Double Chocolate Black Forest Cake

Double chocolate black forest cake made with velvety buttermilk chocolate cake, chocolate diplomat cream, black cherry preserves and fresh black cherries.

What is black forest cake

Black forest cake is originally called black forest gateau, black forest cherry torte or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. There’s a dark forest in southern Germany, where Schwarzwälder Kirsch, a specialty liquor, is distilled from sour cherries (morello cherries) and used to make this cake.

Black forest cake is originally made with chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream, liquor and cherries. Some people use tart cherries and some people use maraschino cherries, I prefer fresh black cherries! 

My double chocolate black forest cake is made up of velvety buttermilk chocolate cake with chocolate diplomat cream, black cherry bourbon preserves and fresh black cherries.

How to make double chocolate black forest cake?

This cake may seem a little complicated but I’ll walk you through every step, just make sure to read the whole recipe before you get started.

It’s got three parts, the chocolate cake, the cherry filling and the chocolate diplomat cream.  


  • Flour: I use all-purpose flour and instead of sifting it, I just whisk it with the rest of my dry ingredients.
  • Sugar: I use regular granulated sugar for the cake and cream. I would not recommend cutting down on the sugar as the cake is not super sweet to begin with and it will alter the texture of the cake.
    • I used powdered sugar for the cherry preserves but granulated sugar would also work fine there too.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder: I used dutch process cocoa powder but you can also use natural cocoa powder, just make sure it’s unsweetened.  
  • Eggs: I recommend large, room temperature eggs. I use just egg yolks for the diplomat cream and I have a ton of recipes that you can use the egg whites for in the FAQ section.
  • Oil: I used a neutral flavored oil but it’s also a great recipe for olive oil chocolate cake. 
  • Buttermilk: To make this cake dairy free, you can substitute the buttermilk with dairy free milk or water plus 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice. 
  • Brewed coffee: coffee is optional and can be replaced with water.
  • Cherries: I used fresh black cherries. Frozen cherries would also be ok to make the preserves.
  • Lemon: I like to add a little lemon when making a fruit filling. Any citrus would work well here.
  • Cornstarch: Needed to thicken the cherry filling
  • Bourbon or Kirsch: I used bourbon to make this recipe a little fun but Kirsch would be more traditional. You can also skip this altogether if you want.
  • Butter: A little butter is used to make the cream. I use salted but unsalted works fine too.
  • Cool Whip: I used cool whip in this recipe but you could also make your own whipping cream at home. I would recommend following my diplomat cream recipe for that version 🙂

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

This is a basic chocolate cake recipe. It requires all the usual ingredients but it is a very forgiving cake so if you need to make any substitutions, it will most likely work! Here are some details for what I use.

Chocolate Diplomat Cream

I’m sure the majority of you have never made or even tasted diplomat cream but it is, by far, my favorite cream in terms of taste AND texture. It’s made out of custard and whipped cream so it’s super light and fluffy. It’s not great for decorating cakes but it’s perfect for replacing the whipped cream in this double chocolate black forest gateau. 

If you really like this diplomat cream, check out my cookbook Frosted for more recipes using it or try this heavenly chocolate mousse cake or this honey lemon cake!

Cherry Preserves

You can make your cherry preserves as chunky or smooth as you’d like with help of an emulsion blender. I left mine pretty chunky like cherry pie filling but you can turn it into more of a cherry syrup if you don’t like the large chunks. 

How To Frost This Cake

If you want to decorate the cake, it may be a little difficult to do it with this cream because it’s so soft. You can lightly frost it like I did, after refrigerating (or freezing) it for a little if necessary, until it’s more sturdy. 

If you want to actually frost it nice and decorate the outside of this cake you’ll have to pipe a border of buttercream around the edge of the first layer of cake and then use the dulce de leche frosting as the filling. You can see how I did that for my cranberry orange cake

I recommend a Swiss Meringue buttercream for decorating but American buttercream also works fine. 

