Serve an Extra Special After-Dinner Treat on the Big Day: Black Forest Cake

An extra special holiday like Christmas calls for an extra special dessert like Black Forest Cake. With kirsch-flavored whipped cream, bright cherries, and a blanket of grated chocolate atop the cake, Black Forest Cake is a cake for grown-ups and makes for a stunning centerpiece.

Black Forest Cake

Serves 10


For the Cake

½ cup
cake flour
½ cup
Dutch-process cocoa powder
room-temperature eggs
1 teaspoon
vanilla exract
¾ cup
granulated sugar
8 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

For the Sugar Syrup

¼ cup
granulated sugar
¼ cup

For the Filling and Frosting

2 ½ cups
heavy cream
2 tablespoons
confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon
Jarred cherries (with stems)
Semisweet (plain) chocolate bar, for grating


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9- x 3-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

For the cake, place the flour and cocoa powder into a sifter and sift into a bowl; set aside. Crack the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla and granulated sugar to the bowl. On high speed, beat the ingredients for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is tripled in volume. Remove the bowl from stand mixer. Sift half of the flour mixture over the egg mixture, then carefully fold in with a large rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture. Add a large dollop of the flour-egg mixture into the melted butter and fold in. Then fold this back into the flour-egg mixture that’s in the electric mixer bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake is puffed. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.

For the syrup, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.

For the filling and frosting, place the confectioners sugar and cream into the cleaned bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the cleaned whisk attachment. Beat the ingredients until medium-stiff peaks form. Stir the kirsch and sugar syrup together in a small bowl.

When the cake is completely cooled, remove it from the pan by running a table knife around the edge of the pan then carefully unmolding it from the pan. Leave the parchment paper on the cake and set it right side up. Carefully cut the cake horizontally into three equal layers. Set the top layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Brush some of the syrup on the cut side of the cake.

Spread some of the whipped cream on the cut side of the cake. Remove and discard the stems from some of the cherries and chop. Sprinkle the chopped cherries on top of the whipped cream. Set the middle layer of the cake on top of the cherries and cream. Brush some of the syrup on the cut side of the cake. Spread some of the whipped cream on the cut side of the cake. Set the last layer of cake, cut side down, on top of the cream; peel off the parchment paper. Brush with the remaining syrup, and spread more of the remaining whipped cream on the top and sides of the cake, making sure to save enough whipped cream for piping 10 rounds of frosting around the top of the cake.

Cut the chocolate into a chunk that fits comfortably in your hand. Grate some of the chocolate all over the top of the cake using a microplane grater or handheld grater. Pipe rounds of frosting around the top of the cake, then set a whole cherry with stem in the center of each round. Refrigerate the cake for, at least, two hours before serving.