Love and Olive Oil

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

I started calling this cake the “Sloppy Drunk Cake” shortly after I started making it. Because whoowhee, that’s a heck of a lot of booze in one little 6″ layer cake.

But the term sloppy drunk took on a whole new meaning when I attempted to garnish the thing with chocolate curls. What you can’t see here is the backside of the cake, when I got frustrated and starting throwing the chocolate shards against the side of the cake, hoping they’d stick. They didn’t. There was chocolate everywhere.

Black Forest Cake

Not to mention what a mess it was to slice. The whipped cream doesn’t have much structure—neither does the cake for that matter—and it practically collapsed under the weight of the knife. Squish. Sorry folks, no perfectly pretty cake slice for this photo op. After three test slices I gave up and decide to embrace the ugly.

Sloppy drunk indeed.

Black Forest Cake

While this cake is no where near as successful, or as delicious, as some of the others I’ve made, it was different. Light. Boozey. Fruity. The cake itself was bizarre, more of a souffle than a cake. A light and airy chocolate cake layered with fluffy vanilla whipped cream and brandy infused cherries throughout. I liked it. The birthday boy liked it. But it paled in comparison to last years’ cake. Still better than no cake at all, I guess!

Black Forest Cake

Makes one 9-inch layer cake (halve recipe for a 6-inch cake).
Recipe from Sky High Cakes.

Did you make this recipe?


1 lb fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries
1/2 cup kirsch

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
7 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar

3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate curls, for decoration


At least 24 hours ahead of time, put the cherries and kirsch into a container with a cover (a 1 pint mason jar works perfectly). Refrigerate for several hours or up to several days. Before use, drain the cherries well, reserving the liquor in which they steeped.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment paper but do not grease the pans.

Sift together the cake flour and cocoa powder and set aside. Unlike many recipes, the sifting is very important here so don’t skip it. If you don’t have a sifter you can use a fine mesh sieve as well.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the eggs to blend. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until a slowly dissolving ribbon forms when the beaters are lifted, about 5-7 minutes.

Sift (again, don’t skip the sifting!) one third of the dry ingredients over the egg mixture. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold in. Repeat this step twice more, then fold the batter until the ingredients are well mixed without deflating the batter. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

Bake the layers for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans until completely cool, at least 1 hour. To unmold, run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan and invert. Peel of the paper.

In a large chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat the cream until it mounds lightly. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the vanilla and whip until the cream forms stiff peaks.

To assemble the cake, place a layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate and sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved cherry brandy evenly over the top to moisten. Cover the cake with 2/3 cup of the whipped cream, spreading it all the way to the edge. Arrange half of the cherries on top of the cream. Cover the cherries with another 2/3 cup whipped cream. Repeat with the second layer. Put the third layer on top and moisten it with the remaining cherry brandy. Frost the entire cake—top and sides— with the remaining whipped cream.

To decorate, gently scoop up the chilled chocolate curls with your hands and press them into the sides of the cake, covering them completely with curls. Decorate the top, if desired, with rosettes of whipped cream and some extra cherries.

Refrigerate the cake for several hours before serving. This will make cutting and serving the cake much easier (or not, but whatever).

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. I cannot imagine how good that thing tasted. Maybe frost the sides of the cake and save the chocolate sprinkles for the top only… beautiful job. Cannot wait to try.

  2. I see the problem. The whipped cream needs to be stabilize.

    For every cup (240 ml) of heavy cream you’ll need to add one of the following: 
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) plain gelatin or;
    2 teaspoons (10 ml) nonfat dry milk powder or;
    2 tablespoons (30 ml) powdered sugar or;
    2 tablespoons (30 ml) instant dry vanilla pudding mix.

  3. is there a substitute for the Kirsch? Looks yum by the way! :)

  4. Who needs a photo of the slice
    when the mise en place photo looks so nice?

  5. This post takes me back to my job at a fancy hotel. We got Black Forest cake regularly. I don’t know if it was just a standard at the hotel back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. It is a good cake for a luscious feel in the mouth. And when you are 18/19 and work is providing you with free food..well…for it to be lovely, it is a wonderful thing.

    thanks for the flashback.

