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A four-layer black forest drip cake with chocolate sponges, cherries, vanilla buttercream, chocolate ganache, a chocolate drip and even more!

Black forest baking

I realise that this may be a bit of a weird cake to post onto my blog in the summer, but it was for my brothers birthday so I’m rolling with it. To be honest though, when really is black forest season?! I usually think Christmas but August will do nicely!

This cake is definitely a showstopper, as you will probably notice from the description at the beginning and the photos… I got a little carried away and went for a four layer insane cake instead of my usual three. 

This is partly because my black forest cake is already a three layer cake, so I wanted to make this different enough to that, and also to show you guys how to do a four layer beauty with a dark chocolate ganache covering! 

Black forest drip cake

Because this cake is a little more intense with four layers, buttercream, jam, fruit and ganache there are quite a few ingredients so sorry in advance for that… but if you want to bake this exact cake, there is no way around it! Only the best will do for my brothers birthday.

In all honesty, I was meant to do this cake for my brother last year but I got a little sidetracked with life and never gave him the black forest cake he had asked for, so I thought going a little OTT this year would make up for it! And it did. So much. 

Smaller version

The good thing about this cake is that you can easily halve it. Because I went for a 500g mixed cake (to get four decent layers) you can easily just chop the recipe in half, and get a lovely two layered cake. I realise most of you won’t want a giant version of this, but I think they look better in the pictures!

Cream vs buttercream

When it comes to black forest cakes, there is a bit of a tussle about who is right in what the recipe puts. Theoretically a black forest cake should use fresh cream, but because I don’t want this cake to go in the fridge I use buttercream. It just means the cake lasts much longer and doesn’t dry out!

When I posted my black forest cake recipe I got a very shirty email from someone saying I was completely and utterly wrong for having used buttercream in it, even though I had explained in that post as well about freshness and the fridge… but there we are. You’ve had your pre-warning this time. 

Cherries and jam

I went with cherry jam, and a jar of Opies cherries in kirsch for the filling, but if you don’t have access to the jar of cherries in kirsch, you can use fresh cherries soaked in kirsch overnight for this instead. Use the leftover liquid from the jar/bowl to soak into the sponges! 


For the ganache, I decided to go with a dark chocolate one, so I had a nice contrast, similar to my Biscoff drip cake I posted recently. In that one I used a white chocolate ganache and explained the ganache rule of 1:1 for dark, 2:1 for milk, and 3:1 for white chocolate

In my mind black forest = dark chocolate, so that’s why I went with it. However, you can swap the ganache up and use a milk chocolate version instead by using 400g milk chocolate and 200ml of double cream (same method). 


I wanted a little pizzazz to this cake, which is why I then went for the vanilla buttercream swirls on top and a white chocolate drizzle for an amazing contrast against the dark chocolate ganache.

Usually in a recipe post I won’t bother to cover the cake board if I use one because it doesn’t even slightly impact on the cake… and I wouldn’t have done it for this one either but as it was my brothers birthday I went that extra mile. I used some leftover ganache to cover it!

Cake board

I just got a 10″ Cake Board from Iced Jems, and brushed melted chocolate onto it once the cake was done and added a ribbon around the bottom. People can moan that I don’t cover cake boards normally all they want “As they can’t stand it” but if I’m just making a recipe post… what’s the point?!

Decorating tools!

As usual for this cake I used a large metal scraper to decorate it, as it makes smoothing around the ganache so much easier. I also used my favourite 2D closed star piping tip. An offset angled spatula is easiest to use when putting the buttercream and ganache on the cake too!

I hope you guys love this beauty of a cake as much as my brother and I did! Enjoy! x

Black Forest Drip Cake!

Black Forest Drip Cake!

Black Forest Drip Cake

Black Forest Drip Cake!

A four-layer black forest drip cake with chocolate sponges, cherries, vanilla buttercream, chocolate ganache, a chocolate drip and even more!
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Category: Cake
Type: Drip Cake
Keyword: Black Forest
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Decorating Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 25 Slices
Author: Jane's Patisserie



  • 500 g unsalted butter
  • 500 g light brown sugar
  • 10 medium eggs
  • 400 g self raising flour
  • 100 g cocoa powder


  • 300 g unsalted butter (not stork) (room temp)
  • 600 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 300 g dark chocolate
  • 300 ml double cream


  • 1 jar Opies cherries in kirsch
  • 200 g cherry jam
  • Kirsch (optional)


  • 150 g white chocolate
  • Fresh cherries
  • Sprinkles


For the Cake!

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan, and line four 8"/20cm cake tins with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in your flour, cocoa powder and eggs and beat again until a delicious cake mixture is formed.
  • Split evenly between the four tins and the bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until baked through. A skewer should come out clean!
  • Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10-15 minutes, and then cool full on a wire rack.