Make sure to check out my cookbook Frosted for a million frosting options and how to use them! I also have an ebook, Frosted 2.0, that shows step-by-step photos of all the types of frostings in the cookbook. You can download that below. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this dairy free?

You can use dairy free milk to make any of my cakes. You can also use dairy free chocolate to make ganache but I have not tested any dairy free cream. I know coconut cream will work but it will obviously taste like coconut. 
There are some dairy free half and half and creams like Ripple and Chobani, you could try using ¾ of that and ¼ dairy free butter to get a higher butterfat.
Dairy free butter works well in any of my cakes and buttercreams.

Can I make this gluten-free?

All my cake recipes work well with a 1:1 gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour

Can I make this in a different size pan?

You can make this cake in:
Three (or four) round or square 6 inch baking pans 
Two (or three) round or square 8 inch baking pan (three will be thinner – reduce baking time by 5-10 minutes)
Two round or square 9 inch baking pan (will be thinner than the cakes in the photo) – reduce bake time by 5ish minutes
One square 10 inch baking pan – increase bake time by 10-15 minutes, look for cues. 
A 9×13 inch pan – increase bake time by at least 10-15 minutes, look for cues – layer of ganache on the cake (could even poke holes in it to make it go in a little), frosted with vanilla bean buttercream. 
Cupcakes – Should make about 23 cupcakes, bake for 16-18 minutes – fill cupcakes with chocolate ganache and frost with vanilla bean buttercream.

How do I know when it’s done baking?

Just like all the rest of my cakes, I test if it’s done baking by pressing gently on the tallest part of the cake. The cake will spring back if it’s done baking. If it stays indented, give it a few minutes in the oven, before testing again. 
You can also insert a toothpick into the center of the cake (the tallest part) and make sure it comes out clean or with a few crumbs but without any batter on it.

How to make the cake ahead of time

To make the cake ahead of time you can make the cakes the day before and leave them covered overnight on the counter or even a month in advance. When you remove them from the oven, let them cool for about half an hour and then wrap them individually  in plastic wrap. Then place them in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. 

I like to pull the frozen cakes out of the freezer about 30 minutes before frosting. Frosting frozen cakes with diplomat will make it easier since the cream is so soft.

For the diplomat cream, make the custard part 1-2 days ahead and then mix it with the cool whip fresh before frosting. If it’s stiff, whisk it a little before adding the cream.

The cherry preserves can be a few days ahead of time and just stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How to store black forest cakes

You HAVE to refrigerate this cake. You can leave it at room temperature for a couple hours while serving it. But since diplomat cream is made out of whipped cream, I highly suggest several hours of refrigeration time after assembling it.

Make sure to keep any open slices covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container after slicing. The cream and cake freeze well separately but I personally don’t like to freeze anything with fruit. 

If you have any questions about this gorgeous double chocolate black forest gateau, just shoot them my way down below. If you happen to make this layer cake, I would love if you left me a review or star rating!

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

Yield: 12-18 servings

Double Chocolate Black Forest Cake Recipe

up close chocolate cherry layered cake

Black forest cake is a moist chocolate cake frosted with a whipped chocolate diplomat cream, boozy cherry sauce and fresh cherries on top!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 25 minutes


Chocolate Diplomat Cream

  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 cup (20g) Dutch-process cocoa powder, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter (or unsalted)
  • 8 oz (227g) cool whip
  • 1/2 Tbsp (7mL) vanilla bean paste or extract

Cherry Preserves

  • 3/4 lb fresh cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (100g) powdered sugar, spooned and leveled
  • 2 Tbsp (60mL) lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp (8g) cornstarch
  • 1-2 Tbsp (30-60mL) bourbon or kirsch

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp (10g) baking soda
  • ½ tsp espresso powder *optional
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (177mL) canola oil
  • 3/4 cup (177mL) buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup (177mL) brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1/4 lb fresh cherries, whole


Chocolate Diplomat Cream 

  1. Begin by making the pastry cream for the Diplomat cream the night before or at least a few hours before frosting the cake, so it has time to cool.
  2. In a small saucepan, over low heat, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, cocoa powder and butter. Allow them to melt and cook while whisking continuously for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Once the custard gets the consistency of lemon curd, remove it from the heat and pour it into a separate bowl.
  4. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and allow it to cool to room temperature. 

