Black Forest Cake or Black Forest gâteau (as known by the French) is one of the most popular cakes and well loved by chocolate fans. Its my hubby's favorite cake and he loves this recipe. A black forest cake typically has several layers of chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries between each layer and then topped off with more whipped cream, maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings. In Europe and Australian recipes it is typical to find alcoholic liquor added to the cake (rum or kirsch). However in North America you will not find liquor being added to the cake. I do not add liquor in this recipe.
To make a black forest cake, you will first bake a chocolate round cake. Please click here or refer to my chocolate round cake recipe for the detailed ingredients, video demonstration and step by step instructions.
You will also make some fresh whipping cream for decorating the cake layers. Please click here or refer to my fresh whip cream recipe for the detailed ingredients, video demonstration and step by step instructions.
Additional Ingredients (not including ingredients for the cake and whip cream):
- Chocolate Shavings (shave a block of chocolate) - watch video on how to shave chocolate
- Dark sweet cherries (for in between cake layers)
- Red Maraschino cherries (for decoration on top)
- Sugar water: 250 ml, 10 oz sugar, boil, allow to cool.
So we have the cake baked and ready. If you stored it in the fridge for a couple days, then make sure to leave it out for half an hour or so before starting on the decoration steps. Here is the video demonstration showing the cake decoration and then below is also the step by step directions.
1. Take your chocolate cake and cut three layers starting from the top. Use a long sharp serrated knife to cut your layers. You will have to cut three even layers, so just use your best judgment and a careful eye to do this. After you finish cutting your three even layers, place a round card board underneath the cake for support as you decorate the cake.
2. Prepare your sugar water. The sugar water recipe is 125ml of water that you will place in a pot. Now add 5 oz (142 grams) of sugar to the water and bring to a boil for one minute. Stir well to dissolve the sugar into the water. Allow to cool and then use for your cake layers.
3. Now you will start to apply the sugar water to each cake layer. You will start with the bottom layer and move your way up. Place the first cake layer on the cardboard.
4. Take a pastry brush and soak it in sugar water then apply to your cake layer by just dabbing it on the entire cake layer. This will give your cake some more moisture and sweetness. You don’t want to over-soak your cake or put too little of the sugar water. Dab just a moderate amount to your cake with the pastry brush.
5. Next add your fresh whip cream filling on top of the cake that already has sugar water on it. You can use a pastry bag with a medium pastry tip to do this, or you can use a spatula to apply the whip cream filling to the cake. When adding with a pastry bag gently press evenly so you get the same amount through out the cake. Now add your sweet dark cherries on top of the whipping cream. Then with your pastry bag add a thin layer of your fresh whipping cream on top of the cherries.
6. Place your second chocolate cake layer on top of the first layer with the whipping cream and cherries, and gently press down on the cake to even out and position the cake.
7. Now on your second chocolate cake layer apply the sugar water as you did for the bottom layer of cake.
8. Then again add your whipping cream and cherrie filling on top of the cake with pastry bag or spatula. Then again add a thin layer of whipping cream on top of the cherries.
9. Now place your final chocolate cake layer on top of the second layer of whipping cream and cherrie filling. Then gently press down on the cake to even out and position correctly.
10. Apply your sugar water to the top chocolate cake layer and then add your final layer of whip cream filling to the cake. Once you have finished this step you can start to smooth out the whip cream filling on the top of the cake.
11. At this time place your cake on a cake stand to apply the whip cream filling to the sides of the cake. Take your pastry bag and apply the whip cream filling from the bottom of the cake to the top of the cake, as you turn your cake on the cake stand. You can also apply the whip cream filling to the sides of the cake with a spatula if you wish.
12. Take a jug of hot water and place your spatula in it then bring the spatula out and tap the excess water droplet off the spatula. Then using the spatula smooth out the cake. By doing this it will make it easier to decorate and smooth out your ganache filling. You can use a small spatula on the sides of the cake and a larger spatula on the top of the cake. Refer to the video above on my cake decoration techniques.
13. It will take several steps of dipping your spatula in the hot water shaking out the excess water and then applying it to the cake to smooth it out. Don’t rush this step. It requires patience and practice. Once you have reached the results you like you can decorate your cake with a pastry bag and pastry tip of your choice. You can also add red maraschino cherries to the top of the cake for decoration and shaved chocolate in the center of the cake. Please refer to my video on how to shave chocolate.
That’s it. Hope your cake turns out special and gorgeous! Remember, it takes a lot of patience and practice to get better at decorating a cake. Good luck!