Decadent Black Forest Cake
Years ago, while celebrating a birthday in a restaurant, I had a piece of delicious cake. It was the best of two worlds, Chocolate, and cherries. It was like eating a chocolate-covered cherry, and I love those, especially during the holidays.
I had completely forgotten about the cake until years later when I started to bake a lot and wanted to make a chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday. I didn’t want to make a plain chocolate cake. It had to be special and unique. It had to be something different that would not only look amazing but taste amazing as well.
I tinkered in the kitchen with all sorts of ideas for what seemed like days. I tried German Chocolate, but that was too obvious. I tried adding spice to the Chocolate, similar to Mexican Chocolate, but it just didn’t have the “wow” factor I wanted.
Then, I remembered the cake I had on my birthday, that chocolate and cherry piece of heaven. That was it. I would recreate that cake, but how. I had no idea what type of cake they used or how I would recreate the filling.
Through a lot of trial and error and many really ugly cakes, I came up with the answer to the problem, use a Devil’s Food cake. It was perfect! Now, how was I going to create the cherry filling for the cake? Cherries were not in season, so I couldn’t make the filling, and I didn’t want to use frozen. There had to be a shortcut, hmmm. Then, it hit me! Pie Filling! I could use cherry pie filling and get the exact flavor and texture I was looking for.
It’s like eating chocolate covered cherries in a cake.
So, I got to work! I baked my cake, frosted it, and assembled it, and stood back. That was it! That was the cake I remembered from my birthday years before. Now, did it taste the same? Would it remind me of chocolate-covered cherries?
With each bite of the dense, rich, Devils Food cake, it’s like chocolate heaven in your mouth. I have said it before, the best ingredients make the best baked goods, which is no exception. With the use of Dutch-process cocoa, the depth of the chocolate flavor in both the cake and the frosting is unmatched. The taste is not just a chocolate cake but, instead, deep, intense Chocolate.
Chocolate cake itself is always a good thing, but when you sandwich cherry pie filling in between the layers and top it with whipped cream and more cherries, it’s like a box of chocolate-covered cherries in a cake.
The key to making this cake successful is patience. Things can get tricky with all the buttercream frosting if the temps are too warm in your home. I always chill each layer for 15 minutes or so after I frost them just so the buttercream can set. This also helps when it comes time to top the cake with whipped topping and cherries in that the cake isn’t shifting as you assemble it.
Tips for an even better cake:
- Dust the cake pans with cocoa powder instead of flour. When you turn the cakes out to cool, you’ll have a dusting of Chocolate instead of white flour.
- Line bottom of cake pans with parchment paper – always. I always use parchment paper when I bake to achieve even results and no sticking to the bottom of the pans.
- Invest in an offset spatula to frost the cake. It will make frosting a cake so much easier and keeps your hands clean at the same time.
- Before whipping heavy cream, place the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes. Heavy cream beats much faster in a cold bowl, and you get better results.
- Add vanilla to heavy cream while whipping for added flavor – it’s yummy!
- Chill the cake after frosting each layer. If the temps are warm, the cake can shift while you’re frosting it, and you end up with an uneven cake.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder. This ensures any lumps are removed and makes a smoother cake. This is key when making buttercream frosting as you want a smooth product for the cake.
- Place strips of parchment paper under the edges of the bottom layer before frosting. When you’re done, remove them, and your cake plate stays clean.
Over the years, I have made this cake so many times I have lost count. I have made it for birthdays, church socials, and just because I was craving it. If you love Chocolate and cherries, give this decadent treat a try. Who knows, maybe you’ll taste the box of cherry chocolates too!
Decadent Black Forest Cake
Rich chocolate cake, cherry pie filling, and smooth whipped cream make a cake that tastes like chocolate covered cherries.
- 3/4 Cup Soft unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 Cup Granulated sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 2 Cup Unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 Cup Dutch-process cocoa
- 2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cup Milk
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Butter Cream Frosting
- 1 Cup Unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
- 3 1/2 Cup Confectioners Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
- 3 Tbsp Heavy Cream
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Filling and Topping
- 1 Can Cherry pie filling
- 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tsp Granulated Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease and dust with cocoa powder two 9" round cake pans, three 8" round, or a 9"x13" pan. **I also line the bottom of my pans with parchment paper to reduce sticking.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy and light, beating for at least 5 minutes. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. If lumps remain, sift the mixture.
Mix together vanilla and milk.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter, then 1/2 of the milk & vanilla, then 1/3 of flour, the remaining flour, and remaining milk, alternating and mixing well between each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter into pans evenly if using round pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes (a bit longer for 9x13" cake), or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans.
Remove from oven, cool for 5-10 minutes in pan(s) and then remove from pan(s) and let cool on wire rack. If baking a 9x13, let it cool completely in the pan, it's the easiest way to decorate and serve.
Cool completely before frosting.
With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to high for a full 2 minutes.
For frosting that is too thin, add additional confectioners' sugar. If frosting is too thick, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
Extra frosting can be stored in fridge for up to 1 week in an air-tight container or up to 3 weeks in the freezer. If freezing, thaw in the fridge and then beat for a few seconds until creamy and it's ready to use.
Place mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to using. Whip cream on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Add sugar and vanilla and increase speed to high, whipping until stiff peaks form.
To Assemble Cake
Frost bottom layer of cake, creating a small area in the center for pie filling. It is easiest if you do not use as much frosting in the center, just enough to have a thin barrier between the cherries and the cake.
Spoon 1/2 of the pie filling onto the center of the cake taking care to not get too close to the edges. Chill for 15 minutes to set the frosting.
Place top layer on and frost top and sides with remaining frosting. Chill for another 15 minutes.
Top cake with whipped cream, creating a center area for remaining pie filling, about 1" from the outer edge.
Spoon remaining pie filling in center of the top and spread to edge of whipped cream.