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A Three Layer, Chocolate and Kirsch Sponge, with Vanilla Buttercream, and all things Cherry and Chocolate. My delicious Black Forest Gateau!

I have recently found my love for all things Black Forest with the help of my Black Forest Brownies and my No-Bake Black Forest Cheesecake, I thought it was about time to post a Cake Version. I will say from the beginning that this is my version and interpretation of a Black Forest Gateau, and I loooove it, but its not the most classic attempt ever.

I went for using the same sponge as my Chocolate Fudge Cake because its just so damn delicious and perfect in my eyes. It does use Coffee in the sponge but you can’t taste it! I get so many comments all of the time, but honestly, you cannot taste the coffee inside it. It enhances the flavour of the chocolate, and it helps make it the perfect texture.

The Buttermilk in the sponge, mixed with the bicarbonate and other ingredients helps give it a deliciously light and moreish texture. I jazzed it up a little by using the Liquid from the Cherries in Kirsch jar to soak into the sponges to make it delicious Black Forest like and ohmydays it was so tasty!

I decided to use a Vanilla Buttercream for my cake which immediately strays from the classic, but I didn’t want to have to store my cake in the fridge like if you use cream. I used Double Cream in the buttercream to smooth it down into the best textured buttercream I’ve eaten in a long time, and it helps give it a creamy heavenly flavour. You could add Kirsch to the buttercream as well if you wanted, but I like that the buttercream is different to the cake.

In my No-Bake Black Forest Cheesecake I used Cherries in the filling of the Cheesecake, and drizzled jam and such on top. Because this cake is so soft and delicious already, I decided to use a Cherry Conserve/Jam on each layer of the cake, with some of the buttercream after having soaked Kirsch into the sponges.

On the top, I created a barrier with the Buttercream to pile the Kirsch soaked Cherries into the middle, and then decorated with some fresh cherries to boot. Dark Chocolate Curls were a given for me, but thats an optional one of course! I hope you like this recipe as much as I do, enjoy! x

Black Forest Gateau!

A Three Layer, Chocolate and Kirsch Sponge, with Vanilla Buttercream, and all things Cherry and Chocolate. My delicious Black Forest Gateau!
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Category: Cake
Type: Black Forest
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 14 Slices
Author: Jane's Patisserie


Cake Ingredients

  • 225 g Dark Chocolate
  • 225 g Unsalted Butter/Stork
  • 1 tsp Instant Coffee Granules
  • 175 g Plain Flour
  • 25 g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 200 g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 200 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 75 ml Buttermilk

Buttercream Ingredients

  • 250 g Unsalted Butter (room temp)
  • 500 g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2-5 tbsp Double Cream

Decoration Ingredients

  • Dark Chocolate Curls
  • Opies Black Cherries Soaked in Kirsch
  • Cherry Jam
  • Fresh Cherries


For the Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 160C/140CFan and grease & line three 8″/20cm Cake tins – leave to the side.
  • In a heatproof bowl, microwave the Dark Chocolate & Butter till melted – mine takes two minutes! Pour the Coffee Granules into 125ml Boiling Water and mix – add the coffee to the Chocolate/Butter mix and stir well till smooth!
  • In a separate large bowl add the Plain Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder, Bicarbonate of Soda, Golden Caster Sugar, and Light Brown Sugar and mix well so the ingredients are all mixed with each other well!
  • Mix the Eggs with the Buttermilk – Add the Chocolate Mix & the Egg Mix to the dry ingredients and stir together, try not to over mix it – it should be thick but runny when finished and no flour lumps!
  • Pour the mixture into the three lined tins and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (can take a little longer in some ovens). 
  • Once baked, drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of the Kirsch Liquid from the Jar of Cherries onto each cake. 
  • Leave for 10-15 minutes to cool in the tin and then fully cool on a wire rack.

