It's that time of the year and Dracula is here with his Cherry Chocolate Cake, or Black Forest Cake. This chocolate cake is filled with layers of cherry filling and whipped cream and frosted with a delicious chocolate buttercream.
To make it into a spooky Halloween cake we're topping the cake with bloody cherry raspberry sauce and glass shards. Other Halloween treats I hope you would want to give a try are these super easy Black Swan Cranberry Sangria and Jack O'Lantern rice and beans stuffed peppers. There's one complete dinner and dessert menu!
If you're not here for Halloween, but for a delicious chocolate cake, this is an excellent choice! Cherries may not necessarily be the kids' favorite, that's when this chocolate sheet cake comes in, so make sure to give that a go as well. It is super moist and super easy to make!
Why is it called Black Forest Cake?
Let's begin with what is a black forest cake. A black forest cake (or black forest gâteau in British English) is a chocolate sponge cake with a rich cherry filling and whipped cream. It's based on the German dessert Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte which literally means Black Forest Cherry Tart.
It is often decorated with maraschino cherries, but I will never ever put that funky stuff anywhere but the trash. If you want to decorate it looking like a traditional black forest cake - use fresh cherries instead!
So to the question of why it's called a black forest cake... it is easy to assume that it's called black forest (Schwarzwälder) because of the mountain range of the same name in Germany. Not exactly. It is actually named after a cherry liquor that is distinctive to the black forest cake, namely Schwarzwälder kirchwasser or black forest cherry water. But you guessed it, that cherry liquor comes from the Black Forest region.
In this recipe, I've used a cherry liquor that I bought in Portugal. Do not feel you absolutely need the Schwarzwälder to make it a banging black forest cake. You don't even need cherry liquor if you don't feel like it!
Do I have to have alcohol in a Black Forest Cake?
A black forest cake is known for the use of cherry liquor, but if you don't like it you don't have to add it. If you're serving kids and don't want it to be alcoholic, don't worry. In this cherry raspberry sauce I thicken the sauce on the stove, and adding the cherry liquor to this sauce means the alcohol will evaporate.
Alcohol evaporates just after 20-30 seconds of cooking. The temperature needs to be above 172F (78C). Adding it in the beginning of the sauce process, means that there are pretty much no chance of alcohol in the cake. But then again, if you don't want to add alcohol at all, feel free to just omit it. You don't have to do any additional changes.
What's the Difference Between Chocolate Cake and Black Forest Cake?
A black forest cake is a chocolate cake, but a chocolate cake isn't necessarily a black forest cake. The black forest cake is a cherry chocolate cake, with whipped cream and cherry filling. You can use whatever chocolate cake as a base.
This cherry chocolate cake also has chocolate buttercream, which isn't traditional to a black forest cake, but I would still call it a black forest cake because of the cherries, whipped cream and especially the cherry liquor which the black forest cake is named after.
Can I Use Cherry Pie Filling in this Cherry Chocolate Cake?
If you have a can of cherry pie filling, feel free to use that instead. If you just don't want the extra step of making the cherry filling, then no, you may not. This sauce is super simple to make, anyone could do it!
I use frozen cherries that are already pitted, so there's no extra labor in pitting the cherries. Then I would totally get why you don't bother to make your own filling.
This cherry filling is also literally the same as homemade cherry pie filling, apart from the cherry liquor and the fact that I added raspberries. So as a bonus you've learned how to make cherry pie filling too!
How to Store Cherry Chocolate Cake
As this cherry chocolate cake has whipped cream in it, it is highly advisable to store it in the refrigerator. It needs to be stored in a tightly closed container, such as in a tight cake carrier. The cake is best the second day, as the cherry filling has blended into the cake making it so flavorful and moist. It will last about 2 days in the fridge.
To be super honest, I sometimes let it go maybe 3-4 days and it's totally fine. But to be completely sure, 2 days is the standard for cakes with whipped cream. If you omit the whipped cream, it will probably last 3-4 days because the cherries are cooked. Fresh fruit will also only last 2 days.
Back to Dracula's Cherry Chocolate Cake Recipe (or Black Forest Cake!)
I'm guessing you are more than ready to get to baking. This cake is super easy to make all year round, because we use frozen fruit. And just by omitting the glass shards, it is not a typical Halloween cake anymore.
The glass shards
The glass shards are just a fun way of decorating and presenting the cake. They do not add anything to texture or flavor. They are removed before eating anyway. I will not share a recipe for this, because there are so many good ones out there already. What I used was Nerdy Mamma's recipe, only that I changed corn syrup with glucose syrup.
