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Black forest: cocoa sponge cake, whipped cream and cherries.

Classic Black Forest cake: sponge cake, whipped cream and cherry

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  • Post category:Easy Recipes

Classic Black Forest cake: sponge cake with cocoa, whipped cream and cherry.

Classic Black Forest cake is a German pastry made from cocoa sponge soaked in kirsch, then filled with whipped cream and cherries. Although very old, the modern version of the cake dates back to 1915, when German pastry chef Josef Keller made it for the first time.

Today, it’s Germany’s favorite cake and an emblem of German pastry-making known the world over. However, in many countries, some of its ingredients are replaced by local products, or it is prepared without alcohol. For the past twenty years or so, I’ve been making or buying a black forest for my birthdays. Today, this « homemade » version is much better than the one you can order from the bakery or patisserie in my neighborhood, which has been distorted by commercial imperatives. When you can still order a black forest, it’s often replaced by « black forest »-looking chocolate cakes, which I don’t like.

Particular utensils

Black forest cake: cocoa sponge cake, whipped cream and cherries - Ingredients
Black forest cake: cocoa sponge cake, whipped cream and cherries – Ingredients
  • 1 cul-de-poule, electric whisk and ice cubes for whipped cream.
  • Piping bag, pastry cutter and brush for dressing.
  • A marise or spatula, and a small colander.
  • A bain-marie container and a 22 cm removable base mould.


Cocoa sponge cake

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 50 g flour (type 55)
  • 35 g rice flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder

Homemade whipped cream for interior coating and decoration

  • Put the utensils you’ll be using to whip the cream in the fridge for 10 min (bowl and whisk).
  • 40 cl of liquid cream with 30% fat, pre-chilled in the freezer for 12 min.
  • 60 g powdered sugar
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar, approx. 6 g

Dressing garnish

  • 300 g « Belge » or « Griotte » cherries
  • 2 cl Kirsch and 10 cl water
  • 100 g sugar
  • Dessert chocolate

Making the sponge cake

  • Butter and flour the mould and set aside in the fridge.
  • Mix sugar and whole eggs in a bain-marie.
  • Whisk for a few minutes until the mixture is thick, fluffy and tripled in volume, then continue to whisk outside the bain-marie until cool.
Black forest cake: cocoa sponge cake, whipped cream and cherries-in a bain-marie
Black forest cake: cocoa sponge cake, whipped cream and cherries-in a bain-marie
  • Gently fold in the sifted flour with a « Maryse » or spatula to prevent the mixture from collapsing. Technique I use: I pour a little flour in a fine shower, turn the spatula on itself at the edge of the bowl and bring the spatula from the edge to the center and repeat this gesture, turning the bowl on itself a 1/4 turn (see tips).
  • Once all the flour, cornflour and cocoa have been gently incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in a preheated oven, fan-assisted heat and high/low baking tray, at 170°c, for 20 min.
  • You can stick a knife blade into the cake to check if it’s cooked through. The blade should come out dry.
  • Leave the sponge cake to cool.

How to make the chantilly

  • While the sponge cools, place our utensils and the cream in the freezer for 12 min.
  • Fill a large bowl with ice cubes, and place a smaller bowl in which to beat the cream.
  • Initially, whisk from the bottom up, then when it starts to thicken, whisk down and round for absolute efficiency.
  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla sugar gradually.
  • Stop as soon as the whipped cream is compact.

Dressing the cake

  • Before starting my sponge cake, I poached my cherries with the kirsch. To do this, I poured the water, sugar and a capful of Kirsch into my saucepan, brought it to the boil for a few minutes, then added my cherries. After a few minutes, I turned off the heat and left the mixture to cool with a sheet of greaseproof paper on top. I set the syrup and cherries aside.
  • Cut the sponge cake in half using a long bread knife, and soak both sides in the Kirsch syrup.
  • Cover with a bed of cherries and brush generously with whipped cream.
  • Close the sponge
  • Cover the entire cake with whipped cream using a spatula.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with a piping bag filled with whipped cream and cherries.
  • Finish with a layer of dessert chocolate.
Black forest cake : cocoa sponge cake, whipped cream and cherries.
Black forest cake : cocoa sponge cake, whipped cream and cherries.


  • Theoretically, for a plain sponge cake, for each egg you multiply the quantity of sugar and flour by 30.
  • For a cocoa sponge, it’s a bit different because cocoa has twice the density of flour, and is likely to collapse our frothy mixture if we keep the proportions of classic flour.

Firstly, I logically subtract the weight of the cocoa from that of the flour, and secondly, I replace part of my flour with corn or rice starch (low density) to compensate for the high density of my 25 g of cocoa. After several tests, I arrived at the following proportions: for 25 g of cocoa, I keep 50 g of flour and replace the rest of my theoretical flour with 35 g of cornstarch.

  • For information: for 4 eggs, I use a 22 cm mold with a removable base, and I get a genoise about 4-5 cm high.
  • Density of the products used for this type of aerial cookie: wheat flour (or durum wheat) has a density of around 120-130 g/l (grams per liter). This means that 1 liter of wheat flour weighs around 120-130 grams. Cornstarch (or maize) has a density of around 80-90 g/l. This means that 1 liter of cornstarch weighs around 80-90 grams. Rice starch: 60-70 g/l.
  • Prefer small cherries for the inside of the cake to prevent the chantilly layer from being too thick, or cut the cherries in half.

Original ideas (Antho’s corner)

  1. Transform the black forest into a more classic cake, with a vanilla-flavored sponge cake, for example, and apricots instead of cherries.

« Classic or modern, there’s only one kitchen…The right one. »

Paul Bocuse

French chef named « Chef of the Century » in 1989

The pavlova is already on the chain, and I wanted to make another cake, so I chose my favorite: the black forest. Traditionally, I eat a black forest every year on my birthday.I’m going to show you how easy it is to make a black forest, as long as you’ve got a few utensils and follow two tips for sponge cake: pay attention to the ingredients you add to your mousse mixture and how you mix them, and a tip for whipped cream: cold.

Feel free to comment on my Youtube channel. In case you find the recipe too difficult.

Follow my Black Forest cake recipe on Youtube