Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries, and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

Authentic German Black Forest Cake or Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a wonderful cake!

I spent many years living in the Netherlands, along the border of Germany and we would do our shopping across the German border, groceries, dining, in various nearby towns and cities.

Often, we would call in at a cafe and enjoy a slice of German Black Forest Cake, or as it was described on the menu, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte with a lovely cup of freshly brewed coffee.

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This cake is so very popular in Germany, it's found in most bakeries, restaurants and coffee shops. The supermarkets often sell them whole in the fresh cake counter, and they're huge! I suspect the locals would often buy such a cake for a celebration, like a birthday or an anniversary.

It's certainly a cake that would be fit for any celebration!

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

Whilst living in Holland, I made friends with a lady who was originally from Germany, but settled in Holland.

Inga was a fine baker and would often make cakes and various desserts (usually all with apples!) so I asked her if she would make a real, as in AUTHENTIC German Black Forest Cake for me and if I could watch her making it in her kitchen.

So now we have a wonderful authentic Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte recipe to share with you, and oh my goodness!

It really does taste exactly like the slices I had eaten so many times in the coffee shops in Germany.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

What is inside a German Black Forest Cake?

The texture of the cake is extremely light and packed with the famous cherry liqueur, Kirsch.

The filling is loaded with juicy kirsch infused cherries and freshly whipped cream, so in every bite, you get a lovely burst of deliciousness!

Whilst Inga was showing me her recipe, she stressed you must use the jar or canned cherries which are in their own juice.

Fresh cherries just don't work well, unless you soak them for the longest time to soften them and get them juicy enough. I stuck to Inga's rule and simply bought a few fresh cherries for the decoration on top.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cherries and kirsch
Look at those juicy cherries infused with kirsch!

This recipe for German Black Forest Cake does take a little time because you need to make the cherry syrup, sponge, and filling, but oh my goodness! It is worth all the effort.

As you will see, I kept the decoration of the frosting very simple and rustic looking. Inga had done hers like that and wasn't overly fancy. Of course, if you want to, you can put your piping skills to the limit and make elaborate piping patterns and so on.

For the chocolate on the top, I simply grated some over. You could be more elaborate and make chocolate shavings or shards and have them standing upright on the top of the cake.

It's entirely up to you how simple or elaborate you want to decorate.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

What liqueur is used?

The kirsch liqueur is what defines this cake like no other, so I would not recommend you leave that out of the recipe.

You do need to taste the alcohol, so yes, it is an adult cake!

Without the Kirsch, it simply wouldn't be an authentic German Black Forest Cake.

So a huge thank you to Inga for allowing me to watch her make this beautiful cake and for sharing her family recipe with me.

Let's get straight to the recipe and please do enjoy as much as I have!

Prep time 

2 Hours

Baking time 

40 minutes

Serving size 

12 Slices

Ingredients 

Cake

1 cup or 125 g All Purpose Flour
3⁄4 cup or 95 g Cornstarch
1⁄4 cup or 30 g Dutch Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Salt
5 tbsp. unsalted Butter, melted
1 cup or 200 g Sugar
6 eggs

Cherry Syrup

14 oz. (2 cups, 400 g ) jarred or canned Sour Cherries
1⁄2 cup or 120 ml Cherry juice from 14oz Jar
1⁄2 cup or 120 ml Kirsch (cherry brandy)
1⁄2 cup or 100 g Sugar

Frosting

2 tbsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups, or 470 ml plus 6 tbsp. milk
1⁄2 cup or 65 g Cornstarch
6 tbsp. sugar
4 cups or 950 ml Heavy Cream, or Double Cream
4 tbsp. kirsch (cherry brandy)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. or 110 g bittersweet chocolate

Instructions 

Make the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, 180 C.

2. Grease and flour a deep 9 inch round baking pan.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, grease and flour pan
Make sure the flour is coated all over


3. In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and eggs, beat at medium speed until tripled in volume, see photos. This will take around 7-8 minutes.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, beat eggs and sugar
Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, beat eggs and sugar
Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, beat eggs and sugar


4. In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, salt, cornstarch and cocoa powder.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, add dry ingredients

Then add to the egg batter. 

Add the melted butter and using a spatula or large spoon, gently fold the mixture until combined. *** Do not over mix!

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, add melted butter

5. Transfer to your greased and floured cake pan and place in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, transfer to baking pan
Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, transfer to baking pan

Test the center with a skewer to make sure the cake is done.