For the Decoration

  • With an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until its very smooth and supple (couple of minutes) Gradually add the Icing Sugar and add the vanilla essence.
  • Beat for a couple of minutes so its extra smooth & creamy. Add in the Double Cream 1tbsp at a time till you get your desired consistency.
  • On each layer of the cake, spread some Cherry Jam. Pipe some buttercream round the edges using a 2D Closed Star Piping Tip and spread some in the middle. 
  • Add a couple of cherries from the kirsch jar. On the top layer of the cake, pipe the buttercream round the edge, and spread a little in the middle.
  • Then, in the middle of the buttercream swirls, (like you see in the pictures) add the rest of your cherries from the Cherries in Kirsch Jar (The liquid should have been used to soak into the sponges). 
  • On top of the buttercream swirls, add a fresh cherry, and sprinkle on some dark chocolate curls. Enjoy!


  • I bought my Cherries in Kirsch Jar in Tesco. If you can’t access it, you can use normal kirsch, but buy another 300 of cherries and soak them in kirsch over night before baking the cake.
  • You can use fresh cream filling in the cake instead if you liked, but the cake needs to be stored in the fridge if you do. I used Buttercream so it lasts much better!
  • You can also bake this into two layers rather than three layers by using two 20cm tins – they will take 35-40 minutes in the oven!
  • This cake will last for 3 days in an airtight container!
  • I use a 2D Closed Star Piping Tip to decorate! 


Find my other Cake Recipes on my Recipes Page!

You can find me on:

J x

© Jane’s Patisserie. All images & content are copyright protected. Do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words and credit me, or link back to this post for the recipe.




  1. Carolyn on February 13, 2024 at 10:51 am

    Hi! My daughter has requested this cake for her birthday but she can’t have coffee. Should I just add the water without the coffee or can you suggest a substitute please? Thank you!

  2. Amanda on February 2, 2024 at 10:57 pm

    Firsty,Absolutely love your bakes. All ok them 🤤

    I have just baked this cake ready for a birthday tomorrow but the cake seems quite delicate and sticky is this right or have i gone wrong somewhere? It was clear when I checked the bake but now I’m worried i have under done it or mixed wrong 😑

  3. Sylvia on June 6, 2023 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Jane I want to make this with fresh cream have you got recipe for the this

  4. Kath on March 22, 2023 at 7:11 am

    Hello. Love your recipes. Please can you let me know if this one could be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge in an airtight container? Then on the day leave out for a few hours to bring to room temperature before eating? Thanks 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 23, 2023 at 2:15 pm

      Hiya! Yes this should be fine, enjoy! x

  5. Melissa Bruce on January 26, 2023 at 10:35 am

    5 stars
    Hi Jane, I have been making this recipe and your chocolate fudge cake and they’re the best

    I noticed that 2 types of sugars caster and light brown are used and yet they don’t turn out too sweet, just perfect.

    Now I recently made walnut whisky chocolate pie from Beyond Frosting using maple syrup and light brown sugar and it turned out too extra sweet. So what’s the difference? For my education as a beginner. Pls create a recipe for the latter pls. 🙂

  6. Paul Gilbert on December 17, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Hi Jane. What content of cocoa solids was in the chocolate that you used in this gateau? Also any particular brand? Thanks Paul x

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 23, 2022 at 11:11 am

      Hiya! I use dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% in my baking, any brand is fine! Hope this helps! x

  7. Lubica on July 13, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Jane, can I bake this in four 6′ cake tins and cover with dark choc ganache from your black forest drip cake recipe? Will the sponge be strong enough to hold 4 layers? thank you

  8. Jackie on May 13, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    5 stars
    Just made this and it smells delicious. I’m putting cream in mine. Thank you for your yummy recipes.

    • Jane's Patisserie on May 15, 2021 at 10:39 am

      You are very welcome! Enjoy!xx

  9. Laura Humphries on January 10, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    Hi this looks amazing, 14 servings is to big for us as we are in lockdown it would be only for 4 of us. Would it still be ok to half the recipe but still use three 8” tins??

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 11, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      Hello! No you can’t – you would have to make less layers, or use smaller tins. For example, using 6″ tins would be about 2/3 of the recipe x

  10. Sarah on December 20, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Jane

    Can you freeze this cake? Either with butter cream or with fresh cream? I want to make it for Christmas Day but I would have loads left over wonder if I could freeze it

    Thank you in advance

    Love your recipes

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 20, 2020 at 9:07 pm

      I would say it is better frozen if you use the buttercream x

  11. Sami on November 29, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Hey Jane! If I were to do this with two layers, would I keep the amount of the ingredients the same or do 2/3 of everything? 😊

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 29, 2020 at 3:30 pm

      I would use the same, but split between two tins and bake for longer – its the same weights as my chocolate fudge cake which is only two layers! X

  12. Megan on November 8, 2020 at 8:06 am


    Is there any chance I could change some ingredients to make a chocolate orange gateau?