I did feel they got really sticky, but that may be because I stored them in the freezer. Don't do like me, you should store them in an airtight container.
The bestest chocolate sponge cake ever
The secret to this chocolate sponge cake is a lot of everything. It's buttery and moist, sweet and chocolatey. And the best part (alright, second best) is that it is so simple to make too!
Pre-heat the oven to 350F (175C). Prepare 3 9-inch (22 cm) cake pans with parchment paper and greasing the sides. If you don't have 3 cake pans you can either:
- use 2 9-inch pans and once the cakes are cool, slice the cakes in half, creating an extra layer to the finished cherry chocolate cake,
- or use a long time baking one cake at the time and waiting for it to cool, before using the same pan again,
- or use whatever size cake pans you've got, but check the cake at shorter intervals to check if it's done.
Melt butter, water and unsweetened cocoa powder in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Once melted, set it aside.
Mix the dry ingredients together: all purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour in the cocoa butter water and mix until no flour is unmixed. Add greek yoghurt, vanilla and eggs. Add one egg at a time, whisking in between each.
Divide the batter into the three prepared cake pans. I weighed the batter and concluded that 675g (1.5lb) of batter is ⅓, which is what I poured into each of the three prepared cake pans. But there's no need to be this scientific!
Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool down completely in the cake pan, on a wire rack.
The cherry filling
Add frozen cherries and raspberries, sugar and lemon juice into a medium saucepan. Mix the cornstarch with a few tablespoon of water and pour into the saucepan. Give it a mix on medium high heat.
Stir often in the beginning, until the berries release their juices. In the beginning it looks like you need to add water, but you don't because of this very reason. Once it looks more like a sauce, bring it up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. You can now stir occasionally for about 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is pretty thick.
Let it cool to room temperature before adding to the cake.
Assemble the cherry chocolate cake
I'm assuming you made three separate cakes and therefore there should be no need to cut the cakes open. However, as a quick note if you need to cut it, carefully cut it once it's cooled to room temperature, using a serrated knife.
Place one cake on a cake stand or plate, pour cherry filling on top (1), use a knife to smooth it out (2). Try to avoid getting it all to the edges of the cake, because once the weight of the rest of the cake comes into play, the sauce will spread even more.
Whip cream. Pour heavy cream and powdered sugar into a medium bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until stiff peaks. Add half of it on top of the first cherry filling layer (you need to make more whipped cream if you have more layers of cake).
Add the second layer of cake (3), second layer of cherry filling and second half of the whipped cream (4). Top with the last chocolate sponge cake.
Fool proof chocolate buttercream
I've used Bunny's Warm Oven's recipe for chocolate buttercream in this cherry chocolate cake. I had to add just a touch more milk than in the original recipe to get the consistency I was looking for. It was so simple!
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Once the butter has melted, add in the unsweetened cocoa powder and mix.
Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to a large bowl and pour in the cocoa butter mixture. Mix with an electric mixer until it's smooth. If you want it thicker, add in more powdered sugar. If you want it thinner, add more milk (or water).
It was really smooth and delicious, and keeps well in the fridge. Although we are using the whole thing to frost this cake. Just a FIY, it would not be enough to add buttercream layers inside the cake.
Once the cake is assembled and the buttercream mixed, you can start to frost the cake with this chocolate buttercream. I'm not using any fancy equipment, I just add it on with a spatula and smooth it out with a knife. Just make sure you cover the cake nicely.
And if you want the cake to be naked (no chocolate buttercream), that is also fine! I initially also had chocolate ganache on this cake, as you can see in the picture. But I found it wasn't necessary so there's no need to add that extra step.
The last step
At this time, I chilled the cake in the fridge for about 1 hour to let the buttercream set. And then I decorated with more cherry filling and sugar glass shards to make it more fitting to the Halloween festivities going on. This is not mandatory, only a fun something extra!
Enjoyed this cherry chocolate cake? I'm sure you'll love these also
- Chocolate Pear Cake with Hazelnut Crumb Topping
- Dreamy Creamy Chocolate Coffee Truffles
- Dark Chocolate Orange Layer Cake with Buttercream Frosting
- Classic Dark Chocolate Brownies
- Chocolate Lava Cake with Red Currant Raspberry Sauce
- White Chocolate Mousse with Rose and Pistachio
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!
In order to keep the blog up and running this post may contain affiliate links, it will be at no extra cost to you, please read the disclosure for more information.