6. Transfer the cake IN the pan on to a cooling rack and let rest for 15 minutes then carefully turn out from the pan, upside down on to a cooling rack and leave until completely cooled.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, allow to cool in pan
Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, turn upside down on to cooling rack

7. Using a serrated (like a bread knife), slice the cake into 3 equal layers as the photo. and set aside.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, slice in to 3 layers

Make the cherry syrup.

8. Add the drained cherries to a bowl and pour the kirsch all over the cherries and let steep for about 30 minutes. (I cut my cherries in half)

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cherries soaking in kirsch

9. Place the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup reserved cherry juice in a medium-size saucepan and under medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

10. Add the liquid used for soaking the cherries in the cherry syrup.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cherry syrup in pan

Place the cherries on a plate and sort through them to pick a dozen or so nice ones for decorating the top of the cake if you're not using fresh cherries for the decoration, and divide into 2 equal portions.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cherries, divided

Make the frosting:

11. Use a small bowl and add the gelatin and 6 Tbsp milk. Stir. and let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture will get thick.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte with gelatin for frosting

12. In a medium saucepan, add the cornstarch and sugar with the 2 cups of milk and whisk over medium heat.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, frosting preparation

Keep stirring to avoid lumps. Once the mixture resembles pudding mixture in thickness, add the gelatin mixture and whisk to combine and the mixture is nice and smooth. (You may need to pop the gelatin mixture in the microwave for 15 seconds to loosen if it has set too soon.)

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, frosting preparation using gelatin
Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, frosting preparation using gelatin
See the consistency of the mixture

13. Transfer the gelatin mix to a large bowl and set aside.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, frosting preparation using gelatin

14. Using a mixer, add the fresh cream, kirsch and vanilla extract.

Using the whisk attachment, whisk until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over whisk as your cream will become too stiff and resemble butter!

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, frosting preparation
The whipped cream should be stiff

15. Add half of the whipped cream to the gelatin mixture; stir until smooth using a spatula or hand whisk. 

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, frosting preparation using gelatin

Add remaining whipped cream, and gently fold until the mixture is combined.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, frosting preparation using gelatin

To assemble the cake:

16. Start by placing the first layer of your cake on a plate.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cake assembly

Brush generously with the cherry syrup.

Brush all over the surface and right up to the edges.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cake assembly

17. Arrange the first half of the cherries all over the first cake layer. (I cut my cherries in half but you can leave yours whole if you wish). 

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cake assembly

Then take a spatula and spread 1/4 of your frosting mixture all over the cherries.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cake assembly

18. Carefully place the next cake layer on top of the frosting and repeat by brushing cherry syrup all over the surface, adding the second half of your soaked cherries and another 1/4 of your frosting mixture. Finish off by adding the third cake layer.

19. Brush more cherry syrup on the top cake layer, again, be generous, and make sure you reach the edges too with the syrup! 

Crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

Authentic German Black Forest Cake - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, showing cake assembly and crumb coating

20.  Remove from the fridge and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake.

Feel free to spread with a palette knife, use a piping nozzle or simply spread the frosting 'roughly'.

Finish off by decorating the top with the reserved cherries and a grating of chocolate.

Place in the fridge for minimum 2 hours, then cut into 12 slices and enjoy!

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries and kirsch. Perfect for a party!
Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries and kirsch. Perfect for a party!
Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

We'd love to hear from you and what you thought of our Authentic German Black Forest Cake recipe. Did you make any changes or add some other goodies? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries, and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

Recipe Card

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries, and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Authentic German Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte is a delicious cake famous in Germany. Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries and kirsch. Perfect for a party!

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 1 cup or 125 g All Purpose Flour
  • 3 ⁄4 cup or 95 g Cornstarch
  • 1 ⁄4 cup or 30 g Dutch Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 cup or 200 g Sugar
  • 6 eggs

Cherry Syrup

  • 14 oz. 2 cups, 400 g jarred or canned sour cherries
  • 1 ⁄2 cup or 120 ml Cherry juice from 14oz jar
  • 1 ⁄2 cup or 120 ml Kirsch, cherry brandy
  • 1 ⁄2 cup or 100 g Sugar

Frosting

  • 2 tbsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups, or 470 ml plus 6 tbsp. milk
  • 1 ⁄2 cup or 65 g Cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 cups or 950 ml Heavy Cream, or Double Cream
  • 4 tbsp. kirsch, cherry brandy
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. or 110 g bittersweet chocolate

Instructions

Make the cake:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 F, 180 C.
  2. Grease and flour a deep 9 inch round baking pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and eggs, beat of a medium speed until tripled in volume, see photo. This will take around 7-8 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, salt, cornstarch and cocoa powder. Then add to the egg batter. Add the melted butter and using a spatula or large spoon, gently fold the mixture until combined. *** Do not over mix!
  5. Transfer to your greased and floured cake pan and place in oven for about 40 minutes. Test the center with a skewer to make sure the cake is done.
  6. Transfer the cake IN the pan on to a cooling rack and let rest for 15 minutes then carefully turn out from the pan, upside down on to a cooling rack and leave until completely cooled.
  7. Using a serrated (like a bread knife), slice the cake into 3 equal layers as the photo. and set aside.