Cherry Preserves

  1. Remove the pit and chop the cherries into quarters. Place them in a medium saucepan over medium heat with the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Allow them to simmer until they soften. 
  2. Remove 2 Tbsp of the juice from the pan and mix it in a small separate bowl with the cornstarch.
  3. Add the cornstarch mixture to the cherries and allow everything to simmer over low-medium heat for a few minutes. 
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon or kirsch.
  5. You can either leave the cherry sauce chunky, or you can use an emulsion blender to make it into a smooth sauce. Allow it to cool completely while baking the cake. 

Chocolate Cake

  1. To make the chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 3350/177C convection (or 325F/162C conventional) and grease and line the base of three 6-inch cake pans or two 8 inch cake pans. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk, coffee and vanilla extract until they’re well combined.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and fold them together just until the last streak of flour is combined. 
  5. Distribute the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans (about 16oz each for three 6-inch pan or 24oz each for two 8 inch pans).
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when it's poked or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the pan and allow them to cool completely. 


  1. Once the custard for the diplomat cream has cooled, use an electric mixer to beat it on medium-high speed with the cool whip and the vanilla, just until they're combined. 
  2. Place the bottom layer of cake on flat surface. Top with ⅓ of the chocolate diplomat cream and a layer of cherry preserves. Repeat with the second layer. 
  3. For the third layer, top with the rest of the chocolate cream and fresh, whole cherries. Place it in the refrigerator immediately so it can set for at least 30 minutes to an hour.  


Refrigerate the cake to store and cover any open slices with plastic wrap.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 227mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 17gProtein: 5g

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  1. Hello. looks awesome and would love to try this.
    For the cake, the amount of sugar is almost double the flour, is that because of the cocoa powder? I was afraid of the cake being too sweet but didn’t want to change anything to alter the structure of the cake. Please advice.

  2. I don’t see the recipe for the double chocolate black forest cake. It looks amazing from the pictures and I would love to make it for my husband as black forest cake is his favorite. Am I missing it? Thank you!

  3. I love this cake and am planning to make it for my mother’s birthday! However, she’s calorie-conscious, so I calcululated all the ingredients of the cake using the EatThisMuch database (which is accurate, I presume) and I got that the cake, which makes 12 serves, is 537 calories per serve. This is almost twice the amount of the 296 calories listed on the nutrition label so I’m confused as to what I may have done wrong to calculate it, or perhaps if it was a mistake on your end? Could you please advise me how you calculated it? Thank you very much!!
    I have attached my calculations here for reference:

  4. Oh. My. Goodness. I made this cake for a friend, and only got to try the level scraps and lick the spatulas, but all three of these recipes were so, so delicious. That cake is amazing. The diplomat cream was light. The cherry preserves (and I used frozen cherries) was delicious. I’m locking away all three of these recipes for use together or separate. Thanks so much for a delicious creation!

  5. Just made this. I prepared myself for a marathon due to the length of steps but it was surprisingly easy and quick comparatively. Don’t be fooled, it’s still a cake from scratch.

    I modified a bit as I didn’t have the alcohol. Also, I prefer a chocolate cake recipe with cocoa powder AND melted chocolate but this still turned out ok. I wasn’t impressed with the taste of the cake as it has so much coffee like vibes that I question if it’s a chocolate cake or coffee and chocolate cake. I love adding coffee to chocolate for the deeper flavor but if I make it again I will use a different cake batter recipe.

  6. Hello! So excited to make this cake. One question. You say that we will need 4 baking pans however the picture shows three layers. Am I reading or seeing this incorrectly?

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