Here’s How to Make a Black Forest Gateau

Chocolate cake
Photo by Ayesha Firdaus on Unsplash

Black Forest Gateau, a classic German dessert, is a luscious combination of rich chocolate cake, whipped cream, and cherries. This show-stopping cake is perfect for special occasions and is sure to impress. Here’s how to make a traditional Black Forest Gateau.


  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of pitted and halved cherries (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 cup of cherry syrup or kirsch (cherry brandy)
  • Chocolate shavings or curls for garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in the boiling water until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. If using fresh cherries, pit and halve them. If using canned cherries, drain them and reserve 1/2 cup of the syrup.
  5. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld and the cake to set. Once the cakes are completely cool, slice each cake in half horizontally to create four layers. Place the first layer on a serving plate and brush with cherry syrup or kirsch. Spread a layer of whipped cream over the cake and top with a portion of the cherries.
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining layers, finishing with a layer of whipped cream on top and around the sides of the cake. Decorate the top with chocolate shavings or curls and additional cherries. Slice and serve chilled, enjoying the combination of rich chocolate, sweet cherries, and light whipped cream.