This Easy Black Forest Cake recipe is a poke cake that's simple to make and has all the classic flavors of chocolate, cherries, and whipped cream.
It comes together so easily using a convenient cake mix base. The moist chocolate cake is poked with holes, soaked in rich chocolate fudge sauce, and topped with luscious cherry pie filling, while a generous layer of sweet whipped cream tops the cake. And it's garnished with shaved chocolate and maraschino cherries.
If you're looking for a cake that is easy to make and sure to impress at birthdays, potlucks, or any event, this Easy Black Forest Cake is the answer. The flavors of a traditional black forest cake come together so well.
Why You Will Love This Black Forest Cake Recipe
- Easy Preparation: This recipe starts with a chocolate cake mix, making it incredibly easy to put together.
- Classic Flavors: It captures the classic taste of a traditional black forest cake with rich chocolate, cherry, and whipped cream flavors.
- Perfect for Events: Whether it's a birthday, potluck, or any special gathering, this dessert will impress and satisfy a crowd.
- Make-Ahead Option: You can bake the cake ahead of time and add the rest of the ingredients before serving.
We love this Black Forest Cake recipe served with a cup of hot coffee and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
It can be served cold or at room temperature. Add a drizzle of the fudge sauce before serving for an extra bit of indulgence!
See the printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.
- Chocolate Cake Mix: Any 15.25 ounce box of chocolate cake mix will work
- Salted Butter: Adds moisture and a rich, buttery taste to the cake.
- Eggs: Bind the cake ingredients together and contribute to its structure.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: This will be whipped into a creamy topping to balance the sweetness and add a luxurious texture.
- Powdered Sugar: Sweetens and stabilizes the whipped cream.
- Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the whipped cream.
- Chocolate Fudge Sauce: Drizzled over the cake and poured into holes for a decadent chocolate infusion.
- Cherry Pie Filling: Provides a fruity and tart contrast to the chocolate cake and cream.
- Shaved Chocolate: Used as a decorative and flavorful topping.
- Maraschino Cherries: Garnish the cake with their bright color and sweet flavor.
Substitutions and Variations
- Different Fruit Fillings: While cherry pie filling is classic, you can experiment with other fruit fillings, like raspberry or strawberry, for a unique twist.
- Nut Topping: Add a layer of chopped or toasted nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans for some extra texture and flavor.
- Reduced Sugar: If you prefer a less sweet dessert, use a sugar-free chocolate cake mix and choose a sugar-free cherry pie filling.
How To Make Black Forest Cake
Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, combine the chocolate cake mix, water, melted butter, and eggs. Stir the ingredients until they are well blended.
Use a pastry brush to transfer any remaining melted butter into a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Transfer the cake mixture to the prepared baking dish.
Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for about 60 minutes or until it reaches room temperature.
Once the cake has cooled make the whipped topping. In a large bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Poke holes in the cooled cake evenly across the surface using the handle of a wooden spoon. Then, pour 1/2 cup of chocolate fudge sauce over the cake, ensuring it fills the holes. Next, evenly spread the cherry pie filling on top of the cake.
Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake. Then, drizzle additional chocolate fudge sauce on top and garnish with shaved chocolate.
Add maraschino cherries on top, drying them with a paper towel to prevent juice from bleeding into the whipped cream.
Make Ahead, Storing and Freezing
Making Ahead: You can make the Black Forest Cherry Cake ahead of time by baking the cake and preparing the components separately. Once cooled, store the cake, cherry pie filling, and whipped cream in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Assemble the cake just before serving.
Refrigerate: If you have leftovers or want to prepare the cake a day in advance, store it in the refrigerator. Make sure it's covered well with plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 4 days.
Freezing: To freeze the Black Forest Cake, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil or place it in an airtight container. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Thaw the cake in the refrigerator before serving, and don't forget to add the garnishes just before serving for the freshest taste and appearance.
Cake Recipe Tips
- Make sure to butter or grease your baking dish and use a pastry brush to distribute any remaining butter evenly.
- To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, the cake is ready.
- Allow the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack. This is crucial to prevent the whipped cream from melting when added later.
- Before you garnish with the maraschino cherries, make sure they are dry to prevent their juices from affecting the whipped topping.
Can I use any cake mix for this recipe?
Yes, you can use any chocolate cake mix of your choice, but make sure to follow the instructions on the box regarding additional ingredients and baking times.
Can I make a smaller or larger version of this cake for different occasions?
Yes, you can adjust the size of the cake by using a smaller or larger baking dish and adjusting the ingredient quantities accordingly. Just be sure to follow the instructions on your cake mix for the size dish you use.
Need more cake recipes? Here are a few more of our favorites.
This Black Forest Poke Cake is an amazing dessert that combines rich chocolate, luscious cherries, and velvety whipped cream to create a show-stopping treat.
This is a go-to dessert for me when I want something a little extra special and easy. I can't wait for you to try it, and I'm sure you'll love it as much as we do!
Easy Black Forest Cake Recipe
- 15.25 ounce box chocolate cake mix
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup salted butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate fudge sauce (melted and divided)
- 21 ounce can cherry pie filling
- 3 Tablespoons shaved chocolate
- maraschino cherries on top (optional garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- To a large bowl, add the cake mix, water, butter, and eggs. Mix with a spoon until fully incorporated.
- Use a pastry brush to transfer leftover butter into your 9x13 baking dish. Coat evenly to prevent the cake from sticking.
- Transfer the cake to the oven to bake.
- Bake the cake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Place on a cooling sheet for 60 minutes or until the cake is completely cool.
- Once the cake is cooled, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer for up to 3-5 minutes or until stiff peaks are formed. When you shake the bowl the whipped cream should not move. Set aside.
- Use a wooden spoon handle to poke holes in the cake.
- Pour ½ cup of chocolate fudge sauce over the cake. Spread the fudge sauce to fill in the holes.
- Evenly spread the cherry pie filling on top of the cake.
- Add the whipped topping over the cake. Evenly spread over the cake.
- Drizzle fudge sauce on top of the cake.
- Shave chocolate on top of the cake.
- Garnish the top with maraschino cherries. Dry off each cherry with a paper towel or clean dish towel before placing the cherries on top so the juice does not bleed into the whipped topping.