Make the cherry syrup.

  1. Add the drained cherries to a bowl and pour the kirsch all over the cherries and let steep for about 30 minutes.
  2. Place the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup reserved cherry juice in a medium size saucepan and under a medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  3. 10. Add the liquid used for soaking the cherries in the cherry syrup.
  4. Place the cherries on a plate and sort through them to pick a dozen or so nice ones for decorating the top of the cake if you're not using fresh cherries for the decoration, and divide into 2 equal portions.

Make the frosting:

  1. 11. Use a small bowl and add the gelatin and 6 Tbsp milk. Stir. and let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture will get thick.
  2. 12. In a medium saucepan, add the cornstarch and sugar with the 2 cups of milk and whisk over a medium heat. Keep stirring to avoid lumps. Once the mixture resembles pudding mixture in thickness, add the gelatin mixture and whisk to combine and the mixture is nice and smooth. (You may need to pop the gelatin mixture in the microwave for 15 seconds to loosen if it has set too soon.)
  3. 13. Transfer the gelatin mix to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. 14. Using a mixer, add the fresh cream, kirsch and vanilla extract.
  5. Using the whisk attachment, whisk until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over whisk as your cream will become too stiff and resemble butter!
  6. 15. Add half of the whipped cream to the gelatin mixture; stir until smooth using a spatula. Add remaining whipped cream, and gently fold until the mixture is combined.

To assemble the cake:

  1. 16. Start by placing the first layer of your cake on a plate and brush generously with the cherry syrup. Brush all over the surface and right up to the edges.
  2. 17. Arrange the first half of the cherries all over the first cake layer. (I cut my cherries in half but you can leave yours whole if you wish). Then take a spatula and spread 1/4 of your frosting mixture all over the cherries.
  3. 18. Carefully place the next cake layer on top of the frosting and repeat by brushing cherry syrup all over the surface, adding the second half of your soaked cherries and another 1/4 of your frosting mixture. Finish off by adding the third cake layer.
  4. 19. Brush more cherry syrup on the top cake layer, again, be generous, and make sure you reach the edges too with the syrup!
  5. 20. Crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. Then remove from the fridge and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake.
  6. Feel free to spread with a palette knife, use a piping nozzle or simply spread the frosting 'roughly'. Finish off by decorating the top with the reserved cherries and a grating of chocolate. Place in the fridge for minimum 2 hours, then cut into 12 slices and enjoy!

Celebration Cakes

Here's a great selection of celebration cakes perfect for a party!

If you enjoy flavors of Black forest, try this lovely No Bake Black forest Yum Yum dessert. Delicious!

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23 thoughts shared

  1. This recipe is anything but authentic! I’m not sure what you would get mixing the listed ingredients for the cake, but I guess at best you’ll get a brown, round brick. Hint hint, there’s no baking powder included!
    The authentic Schwarzwälder Kirsch Torte ist made with a light and fluffy Hazelnut cake. To get it that fluffy you separate the eggs and use a bit of hot water with the yolk and sugar. The egg whites are whisked until you can put the bowl on its side and they don’t move anymore, and then you careful mix the flour, potato starch, flowered nuts, and coco in. The oven can’t be opened for about 30 minutes or the cake will fall back down creating a nice brick.
    I’m sure the more experienced bakers here know exactly what kind of a batter the cake is made of, but since I’m German and still learning the English language I really don’t know what it would be called in English.
    The cake is only one of the many problems I’ve seen with this recipe. Kirschwasser is a kind of Schnapps, containing 40%vol alcohol. You sprinkle a few drops on the cake layers, but the rest is being put in the cherry filling that you usually bring to a boil before it’s being used in the cake. That way most of the alcohol is gone. Use 1/2 cup of cherry Schnapps and it doesn’t matter anymore what the cake tastes like since the 40% vol will burn all the way down.
    The only reason I tried to find a recipe in English is the fact that I can’t get Sahne Steif in the States. It’s what we Germans use to keep heavy cream from turning back into a liquid mess once it has been turned into whipped cream. Sahne Steif also helps you to get actually whipped cream and not butter in case your heavy cream is fighting you to harden up.
    Because in Germany whipped cream actually stays whipped we use only whipped cream on the authentic Schwarzwälder Kirsch Torte. The idea of mixing milk up and smearing that around on such a delicious cake is just not right! I’m not sure what this recipe should be called, but for sure not “authentic”, and not Schwarzwälder Kirsch Torte. Yuck!

