Are you craving chocolate, cherries, and whipped cream all laid out in one delicious cake? Then this Gluten-free Black Forest Cake recipe is for you. Each layer is stacked up with chocolate sponge cake, delicious homemade cherry syrup, and a generous amount of sweet vanilla-flavored whipped cream. It's a delicious dessert perfect for any occasion.
If you have been on the hunt for Gluten-free dessert recipes then add this easy Gluten-free Black Forest Cake to your list. It's easy to make and use staple ingredients from many households. The sponge cake part of this recipe was adapted from my Gluten-free Chocolate Cake which is also delicious and easy to make, it's worth trying next.
What is Black Forest Gâteau?
Black forest gateau or black forest Cake is a famous cake consisting of layers of chocolate sponge cake with a generous amount of whipped cream and rich cherry filling then garnished with fresh cherries and chocolate shavings.
Where did Black Forest Cake come from?
The original black forest Cake recipe came from Germany where it is known as Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte. The name of this German dessert was inspired by a special liquor known as Schwarzwalder kirsch (Wasser) of the black forest mountain range in the southern part of Germany. The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, Sugar, and eggs. Since we are making a Gluten-free Black Forest Cake version, the all-purpose flour in the original recipe will be substituted with gluten-free flour.
Detailed measures are on the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Gluten-free flour: I recommend using my homemade gluten-free flour mix or a store-bought mix like Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour or Cup 4 Cup Multipurpose Flour. If you are in Europe I recommend using Mix C Patisserie or Universal Mix by Schar.
Cocoa powder: Natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder will give the cake a chocolate flavor and color.
Sugar: Any granulated sugar will work in this recipe. It can be brown or white sugar.
Baking soda: This chocolate cake relies on baking soda for a rise in volume and fluffy texture.
Salt: Fine salt is ideal for baking and helps balance out the sweetness in this German dessert.
Oil: I recommend using sunflower or canola oil but you are welcome to use any light cooking oil or coconut oil.
Water: warm water, defined as water that you can hold your finger comfortably inside it.
Greek yogurt: let the yogurt be at room temperature. You can substitute it with plant-based yogurt if you like.
Eggs: Eggs should be at room temperature to help the cake emulsify properly. You can bring your eggs to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes.
Vanilla extract: Vanilla is our flavoring agent for both the cake and frosting.
Whipping cream: A light and airy whipping cream for frosting, when whipped it will hold its shape just like a buttercream frosting.
Powdered sugar: it's always the best option so that your frosting doesn't turn out grainy. Don't forget to sift it to remove any lumps.
Vanilla extract to give the whipped cream frosting a bit of flavor.
Fresh berries: for decorating this gluten-free chocolate sponge cake fresh berries always look appetizing but if you don't have them, reserve some of the cherries from the syrup to garnish with them.
Cornstarch: We use cornstarch to thicken the cherry syrup, you may adjust measurements according to your desired consistency.
Cherry liquor (kirschwasser): If you want to have an alcohol-free cake you can omit this cherry liquor or use cherry juice instead.
Water can be cold water or tap water.
Sugar: we are making a dessert, and everything needs to be sweet.
Cherries: For the syrup, you can use fresh, frozen, or canned cherries. If you reserved some from the cherry syrup then you can use them as well.
Chocolate: shredded chocolate and chocolate shavings for that signature finish on a black forest Cake.
How to make gluten-free black forest Cake
Start with the sponge cake
In a large bowl, add all your dry ingredients and whisk together until they are well combined. While you are busy with this, have your oven preheated at 180 C and your cake pans lined up with baking paper.
To your dry ingredients add your wet ingredients one by one while whisking until you get a smooth cake batter. Distribute the batter equally in all 3 cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes at 180 C or until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted in the middle.
Making the Cherries syrup
In a saucepan, add all the cherry syrup ingredients then bring it to a light boiling point on medium heat. This should take about 8 minutes or so then let it simmer for additional 5 minutes on medium-low heat while stirring frequently.
