Layers of moist chocolate cake, kirsch flavoured whipped cream, marinated cherries and rich chocolate shavings, makes for the perfect black forest cake aka Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte dessert served in a glass.
Serving a dessert like this German black forest cake in a glass has many benefits. Besides everyone getting their own individual cake, you prevent people from over eating😊 I personally would not stop at one slice, rich, creamy cakes are right up my alley!
With that in mind, think of all the leftovers. Wait! There won't be any, because you can prepare the recipe based on the exact number of guests you have invited!
Serving a traditional cake like Black Forest in a glass, is a nice surprise too! It looks stunning and tastes just like the original, deliciously moist and rich.
Even though it is not clear, it is said the cake was invented in the Black Forest region in Germany in the late 16th century. Stewed cherries were served with whipped cream and kirsch (cherry liquor) during cherry season.
When the Pastry chef had a chocolate sponge cake leftover, it was added to the dessert and later assembled to the cake as we know it today.
What you need
Cherries, you can use fresh cherries but let me tell you, cherries from a jar are so much easier. They are soft already and have the right amount of juice. Use morello cherries or griottines but stay away from amarena or maraschino, they are too sweet.
Kirsch (cherry liquor), is a brandy high in alcohol. If you can't find it use any other fruit based brandy or rum.
Cream, for making whipped cream. The glass version has much less cream than the cake but you will still need a fair bit of it!
Chocolate, for making chocolate curls. I use 60-70% dark chocolate as I find it to be the sweet spot for most recipes. Not too sweet and not too bitter. Chocolate shavings can be bought ready made too.
Cocoa Powder, for making the sponge cake. Use a dark cocoa powder for a chocolaty colour.
Eggs, large eggs that have been kept at room temperature.
Butter, is for the sponge cake, use unsalted.
Vanilla, I use vanilla extract for the whipped cream.
Flour/sugar/baking powder, basic baking ingredients for common cake/dessert recipes.
How to make black forest cake
To make the German black forest cake, we need to break the recipe into four parts:
- the chocolate cake layer
- the cherries
- the decorations
- assembling the cake
The part that takes the longest is baking the cake layer but you can use that time to prepare the rest of the components.
the chocolate cake layer
First, combine the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl. Keep aside. Next, Crack eggs in a bowl and add sugar.
Now, using a mixer with the whisk attachment, we need to aerate the eggs as much as possible. Whisk the eggs for about 5 minutes to give them a nice volume.
Carefully fold the flour mix under the eggs and then the melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F) and let it cool afterwards.
The cherries and the cherry juice are equally important. Strain the cherries and pour the juice in a pot/pan. Add the kirsch and sugar and reduce the liquid by slowly simmering.
You want to have about ⅓ of syrup-like juice left. Add the cherries back to the cherry syrup and keep aside.
The chocolate curls are easy to make, all you need is a peeler. Don't use chocolate straight from the fridge, it has to be at room temperature.
Peel down the side of the chocolate bar. Small curls and shards will form, make enough since we will use them between the cake layers and also as topping.
The cream is whipped with little sugar to form stiff peaks and then some more kirsch is added in the end.
Finishing the cake
To assemble the cake, we need to have all components ready in front of us. The last element to prepare are the chocolate discs.
Now depending on what glass you are using, you will need a ring cutter that just fits inside the glass. This is to ensure, the cake layer is not too small or too wide for the glass.
Cut out the cake discs and, now this is a very important step - brush the discs with the reduced cherry juice. The cake should soak up the liquid making it extra moist.
Now the fun part starts! Assembling the glass dessert. Start with a generous amount of whipped cream, add a spoon full of cherries and some juice on the top.
Sprinkle with chocolate curls and place a cake layer on top. Press it down gently so the cream spreads to the sides of the glass.
Repeat again with a second layer of each component and finish with a thin layer of cream.
Piping the cream on top with a star nozzle attachment is optional. But I think, it adds a nice touch and gives it a classic black forest cake look. What do you think?
Decorate the top of the glass with cherries, chocolate curls and a few drops of the cherry juice...und fertig (aka 'and done')
chilling the cake
Similar to the cake, I recommend chilling the dessert for a few hours before serving it. The flavours will develop further and the cherry syrup will soak into the cake.
You can even leave the dessert in the fridge overnight and then decorate it before you serve it.
The dessert is best eaten within 1-2 days. You can still eat it afterwards but it might not be as presentable anymore since the cream will deflate and mix with the cherry syrup.
Yes you can. Just keep in mind pitting and cooking the fresh cherries is extra work and it will take you longer to make the dessert.
Yes you can, just add more cherry juice to the cherry reduction and add lemon juice to balance the sweetness.
More German recipes
Even though I live in Australia now, being half German (the other half is French) I like sharing recipes from my home country occasionally or whenever I get home sick😊
Here are some of the best for you to try:
- Pflaumenkuchen is a plum cake topped with a crumble
- Semmelknoedel are bread dumplings made with kale and served in a creamy mushroom sauce
- Rotkraut is red cabbage slow braised with apples and red wine
- Sauerkraut is the famous white cabbage that has been fermented for weeks
- Nussecken are German nut corners great as an afternoon snack
- Flammkuchen is a german style pizza topped with creme fraiche, bacon and onions
- Osterzopf is a sweet bread formed into a braid that is served during Easter
If you made the black forest dessert and love to use cherries (whether fresh or jarred) here is another beautiful dessert to make next: baked cherry clafoutis.
I hope these German recipes inspire you in the kitchen. But the real question is, which recipe are you going to make first?😉
German Black Forest Cake in a Glass
- mixing bowls
- baking tray
- mixer or kitchen aid
- small pot
- piping bag with star nozzle
- dessert glasses
- round cookie cutter
- pastry brush
for the chocolate cake
- 3 large eggs
- 100 gram caster sugar
- 100 gram plain flour
- 25 gram cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 30 gram butter melted but not hot
for the cherries
- 500 gram morello cherries in juice
- 2 tablespoon kirsch cherry liquor
- 2 tablespoon caster sugar
for the decoration
- 500 millilitre heavy cream for whipping
- 100 gram dark chocolate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon kirsch cherry liquor
for the chocolate cake
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking tray 24x24cm (9½x9½inch) with baking paper.
- In a bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and set aside.
- Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes or until the eggs increase/double in volume.
- Add the flour mix to the eggs and carefully combine. Finally add the melted butter (make sure it's not hot).
- Pour the batter into the cake form and bake for 25 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a skewer, when it comes out clean the cake is done. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool.
for the cherries
- Strain the cherries over a bowl, to keep the cherry juice. Pour the juice into a small pot/pan, add the sugar and kirsch liquor.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and reduce by ⅓. Add the cherries into the syrup and leave to cool at room temperature.
for the decoration
- Shave the sides of the chocolate slab with a peeler to form little curls.
- Whip the cream together with the sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Fold the kirsch liquor under the cream and transfer to a piping bag.
to assemble the cake in a glass
- Add a generous amount of whipped cream to the bottom of the glass and add a spoon full of cherries and some juice.
- Sprinkle with a teaspoon of chocolate curls and place a cake layer on top, pressing it gently down so the cream spreads to the sides of the glass.
- Repeat again with a second layer of cream, cherries, chocolate sprinkle and cake. Finish with a thin layer of cream on top. Place the dessert in the fridge for at least 2 hours for the flavours to develop.
- When you are ready to serve dessert, pipe some dots of whipped cream on top through a piping bag with the star nozzle attachment.
- Decorate the glasses with cherries, chocolate curls and a few drops of the cherry juice and serve.