For the Buttercream

  • Make sure your unsalted butter is at room temperature, and beat on its own for a few minutes to really make it supple.
  • Add in the icing sugar a little at a time, and beat fully.
  • Add in the vanilla and beat again until combined.

For the Ganache

  • Add your chocolate and cream to a heatproof bowl/jug, and heat in the microwave in 15-30 second bursts on low power stirring fully each time till melted and lovely.
  • Leave the ganache to sit, stirring every now and again, until a peanut butter like consistency is formed. You can do this in the fridge or at room temperature, just make sure to not let it get rock solid.

For the Assembly

  • Drain the cherries from the jar, keeping the liquid in a bowl.
  • Add a smidge of buttercream onto the cake board or plate you are using to secure the cake. Add the first sponge on top.
  • Drizzle over some of the kirsch liquid from the bowl.
  • Spread over some of the buttercream, and a little cherry jam, and some cherries from the jar.
  • Repeat this process with the next two sponges!
  • Add your final sponge on top, and drizzle with the kirsch.
  • Using some of the buttercream, do a crumb coat on the cake - use an angled spatula or similar to spread the buttercream around the cake thinly, filling in any gaps there may be and so that the sides of the cake are flat.
  • Put the cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes or so to set the crumb coat.

For the Decoration

  • Once your ganache is at the peanut butter consistency, and your crumb coat has set, slather on the ganache with an angled spatula, and smooth around the edges with a large metal scraper till smooth.
  • Add some to the top of the cake and smooth this over so that the cake is sealed in the ganache.
  • Set the cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes again till the ganache is solid.
  • Melt your white chocolate carefully, and drip down the sides of the cake using a small disposable piping bag with the end snipped off.
  • Let the chocolate sit for 5 minutes or so to set itself.
  • Pipe on top of the cake with the rest of the vanilla buttercream (and a 2D closed star piping tip), and add fresh cherries to the top of the cake and some sprinkles.
  • If you are decorating the cake board, spread/brush some leftover ganache onto the board.
  • Set the cake in the fridge for the final time and then enjoy!


  • All of the decoration is optional - I just described and put the recipe everything I did for the cake. 
  • You can bake the cake into two tins instead of four if you don't have four - just use deep 8"/20cm cake tins, and bake for longer! 
  • You can make a half size cake by literally halving the recipe and baking into two tins. 
  • I would not recommend using fresh cream in this cake in place of the buttercream as it's not sturdy enough to then stack and ganache. 
  • If you can't access Opies black cherries in kirsch, make your own by soaking some cherries in a bowl of kirsch overnight before baking. 
  • You can make the ganache the day before as well to make it quicker the following day, but you will need to very carefully re-heat the ganache to the consistency you want and you don't want it to split. 
  • Alternatively you can make the ganache first, and leave it to do its thing whilst you do the rest and it should be ready in time! 
  • This cake will last for 3-4 days once decorated!
  • For this cake I used:


Find my other Recipes on my Recipes Page!

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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. Samantha on November 30, 2023 at 11:01 pm

    Hi Jane,
    Any tips on how to turn this into a cupcake format? 😅 currently trying to an amalgamation of recipes… help! 🙈
    Planning on doing them as a Christmas gift to the teachers at my sons school., any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

  2. Charlie on September 29, 2023 at 2:43 pm

    5 stars
    Fabulous recipe, so fun to make. Made it for my husbands 40th birthday and swapped the cherries on top for chocolate covered ones. Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks 😊

  3. Joshua Mccready on September 29, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    5 stars
    i only have 7 inch tins what quantities should i use.

  4. Charlotte Chester-Master on September 24, 2021 at 11:18 am

    I used 7 inch tin but only 3 layers as I mis read hope it will be ok

  5. Emily on April 16, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Soooo excited to try this! I just wondered, would it be okay to bake the sponges one afternoon and store them in an airtight container overnight, before assembling/decorating the next morning? If so, would it be better at room temp or in the fridge? Thank you!! X

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 17, 2021 at 2:00 pm

      Hey! Ahh I hope you love it when you do. Yes this will be just fine, store them in room temperature!xx

  6. Eleanor on April 12, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Hi! I absolutely love your cake recipes, always turn out amazing. I seem to have a slight issue when baking the mix though, I can never get a flat top, or anywhere near a flat top! With this cake I think most of the buttercream is shoved in gaps with some of the sponge I sliced off the top to try to make the layers work! How do you get a flat top?? I read once that if you make a dip in the middle of the mix before baking it will be flatter but that never seems to work for me! Thank you!!