  13. Suzanne on July 10, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Hi Jane,
    I’m making this today for my husband’s birthday. I couldn’t get cherries in Kirsch but I got canned cherries and a bottle of Kirsch. I’ve steeped the cherries overnight as you suggested. Can I ask, when you add some of the cherries to the cake layers, do you chop those ones and the the topping ones whole ? Thank you for all your wonderful bakes !

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 10, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      Hey! So often cherries soaked in kirsch already have their stones removed and are softer so I leave them as they are – but you can chop them to smaller if you prefer!! x

  14. Niki on April 6, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Hi Jane! It looks delicious. I want to make it but i would like to use cream instead of the buttercream. How much cream you’d reckon I’ll need?
    Many thanks for the great recipes!!

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 7, 2019 at 9:16 am

      I would go for 600ml with 2tbsp icing sugar in, and it would need storing in the fridge!

  15. Amanda W. on October 5, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    hi Jane, i would like to achieve thick 8″ layers – would 1.5x of your recipe suffice for 3 or 4 layers? i would like to bake this on monday for a colleague’s birthday. Thanks!

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 6, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Hiya! Yeah probably 1.5x would make it nice and tall! Obviously, it will take longer to bake! X

  16. Amanda W. on October 5, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Jane, I would like thicker 8″ layers – would 1.5x of your recipe suffice for 3 or 4 layers? I wish to try this moist choc cake for my colleague’s birthday. Thanks!

  17. Lilly on May 21, 2018 at 1:06 am

    Hi Jane
    I love your website and your recipes, they are super yummy and easy to make!
    However, I must say that you should add one more ingredient to this cake – and everything you call “Black Forest”. It’s this incredibly delicious cherry spirit, called Kischwasser in German. It adds another level of flavour to the whole cake and you usually sprinkle the middle layer of the cake with it and also soak the cherries in it if you’re making it for adults. It might be hard to find outside of Germany but it’s really worth the effort. And without this spirit it’s only a cherry chocolate cake, not Black Forest gateau. I grew up in the Black Forest and Ilove sharing my heritage with my friends through this cake 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on May 21, 2018 at 10:21 am

      As I say in the post “I will say from the beginning that this is my version and interpretation of a Black Forest Gateau,” and I use Kirsch, so its fine.

  18. Louisa on December 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I am going to make this cake at the weekend for my dads 70th birthday, can I ask what sort of cake tins you use. Is loose bottomed or springform better?
    Also I am thinking of making the sponge cakes a day ahead and finishing the cake on the day, how would you store the cakes and would you add the cherry liquid to the sponge after cooking or the next day when assembling?
    Thank you

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Either type of cake tin works fine, and I would soak before.

  19. Vikki Wood on November 23, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    This looks amazing, I want to make some black forest cupcakes, could I use this recipe but just alter the cooking time to a standard cupcake recipe? I have made so many of your bakes, this page is always my go to! X

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 25, 2017 at 9:25 am

      You could do, but they will be extremely delicate!

  20. Sue Hutchings on October 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Jane,
    I want to make this gateau for my daughter’s boyfriend for his birthday but he’s gluten intolerant. Apart from changing the flour is there anything else that I should change?
    Many thanks ☺

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 21, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      I’m not sure on what brands of ingredients you buy, but check all of the ingredients that you purchase that they’re gluten free as well. Everything should be fine, but some ingredients can throw a curveball.

  21. Lorraine on July 4, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    I love Black Forest Gateau but I’ve never made one myself. I think this recipe might change that 🙂

  22. Helen Ludlow on July 3, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Looks stunning and bet it tastes amazing

  23. Joanne |No Plate Like Home on July 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    What a beautiful cake! You have a beautiful blog too with lots of good recipes!

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