on the top of the cake around the edges and top each florets with a slice of maraschino cherry. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate in the middle of the cake between the florets.

  4. Chill and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours up to 24 hours to let all the flavors mingle.

7 thoughts on “Authentic Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)

  1. Happy Birthday Sophie. What a cake to celebrate with. I will make this for my sister. It’s her favourite of all time.

    KEEP CALM AND BAKE ON.

    1. Hi Judy, yes you can absolutely use regular flour for this cake. The traditional part is that the cake layers are not “chocolate cake” and the filling is sour cherries instead of a repulsive (in my opinion) maraschino cherry filling. I am updating the recipe slightly today as well. Happy baking!

  2. Hi Sophie, I forgot to tell you that I had Black Forest Cake in Germany with my daughter 3 years ago and it was absolutely delightful. It was not heavy chocolate but light and flavorful. I have looked everywhere for a recipe like the cake I had. I believe your recipe is it ! Thanks again. Judy

    1. Hi Judy, sounds like a lovely experience you had in Germany. Food memories are my favourite kind of memories. Let me know how the cake compares to the one you had in Germany. Happy baking!

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