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 13, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      Hey! Thank you so much. It can depend on many factors such the type of oven, the heat of the oven and even the mixture itself. I would recommend lowering the temp of your oven and baking for a lot longer instead. See if that helps you!xx

  7. Amy on February 6, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    Hi Jane,

    I have been asked to make a Black Forest cake for a friends birthday, but they need it to be Gluten Free. Do you have any suggestions on how to convert this into a GF recipe? I’m in New Zealand and this looks like the best GF flour on the market (https://edmondscooking.co.nz/products/flour/gluten-free-self-raising-flour-750g/), but I’m not sure if I need to adjust any other quantities or could just try a straight swap on the flour? Any advice would be greatly appreciated – thank you so much!

    You’re my go-to blog for all things baking, and your recipes are always so delicious so thank you!

    • Jane's Patisserie on February 7, 2021 at 12:34 pm

      If the GF flour has xantham gum already in, you can straight swap (whilst checking the other ingredients obviously!) but otherwise I would add in 1tsp xantham gum if you have it available as it helps the texture!

  8. Nayana on January 27, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Jane,

    Is this recipe able to be slightly veganised? Looking to make it for my birthday but one of my housemates is vegan – he does eat eggs though! – so would I be able to just substitute normal butter for vegan butter, dairy free choc instead of normal and dairy free double cream for the ganache?

    Thank you, really looking forward to trying!

  9. Yasmin Ibrahim on January 2, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    Hey Jane, what can I use instead of kirsch? I love your recipes btw!!! Thank you xx

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 3, 2021 at 12:03 pm

      Any form of cherry liquer/brandy type thing! x

  10. Mehak Hussain on December 3, 2020 at 10:44 am

    4 stars
    What’s a non alcoholic alternative to use for the the kirch to avoid a dry cake?
    Your recipe’s are great by the way and so easy to follow.

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 3, 2020 at 2:41 pm

      Just a sugar syrup of 50/50 caster sugar and water would be good!

  11. Dawn sorrell on November 13, 2020 at 10:18 am

    5 stars
    Im attempting this cake for myself today for my 40th birthday, cant wait to try a slice tomorrow.
    I did your Kinder bueno one for my daughters 21st and made it into a massive 3 tier all things kinder cake, i find your method easy to follow and it turned a massive job into a breeze! Thank you 🙂

    I know a few have asked about the kirsh, i made black forest tirimasu a few weeks ago, you can still get the alcohol effect by using a small amount of white rum mixed with the cherry syrup and soaked cherries (i refused to pay £6 for a small jar of soaked cherries in kirsh, and found it a great substitute)

  12. Trish on October 14, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    Hi Jane, I’m looking to bake this, because of the ganache will it have to be stored in the fridge or will it be OK at room temperate for a few days?

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 15, 2020 at 10:09 am

      The cake can be stored in the fridge for a few days if it is not cut into, after you have started to portion the cake room temperature is best otherwise the cake can dry out very quickly! It lasts 2-3 days at room temp in a cool place x

    • Léa Duiquet on November 18, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      Hello Jane ! I plan on doing this cake at the end of this week and i am wondering if i could make it alcohol free ? If yes, with what could I replace The kirsh ?

      Thank you very much !

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 20, 2020 at 9:28 am

      I would use cherries soaked in syrup instead (like the ones you get in a tin!) x

  13. Kerry on September 1, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Hi Jane,

    I want to make a 3 layer cake, how much would flour, butter etc will I need to use please?

    Thank you x

    • Jane's Patisserie on September 3, 2020 at 2:12 pm

      Hello! I would use 400g butter/sugar, 8 medium eggs, 325g flour, 75g cocoa! Xx

  14. Elizabeth on July 30, 2020 at 6:49 am

    Hi Jane,
    Black forest is my all time fav.
    I’d like to make this cake but in one 10″ x 3″ cake tin with 3/4 layers. How would I adjust the recipe please?

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 30, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      Hey! So I’m not 100% sure – if you have a look at my wedding cake post I made a 10″ layer (but baked into two tins) so that might give you guidance on quantities and timings if you split it, but I don’t often bake that amount of mix into one tin! x

  15. Bernadette on July 14, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Hi Jane.just wandering about the white chocolate drip have you made it with no cream.new to baking and I haven’t had much success in making and applying drips to cakes I would appreciate any advice you could give me.thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 14, 2020 at 9:50 pm

      Hey! Yes on this occasion I did just do white chocolate – you can make a ganache with a 3:1 ratio, so 150ml white chocolate, 50ml cream, or you can add in 1/2tsp oil – but it depends on the chocolate I find sometimes!

