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chocolate cherry cake with slice cut out on a plate

Double Chocolate Black Forest Cake

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Thawing Cherries: 1 day
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 983kcal
Author: Kara Jane @ I Scream for Buttercream
This double chocolate black forest cake is a scratch layer cake that's full of chocolate and cherries. A moist chocolate cake with cherry filling, whipped cream and then covered in ganache.
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Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed-see FAQ section)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick softened)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see notes for substitution)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup thawed, pitted frozen cherries (mashed well and drained) (see notes about defrosting)
  • 1 cup warm coffee (or warm water instead-it should be warm, but not so hot that it will end up melted the chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (use the mini chips, not the fill sized chips as those are too large and can end up sinking to the bottom)
  • Chocolate sprinkles (for garnish)
  • Fresh cherries (for garnish)

For the Cherry Filling:

  • 3 cups thawed pitted frozen cherries (with juice drained out)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups cold heavy cream (sometimes called whipping cream…NOT cool whip or ‘whipped’ cream)
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

For the Chocolate Ganache Drip:

  • 1 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (regular size, not mini)

Instructions

For the Cake:

  • Set your frozen cherries in the fridge to thaw overnight or for at least a day. Make sure to add the frozen cherries to a colander to drain the juice and add a bowl under it to collect the juice. Do not throw away the juice. Add it to a bowl and keep it chilled until ready to use it later.
  • Take out one cup of the defrosted cherries and mash them up very well. Drain off the juice. Save that juice with the other you drained from defrosting the cherries. Set the bowl of mashed cherries aside as you'll use that for your cake batter.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 inch round pans. (If you only have two pans, don't try to bake all the batter in only two pans, it's too much.) (Just pour a 1/3 of the batter into each of your two pans and chill the rest of the batter covered while your cakes bake. Once they're baked and removed from their pans, clean one of your pans and then bake the remaining batter in it.)
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: The all purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, packed brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk well and set aside.
  • In another bowl add the liquid ingredients: The softened butter, oil, extract, buttermilk, eggs and the mashed cherries (do not add the warm coffee yet). Mix well.
  • Do not worry if your butter clumps up a bit. It will be fine. Just keep going.
  • Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on medium just until combined.
  • Add the warm coffee and mix again just until everything is well combined. (You can add the coffee in two parts so that the batter doesn't splash.)
  • Don't mix the batter for several minutes, that's too long. Stop mixing once everything is combined well.
  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for about 10 seconds.
  • Add the mini chocolate chips and mix in by hand.
  • Pour into three greased and floured 8 inch round pans and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 35-40 minutes. (See above if you only have two pans.)
  • Set on wire racks to cool for about ten minutes, then turn out the cake layers onto the racks and remove from the pans to cool completely.
  • Make sure your cake layers are cooled completely before assembling.

For the Cherry Filling:

  • Add the three cups of thawed and drained, pitted cherries, sugar, and water to saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar dissolves. Stir periodically.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. You want the liquid to cook down a bit.
  • Add a bit of the cherry mixture to a bowl or a shaker and then add the cornstarch into that mixture. Mix well or shake if using a shaker. (This is to prevent the cornstarch from clumping once it's added back to the cherry mixture.)
  • Now add the cherry and cornstarch mixture back into the cherry mixture in the saucepan and stir in well.
  • Cook the mixture for another few minutes or so over low heat until the mixture thickens.
  • Pour the cherry filling into a bowl and let it cool down a bit. Once it has cooled somewhat, cover it well and chill it in the fridge until you're ready to add it to your cake..
  • Make sure you don't add hot or warm cherry compote to your cake as it will cause the whipped buttercream to melt and you'll have a huge mess.

For the Whipped Cream:

  • (If you want to cover your entire cake with the whipped cream and not just a crumb coat, you'll want to make a double batch of the whipped cream.)
  • Add the heavy cream to a large bowl and beat on high with a whisk attachment or electric beaters. Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar and mix well. Add in the cornstarch and mix well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Add to a cooled cake per assembly instructions below.

For the Chocolate Ganache Drip:

  • Add the chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl and set aside. (Make sure this is a bowl that can handle hot liquids.)
  • Add the cream to a small saucepan and heat on medium to medium/high until it begins to gently simmer. Do not let it boil and watch it closely so that it doesn't burn. It helps to continuously stir it.
  • As soon as it looks like it's about to boil, take the pan off the heat source and pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips.
  • Don't stir it yet, just let it sit like that for about ten minutes and then stir it. You want to stir it slowly because you don't want to whip bubbles into it. Stir it until it is smooth.
  • If there are still a few chocolate bits that aren't melted, go ahead and microwave it for about 30 seconds and stir it again.
  • Set the bowl aside and let it cool until it's drip consistency. (It could take anywhere from 20 minutes to almost an hour depending on your environment.)
  • You can add your ganache to a squeeze bottle to easily drip it onto the cake, or you can just use a spoon. Also make sure your cake is cool or cold when you add the warm ganache.

Timeline and How To Assemble:

  • Make sure your cake, cherry filling, cherry juice and whipped cream are all chilled.
  • Add a layer of the cake onto a cake plate. (It helps to level the tops of your cakes.)
  • Top with a bit of cherry juice (several tablespoons) that was drained from your cherries.
  • Next add a thin layer of the whipped buttercream on top. You can also pipe a whipped cream icing dam around the the cake to keep the cherry filling from squishing out.
  • Add half the cherry filling.
  • Add another layer of the cake, cherry juice, thin layer of whipped cream, the icing dam and the last half of the cherry filling.
  • Add the last layer of cake and add a bit more of the cherry juice.
  • Cover the entire cake with a layer of whipped buttercream. Make sure to reserve a bit of the buttercream to pipe some nice swirls on the top. (If you want more than a thin layer of whipped cream, you'll want to make double the amount of whipped cream.)
  • Add chocolate jimmies to the bottom of the cake. (optional)
  • Pop your cake into the fridge an let it chill and firm up a bit. (About 20-30 minutes or so.)
  • Add the ganache to the top and let it drip down the sides a bit. You can use a spoon or you can add the ganache to a squeeze bottle. Just make sure your ganache isn't super hot and that your cake is cold. Also add the ganache to the top of your cake, so that it completely covers the top and then drips down the sides.
  • Pop the cake back into the fridge to chill for another five minutes.
  • Lastly, pipe on a few swirls of the whipped buttercream around the top of your cake and add a cherry to each one.
  • Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Keep this cake covered and in the fridge as the whipped cream is perishable and it is a softer icing.
Buttermilk Substitute: Buttermilk will give you the best results, but if you can't get it, you can use this substitute - For every cup of buttermilk called for, add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add in milk to fill the measuring cup to 1 full cup. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using it.
Make sure to watch the video for any questions on mixing and assembling this cake.
Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer questions about substitutions, mixing and assembling.
Nutritional values are an estimate.
*This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifyingpurchases.
*This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 983kcal | Carbohydrates: 118g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 36g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 504mg | Potassium: 508mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 85g | Vitamin A: 1291IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 4mg