    1. Hi Nick, glad you like the cake!
      I lived on the border of Holland and Germany for over 10 years and I can safely say it is authentic to have a fresh cream frosting / coating on the cake! This recipe is as authentic as they come! Please enjoy!

      1. Nick is right, this is not authentic!
        You might have lived near the German/Dutch border, but we all know what Holland is famous for…Gouda cheese and not cakes!
        You really should have traveled a bit farther south since there we make not just the best cakes in the world, but also the best Käse-Spätzle! ?
        And no we don’t use Gouda for those either, we use Swiss cheeses ?
        (BTW, I was born and raised in Germany, right in-between the Black Forest and the Swiss Alps.)

  2. How cool should the gelatin-milk mixture be before mixing it with the whipped cream It seems like it should be room temperature or cooler Also, if the gelatin thickens too much, is it possible to loosen it with with some of the warm milk rather than using the microwave? I am making a double recipe for a 60th birthday so I really need to do it right.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Carol, the gelatine shouldn’t be too hot, but you just have to make sure it isn’t so cool it starts to set. I haven’t tried loosening it using some of the warm milk, but I should imagine it will be ok so long as the gelatine hasn’t completely set as it goes very rubbery and becomes difficult to loosen and smooth out lumps. You can always gently heat on the stovetop if you don’t want to use the microwave to loosen the mixture. Hope that helps! And enjoy the birthday!

  3. I’m making this for a Dutch/German friend’s birthday this weekend! So glad I found your recipe; I looked at about 4 others but this one looks the most promising! Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    Most delicious cake ever! Everyone loved it! I loved that it isn’t too sweet & you can actually taste the cherries & liquor! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Agathi! I was wondering how you got on making the cake. So glad you enjoyed it!!
      Thanks so much for your feedback!

  5. Is the cake portion missing a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda. My cake never rose. I followed the instructions very precisely.

    1. Hi, this recipe uses the eggs as the raising agent, you must beat the eggs and sugar until there is a lot of air and once the volume has increased, you need to very carefully fold in the flour so you don’t knock all the air out. That way, the sponge will be very light and should rise in the oven.
      Hope that helps!

  6. My cake never comes out tall enough to cut into three layers. I think I’m following the instructions to the letter. Can you explain the step where you add the dry ingredients and the butter? Do you stir the dry in first? Do you put the dry in and the butter and mix it all at the same time?

  7. 5 stars
    Hello, I’m absolutely fascinated by the frosting! Adding gelatin to milk and then adding all that to whipped cream I’m thinking that’s like a stabilized whipped cream? Not heavy like a butter cream would be. How does it stand up to room temps? Can it be out for a couple if hours without nelring? Thank you so much!!??

    1. Hi Bea, yes the gelatin is a stabiliser, and firms the whipped cream. Without it, the cream would turn watery after a while so this keeps it set better. It will be fine at room temperature for a couple of hours, and before that, just refrigerate it. The frosting is quite firm and isn’t anything like buttercream, it’s much lighter in taste. Please enjoy!

      1. Comment author image

        Agathi Bardi

        says:

        I have found the cherry liqueur but it’s red. It’s written kirsch. I have tried the authentic in Germany as I have also had a Black Forest cake also and it’s so so delicious. I’m not sure If my cake will come out ok with the red kirsch cherry liqueur ? Can’t find the authentic. Planning to do this on my husbands birthday. Thank you.

      2. Hi Agathi, glad you found the recipe! It really is so delicious!
        I think it will be ok with the red liqueur, they will have the colouring in so be aware if you decide to add it to the whipped cream it will make it pink! If you taste it, you’ll know if it’s the same flavor as what you had in Germany, but anyway, use it because it won’t harm the recipe!
        Please enjoy!

      3. Comment author image

        Agathi Bardi

        says:

        Ok! Thank you! Also would like to ask 9 inch pan depth or width? Sorry doing it today! Very excited!

      4. Hi Agathi,

        So you know for future reference, when a pan size is stated, it is usually referring to the diameter for round pans, and length for rectangular / square pans. So in this case, the size is 9 inch wide round pan. Whenever depth is required, recipes usually say ‘x inch deep pan, so you know it isn’t a regular shallow pan. Hope that helps you for the future!

        Have fun baking today!