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German Black Forest Cake Recipe

This German Black Forest Cake, or its original German name of Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, is made with kirschwasser (cherry brandy.) I have a very dear friend who keeps me supplied with homemade kirschwasser! Thank you Roy!

Prep time: 45 minutes | Cook time:  35 minutes | Serves: 8





  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups strong coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup kirschwasser (cherry brandy) to brush on cooled cake layers


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans pitted Bing cherries, drained and halved (Do not use pie filling)
  • 1 semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bar, shaved into curls



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans. Add parchment paper circles to bottom of each greased and floured pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set bowl aside.
  3. Mix together vegetable oil and sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs, vanilla and coffee. Beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between the two and mixing well between each addition. (Cake will be very runny, but have no fear!)
  4. Pour batter into the two prepared 9-inch round pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.   Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
  5. Cool cake about 20 minutes, then carefully remove from pans (don’t forget to remove the parchment paper circle from each layer!) Allow cakes to cool completely. Brush tops of each layer with 1/2 cup of kirschwasser.


  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, salt, coffee and vanilla. Beat until smooth. While continuing to beat, gradually add in whipping cream.  Continue beating until mixture can hold a stiff peak.  Be sure to scrap bowl several times while beating.
  2. Frost top of one layer. Spread drained cherries over frosted layer top. Add second layer and frost the cake.  Top with chocolate curls. (Shave chocolate bar with potato peeler.)


For the kiddie version, substitute cherry juice for the kirschwasser.

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