Quarantine cuisine: Black Forest birthday cake

Katelyn Latture

If you’re looking for a dessert recipe that’s a little more challenging and possibly a little messier than average, then this is the recipe for you. Black Forest cake happens to be my husband’s favorite dessert, so I knew I had to make it for his April birthday. Since we’re all in quarantine, I had plenty of time to make this recipe my mother-in-law gave to me. 

According to Food Network, Black Forest cake is a German dessert with great fame, and the European Commission gave the cake protected status in 2013. This means “that for a dessert to be sold as a Black Forest Cake, it must contain Black Forest kirsch, a brandy made from local cherries.” I suppose it’s a good thing we’re not trying to sell this recipe, since it doesn’t call for Black Forest kirsch. It’s still just as delicious either way. 


2 cups and 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

¾ cup cocoa

½ cup shortening

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups whipping cream**

⅓ cup sifted powdered sugar**

1 (21-ounce) jar cherry pie filling (I found myself wanting more cherries, so I suggest buying two jars/cans.)

**If you’re not feeling up to making your own whipped cream, omit the whipping cream and powdered sugar. Instead, you can buy two or three containers of whipped topping, like Cool Whip, from the grocery store. If these are frozen upon purchasing, make sure you follow the thawing instructions on the containers before trying to put the whipped cream on your cake.


  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well mixed. Add shortening, eggs, milk and vanilla, then beat mixture for three minutes at low speed of an electric mixer. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. 

  2. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms of the cake pans with wax paper. (I used two 7-inch pans to make a slightly smaller cake, since it was just Taylor and me eating it.) Pour the batter into the pans.

  3. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (Since my cakes were slightly thicker, I baked for about 40 to 45 minutes.) After removing the cakes from the oven, cool them in the pans for 10 minutes. After that, remove cake from the pans, and let them cool completely on wire cooling racks.

  4. Split cake layers in half horizontally to make four layers. Make fine crumbs using one cake layer, and set the crumbs aside.

  5. If making homemade whipped cream, beat whipping cream until foamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low-to-medium speeds until soft peaks form. 

  6. Place one cake layer on a cake platter or plate. Spread with one cup whipped cream, and top with ¾ cup cherry pie filling. Repeat with the second layer, and then top with the third cake layer. 

  7. Frost the sides and top with whipped cream, reserving a small amount for garnish. Pat the cake crumbs generously around the sides of the cake; there may be some leftover. Spoon or pipe whipped cream around the top of the cake, and then spoon the remaining pie filling on the center of the top.

  8. Chill well before serving, and enjoy!

Features reporter Katelyn Latture can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Katelyn on Instagram at @katelatture_duv.