This decadent black forest cake consists of alternating layers of moist chocolate cake and heavenly whipped cream. The cake is soaked in cherry liqueur and filled with juicy black cherries in the middle. This recipe uses a cake mix for ease and convenience but tastes completely homemade. A whole black forest cake on a marble and gold cake stand.

What is black forest cake:

Black forest cake is a chocolate sponge cake filled with a rich cherry filling based on the German dessert Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte which means “Black Forest Cherry-torte.” A black forest cake usually consists of several layers of chocolate sponge cake sandwiched with whipped cream and cherries. It is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings on top. Traditionally, kirschwasser, a clear spirit made from sour cherries, is added to the cake. German law mandates that any dessert labeled Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte must have kirschwasser in it. (source: Wikipedia)

Why this recipe is so great:

  • Just 4 grocery items – All you need is your favorite chocolate cake mix, a package of cream cheese, a carton of whipping cream, a can of cherries, and a few staple ingredients to make this easy black forest cake recipe.
  • Quick and easy to make – Since this recipe uses a cake mix, it saves you a ton of time and dishes. All you have to do is bake the cake mix as instructed, make the frosting, assemble and serve.
  • Tastes homemade – This black forest cake is rich and decadent. The cake is moist, tender, and chocolaty. The frosting is light and creamy. There is a burst of cherry flavor in every bite. It tastes and looks like it was made completely from scratch. No one will ever know you used a cake mix unless you tell them.
  • Can be made in advance – This cake can be made up to 1 day in advance, so it’s a great make-ahead dessert.

A slice of naked black forest cake being removed from the rest of the cake.

How to make black forest cake with cake mix:

  1. Bake the cake as instructed for two 9″ round cakes. Let cool completely and lightly brush with some cherry liqueur.
  2. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Beat in the whipping cream until thickened and stiff peaks form.
  3. Spread 1/4 of the whipped cream on one cake layer, spoon the cherries on top, then spread another 1/4 of the whipped cream on top of the cherries.
  4. Place the second cake on top. Spread the remaining whipped cream on. Top with maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings if desired.

For piped edges: Transfer half of the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice. Pipe along the edges of the first cake, spread some whipped cream onto the center, spoon the cherries on top, and spread more whipped cream on top of the cherries. Repeat with the top layer and finish with some maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings if desired. Ingredients to make easy black forest cake.

Substitutions:

  • Chocolate cake mix – You can use any kind or brand of chocolate cake mix you wish. I like using Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake. You can also use your own homemade chocolate cake if you’d like.
  • Cherry liqueur – You can use the juice from the canned cherries instead or simply omit.
  • Canned cherries – Any kind of canned cherries will work. I normally use Bing black cherries. If you prefer, you can also use canned cherry pie filling. If so, you can use half the can for the middle layer and the other half for the top layer.
  • Whipped cream frosting – I love adding a bit of cream cheese to my whipped cream frosting because it balances the richness of the heavy cream. It also stabilizes it and helps it keep longer. But if you prefer a more traditional, straight-up whipped cream, you can use that – just keep in mind that it won’t last as long or be as stable.
  • Maraschino cherries – Can be substituted with fresh cherries when they are available.
  • Chocolate shavings – Can be replaced with chocolate curls or chocolate sprinkles.

A slice of black forest cake on a white and gold plate.

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Easy Black Forest Cake


  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12

Description

This decadent black forest cake consists of alternating layers of moist chocolate cake and heavenly whipped cream. The cake is soaked in cherry liqueur and filled with juicy black cherries in the middle.


Ingredients

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (plus ingredients required on the box)
  • 1/4 cup cherry liqueur (optional)
  • 1 can pitted black cherries (drained well)
  • 1250 gram pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1473ml carton whipping cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • maraschino cherries (optional)
  • chocolate shavings (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bake cake as instructed for two 9 inch rounds. Let cool completely. Trim cake domes if necessary for a flat surface. Lightly brush with cherry liqueur (if using ) as you’re assembling the cake.
  2. Using an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add half the whipping cream and whip for a minute or so until it just starts to thicken. Add the rest of the whipping cream and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
  3. Spread about one-quarter of the whipped cream on one of the cakes. Spoon the cherries on top and spread another quarter of the whipped cream on top of the cherries. Carefully layer the second cake on and top with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate with chocolate sprinkle or curls if desired.

For piped edges: Transfer half of the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice. Pipe along the edges of the first cake, spread some whipped cream onto the center, spoon the cherries on top, and spread more whipped cream on top of the cherries. Repeat with the top layer and finish with some maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings if desired.

Notes

Chilling the assembled cake for 30 minutes will make it easier to slice and serve.

Leftovers can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: black forest cake recipe, easy black forest cake, whipped cream frosting

Easy Black Forest Cake Recipe (using cake mix). Only 4 ingredients. Delicious, moist, rich and flavorful. I have made this many time over the years and it is always a hit!

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