To thicken the syrup, in a small bowl combine cornstarch with about 3 teaspoons of water then add it to the syrup. If the syrup is too thick for your liking then you can add a little bit of water until you reach your desired consistency. Bear in mind that the syrup will thicken as it cools. Once cooled then you can add about 2 tablespoons of kirschwasser.
Whipped cream frosting
Beat the whipping cream on high together with powdered sugar and vanilla extract using a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form.
Assembling the gluten-free black forest Cake
On a serving plate or cake stand place the first cooled cake layer then top it with whipped cream, spread it evenly on the top part of the cake followed by the cherry syrup. Repeat with the rest of the cake layers. Drizzle with the remaining syrup and garnish with fresh cherries and chocolate shavings.
- Top your black forest cake with a delicious chocolate ganache.
- Cover the sides of the cake with whipped cream then sprinkle shredded chocolate around the cake.
- Take a step further and sprinkle the side of the cake with crushed walnuts or almonds.
- 6-inch round Cake pans *3
- Large and small bowls
- Handheld mixer
- Serving plate or cake stand
- Chill the sponge cakes before assembling them.
- Place an ice bag underneath the frosting bowl to avoid your frosting going soft or runny.
- measure the amount of cake batter and separate it equally between the 3 cake forms- this is for equal layers.
- For the best flavor use fresh or frozen cherries
- watch out when whipping the cream and when you see stiff peaks form stop.
- kirschwasser- cherry liquor is optional but highly recommended for the best and most authentic flavor.
- You can store this cake in a fridge for up to 3 days. Just ensure that it's in an airtight container so it doesn't dry out or absorb the smell of the fridge.
- I don't recommend keeping this cake over the counter for more than 2 hours because the frosting might start to melt and lose its shape.
- Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months, put any leftovers in an airtight container then wrap the container with cling film or aluminum foil to avoid any chance of getting freezer burn.
The original recipe calls for Kirsch but you can make alcohol-free black forest gateau by using cherry juice or just water alone to make the cherry syrup.
Yes, you just need to swap all dairy products with plant-based alternatives. Although this may have some effect on the taste and texture of the cake.
You can bake the chocolate sponge cake and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer depending on how many days ahead you are baking it. The cherry syrup and whipped cream frosting are to be kept separate in the fridge until the day of assembling it.
More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes
- Gluten-Free Oreo Cake
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
- Gluten-Free Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below!
Gluten-Free Black Forest Cake
For the Cakes
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free flour
- ½ cup cacao powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup oil
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup yogurt (at room temperature) (you can also use plant-based)
- 2 eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cherries in Syrup
- 1 lb cherries (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (dissolved in 3 teaspoon water)
For the Whipped Cream
- 2 cups whipped cream (you can also use plant-based)
- ⅓ cup powder sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup fresh cherries (optional)
- Shredded chocolate for garnish (optioanl)
To Make the Cakes
- Preheat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line two 6 inch round cake pans with greaseproof/baking paper.
- In a large bowl, sift together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Add the granulated sugar and salt, and whisk well. Add the eggs, yogurt, water, vanilla extract and vegetable/sunflower oil. Whisk well, until you get a smooth cake batter.
- Evenly distribute the cake batter between the three-lined cake pans, and bake in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 40 minutes or until spongy to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
To Make the Cherries in Syrup
- Combine sugar, with water, lemon juice, and salt in a 3-quart pot over medium heat. Add cherries. Heat on medium for 6-7 minutes or until lightly boiling. Reduce heat to medium/low. Cook 5 minutes while stirring frequently.
- In a small bowl stir together cornstarch with ¼ cup water. Add the mixture to the syrup and stir. Heat to desired consistency. The syrup will thicken slightly when cooled. Cooking time may vary slightly depending on the ripeness of cherries.
- Place the heavy whipping cream and confectioners' sugar in a bowl. Beat on high with a handheld electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Place one layer of cake on a serving plate, top with ⅓ of the whipped cream, and the same amount of the cherry syrup. Repeat with the remaining layers, top with the fresh cherries. Drizzle with the remainder of the syrup and top with chocolate shavings if desired.