  16. Andrea on June 23, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Hi Jane,
    I’m thinking of making this cake, but with a milk chocolate ganache instead of dark. I saw you had mentioned to use 400g milk choc & 200ml cream instead of 300g dark & 300ml cream – I’m just curious as to why the measurements are different? 🙂 would it not work the same with 300g milk choc & 300ml cream?

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm

      Hiya! So ganache is based around cocoa content. The general rule is 1:1 for dark, 2:1 for milk, and 3:1 for white! It does not and can’t work the same with milk chocolate! If you made a milk chocolate ganache for a drip for example, and still use 1:1, it would be a lot thinner and doesn’t work because of the reduced cocoa content xx

  17. Alice on June 7, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    5 stars
    I made this for my husband’s birthday and wow! The recipe was really clear and easy to follow and he just loved it. Another one of your amazing recipes which have kept me going through lock down. Thank you, Jane!

  18. Gillian Pidler on May 29, 2020 at 10:31 am

    5 stars
    My daughter has just sent me this and asked me to make this for her cake this year for her 29th! Black forest is one of my favourite cakes ever so I’m up for the challenge! Thank you for yet another amazing recipe Jane.

  19. Georgia on May 29, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Hi Jane, this looks delicious and can’t wait to try it. I am looking to do 3 layers instead of the 4 layers suggested. Would I reduce the ganache and buttercream baby 1/3 or would you recommend keeping the full amount? Thank you

    • Jane's Patisserie on May 29, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      Hey! Personally, it’s probably easier to stick to the same amount, and freeze any leftover – or, maybe reduce by about a quarter! x

  20. Heather Orford on March 30, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if I was to half it and have a two layered cake, could I use fresh cream instead?
    If not, I could get rid of the ganache and buttercream and just use the jam and cherries with fresh cream?

    My favourite part of the Black Forrest is the combination with the cream.

    Many Thanks.

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 31, 2020 at 10:28 am

      Hey! Have a look at my Black Forest gateau if you fancy, and fill that with fresh cream – it’s a lot more Black Forest-y! And you can just do two layers for that one too. Otherwise, yes you can change this one as you have described!

  21. Kathleen on March 10, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Jane,

    I can’t wait to try this delicious looking cake! Can you please tell me how much kirsch liquid you drizzle over each layer of cake? I’m a bit worried about ending up with a soggy sponge.

    Thank you,

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 11, 2020 at 9:18 am

      A few tablespoonfuls of kirsch is fine! x

  22. Lois on December 8, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Jane,

    Please could I ask if this recipe would work if I wanted a 3 layer cake? I’d love to make this for my aunties 60th but there isn’t enough people for four layers haha. Would I just be OK to take a 1/4 off of the recipe? Thank you! X

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 10, 2019 at 5:40 pm

      For this one, you could take off 1/4, yes!

  23. Elizabeth Day on November 13, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Jane, I just wondered why you do not use oil in your drip for this cake when I have used oil before in the maltesers cake drip?

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 13, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Because I like to demonstrate different recipes.

  24. Nicole on September 27, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Oh my days
    this is the nicest cake i ever saw 10/10 Jane.. I LUVVVV your website and all the delcious things you put on it!!

    Nicole xx

  25. CoffeeMamma on August 18, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious!!!

  26. Louise on August 13, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    5 stars
    I am struggling to find cherries in kirsch and wondering if you could use syrup from a jar of cherries in syrup? This is going to be for my husbands birthday Friday and panicking I can’t find these cherries anywhere!

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 14, 2019 at 9:04 am

      As mentioned in the notes, you can make your own by soaking real cherries in kirsch overnight! The syrup ones won’t quite be the same x

  27. Suzanne Rigby on August 11, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    I love Black Forest Gateaux and was going to make myself a cake version (from someone else!) for my birthday, but now I have seen your recipe I am definitely going to use yours! I only have 3 tins so was going to use 2 tins but bake for longer. Do I still bake at the same temperature and do you know how long roughly it will take to bake in 2 tins?

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 12, 2019 at 9:25 am

      Awh yay! I would say to bake at 140C for a fan oven, or 160C for a regular oven, and roughly an hour or so?! Definitely keep an eye on it, but the lower temp will help it stay more moist!

    • Suzanne Rigby on October 3, 2019 at 5:22 pm

      What percentage cocoa solids do you use fir the ganache?

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 3, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      I would recommend 70% or more – you definitely don’t want less!

  28. sherri on August 10, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    4 stars
    Ear marking this one for my brother’s birthday next June…it is his absolute favorite cake. I wasn’t in the city for his birthday, and he ended up making his own chocolate cake. Looked great, but this one you created will be absolutely perfect!!!
    LOVE the drip

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