Modern Black Forest Cake

27. August 2020

Prep time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Serves: 12-16

This modern black forest cake in naked cake style originates from the traditional black forest cake recipe but I tweaked in some additions which really enhance the taste and make it an unbelievably delicious cake. The original recipe is fairly easy and has three main components: chocolate sponge cakes, cherries and whipped cream.

In this recipe I am adding a crunchy cookie layer at the bottom of the cake, which is found in traditional German cakes as well, and a chocolate ganache to give it some more chocolate! Therefore, it makes it the best black forest cake recipe! You can view the ‘making of’ in my Instagram Highlights. For more popular cake recipes, check out these:

German Black Forest Cake Recipe

Living abroad I realized that baking in Germany is big! And the black forest cherry cake is one of the most iconic German cake recipes. In Germany we have two or more aisles for baking ingredients and equipment in the supermarket, in other countries, including the Netherlands, we unfortunately don’t have this much variety. No worries, the black forest cake ingredients are basic ingredients which can be found any where.

This cake is also often referred as German chocolate cake, as it consists of chocolate sponge cakes and is topped or covered with chocolate sprinkles. My modern black forest cake recipe version is making it even more chocolatey with the irresistible chocolate ganache! I’ll explain you here step by step how to make black forest cake at home.


How to make Black Forest Cake at home

This is a guide for the best modern black forest cake recipe:

  • Cookie layer: in a lot of traditional German cake recipes you’ll find a cookie layer on the very bottom of the cake. It lays the foundation of the cake and adds some crunch to the cake, together with the soft sponge cakes it is perfect!
  • Sponge cake: these are chocolate sponge cakes with dark raw cacao powder in it.
  • Whipped cream: the original recipe only contains whipped cream as frosting, but I really like to fresh it up, that’s why I added some cream cheese in this recipe.
  • Cherries: for this recipe we need a lot of cherries! Traditionally cooked with some cornstarch and sugar to make it stick together and become a sort of pudding
  • Chocolate ganache: cannot be found in the black forest cake origin, but I think it adds so much flavor to the cake and makes it more chocolatey!

All these layers are simply stacked together and there we have the modern black forest cake in naked cake style!


Easy simple traditional Black Forest Cake

With this recipe from scratch I’ll show to make an easy black forest cake. This cake recipe adds two more components to the traditional recipe, but as it is a naked black forest cake, there is no need to wrap it in frosting and no decoration is needed. Once all five components are ready, we can stack those together. Importantly, the chocolate sponge cake is cut into three layers and each layer, and before stacking them, the chocolate ganache should be spread on those until the edges of the layers, so that we can see the chocolate ganache layer when we stack it.  

It is a simple black forest cake recipe, as we only need to stack the different layers. First, the cookie layer, topped with a thin layer of chocolate ganache, the first sponge cake layer is put on top. Half of the cherry pudding is evenly spread on the sponge cake and then we top it off with half of the cream cheese frosting. This is repeated once again and the final touch gives the last sponge cake. The only decoration needed here are some fresh cherries. To stack the modern black forest cake I recommend to use a cake ring. Once stacked, cool it for a couple of hours and then remove the cake ring to serve.

Print Recipe

Modern Black Forest Cake

  • Preparation time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Servings: 12-16


Chocolate Ganache

  • 2/3 cup (150ml) heavy cream
  • 2 cups (150g) chocolate (chips)


  • 4 cup (600g) cherries without pits
  • 3 tbsp (25g) cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp (35g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) water , (water from cherries)
  • 15 fresh cherries for decoration


  • 2 1/2 cup (600ml) heavy cream
  • 1 2/3 cup (200g) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (20g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp (4 sheets) gelatin

Cookie Layer

  • 3/4 cup (150g) flour
  • 1 tbsp dark cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) butter, (room temperature)

Sponge Cake

  • 8 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 3/4 cup (220g) flour
  • 1/8 cup (20g) dark cacao powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder


Modern Black Forest Cake

  • Chocolate Ganache:
    A day before: cut the chocolate into small pieces (in case it’s needed), heat up the heavy cream and pour the chocolate pieces in. Let sit for 1 minute and then gently stir until well combined without including any air. Cover and let cool down.

  • Cherries:
    A day before: pour the cherries and ¾ cups (200ml) of water into a pan and bring to a boil. Combine the rest of the water with cornstarch and sugar and add when boiling. Stir until it’s beginning to become very thick and transfer to a bowl to cool down.

  • Frosting:
    Mix cream cheese and sugar. Add gelatin according to package instructions into the mixture. In a fat-free bowl (wipe out the bowl and whisk with vinegar) beat the heavy cream until it is perfectly whipped cream. Do the dummy test by holding it the bowl with the whipped cream upside down above your head. If it falls out it’s not perfectly whipped. Add the whipped cream gently with a whisk to the cream cheese. Cool in the fridge.

  • Cookie Layer:
    Mix together flour, cacao powder, sugar and butter to a cookie dough and cool for 30 minutes in the fridge. Roll out on parchment paper, cut out to an 8 inch (20cm) diameter, poke holes in it with a fork and bake at 320°F (160°C) for 20 minutes.

  • Sponge Cake:
    Beat the eggs until fluffy, add sugar and salt and beat it for 1 minute at high speed. Mix together flour, cacao powder and baking powder and add to the egg mixture in two batches, slowly and gently combining with a whisk to not lose any air. Prepare an 8 inch (20cm) diameter cake pan with parchment paper, fill the cake batter in it and bake at 320°F (160°C) for 20 – 30 minutes.
    Let cool down, remove cake pan and cut two times horizontal to end up with three cake layers.

  • Stacking:
    Now the stacking begins: take the cookie layer, spread a teaspoon of chocolate ganache on it and place the first sponge cake layer on it. Place a cake ring tightly around it, maybe you have to cut off a bit of the cookie layer to make it tightly fit. Divide chocolate ganache into 3 parts and spread 1/3 on the sponge cake layer. Add half of the cherries and half of the whipped cream. Repeat this step. Then place the last sponge cake layer and spread the last chocolate ganache on it. Top with fresh and washed cherries. Cool for a couple of hours, carefully remove the cake ring and it’s ready to be served.

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