  6. Gorgeous. It loks amazing!

  7. Oh my goodness this looks so delicious! The pictures of it are great. It just looks beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  8. Sloppy drunk, hey? Might be perfect for my birthday in a couple of weeks =]

  9. Wow. Where has this cake been my whole life? The pictures you take are spectacular! I would love to learn how to take better pictures of the things I make.

  10. What a great shot of your mixer~cutting board~cherries–beautiful!
    I haven’t had a black forest cake in a long time, and now you have me remembering how much I love them.

  11. My first thought when I saw your cake un-cut – STUNNING!
    I do understand your frustration though – not nice when a recipe doesn’t work out just the way we want.
    :-) Mandy

  12. It’s a sponge cake(like an angel food cake almost), which is very light and airy compared to American butter cake for sure! I love this kind of cake with heavy cream and fresh fruit/pudding in the center in summer, so refreshing! (I’ve never tried this recipe, but mine has some additional melted butter that gives the cake more moisture)
    It’s a very common cake in Asian countries, pastry shops usually freeze the cake, slice, then “defrost” in the fridge, it might help!:)
    (but i think ur cake looks very lovely!:) )

  13. Black forest cake is one of my favorites and I still haven’t made it myself! Yours looks beautiful!

  14. It doesn’t look at all sloppy from the photos. Looks like a fantabulous cake, actually. :)

  15. woah woah woah. You just caused a lot of trouble. Because now i’m going to make this. and eat it. it looks so lovely!

  16. I also made the Black Forest Cake from Sky High. I didn’t like it at all. xD I’ve never had a black forest cake before, but the cake really didn’t hold up at all. At least the cherries were nummie!

  17. I think the uncut cake is stunning!

    PS. My what a pretty plate you have there.

  18. Holy moly. That is one heck of a cake. I also have fond childhood memories of black forest gateaux but have only ever had it once in adulthood I think and it didn’t do much for me. But this does look mighty appealing. Though the fuss you went through does put me off somewhat. Mayone on one of my more ambitious days!

  19. I’ve got Sky High Cakes as well, and while I’ve always found the cake itself to be fantastic (really, really good), I have yet to get one of the frosting recipes to work. I’m pretty adept at baking (I’ve even worked in a bakery producing cookie doughs and things), and I’ve never had problems with frostings until I tried the ones in this book. I made the chai cake once and the cake layers literally slid apart and it fell over.

    Anyway, it’s good to know I’m not the only one that’s had issues with the frostings in that book. Yours managed to stay standing, at least! :)

  20. I’ve never seen a cake recipe to have such a short ingredient list. I love it!

  21. That cake looks absolutely magical! I wish I had a large slice right now and it is only 7:19am my time. BTW – love the color of your kitchen-aide. :-)

  22. It looks impressive and delicious, no matter what!

  23. I hadn’t gotten beyond the first picture when I had this urge to lick my screen. Wow…. it’s so pretty even if it was slightly a pain in the butt at the end.

  24. I don’t like black forest cake, however this one looks so pretty! I love the shards of chocolate too, even though it must have been a messy nightmare.

  25. It looks very lovely to me. I would have a big slice and lick all the cream :) I have not tried this cake. I would love to try. A good one for birthday.

  26. This cake brings back childhood memories. It was my favorite cake at an amusement park the family visited at least once a year. Of course, the cake was a cake box mix, but as kids, we didn’t know the difference. I love your homemade interpretation. It’s fresh.

  27. I have had black forest cake once in my life, but the memory is a good one… why I’ve never had one since I do not know. Maybe it’s time to revisit!

  28. Yummy! Sloppy but it looks so tasty. The frosting in the first picture just looks so pillowy and soft.

  29. Yum!! What is the smaller cake in the last photo?

  30. Sloppy drunk or not–it looks fantastic. Beautiful job. LOVE the color of your kitchen-aid, btw!

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