Decadent Black Forest Sheet Cake: Simple Recipe for Home Bakers

Black Forest Sheet cake is a real treat – it’s got everything you could want in a dessert. Moist chocolate cake, creamy whipped frosting, and juicy cherries that add just the right amount of tanginess.

The best part? It’s not too sweet, so you can indulge without feeling guilty. 

close up view of chocolate cake with cherries and creamy frosting.

Black Forest Sheet Cake

The combination of rich chocolate cake, tangy cherries, and luscious whipped cream frosting is perfect for a not-too-sweet dessert everyone will love.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Serving Size 12 people

Equipment

  • 13 x 9 baking dish
  • Hand mixer

Ingredients 

For the sheet cake

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup chopped frozen black cherries

For the Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For Garnish

  • fresh or frozen black cherries
  • shaved chocolate

Instructions 

  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Then, lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk well and set aside. Then, in a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs until thoroughly blended.
    dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls.
  • Combine them and add water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix them together gently using a rubber spatula until they are just combined. Slowly pour in the hot water while whisking continuously until the batter becomes smooth and even.
    batter before and after adding water.
  • Add cherries. Gently fold in the chopped black cherries until evenly distributed throughout the batter with a spatula.
    bowl of cake batter with chopped cherries.
  • Bake. Pour the cake batter into the prepared 9×13 baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the dish on a wire rack.
    cake before and after baking.

Assemble.

  • Make the frosting. In a large bowl, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, continuing to whip until stiff peaks form.
    whipped cream in bowl and being spread on cake.
  • Frost and garnish. Add the whipped cream to the top of the sheet cake and spread evenly. Garnish with shaved chocolate and black cherries. Enjoy!
    cake being frosted and garnished.
  • Serve. Cut into pieces and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Notes

You can try using different fruits like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries instead of cherries in a Black Forest cake. 
When you mix the wet and dry ingredients, mix them only until they are combined. Mixing them too much can make the cake dense and hard.
To check if your cake is baked perfectly, poke a toothpick into the center. Your cake is ready if it comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. If there’s still wet batter on the toothpick, give it a few more minutes in the oven and check again.
Allow your cake to cool completely before frosting it. This will prevent the frosting from melting or becoming too soft and make it easier to spread evenly.
Cut them into small pieces and mix them with the batter. Leave the cake to cool before applying the frosting. 
Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 254mg | Potassium: 181mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 656IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 2mg

For the best cake, make sure your eggs and milk are at room temperature before adding them to the mix. This makes the batter smoother and even, resulting in a lighter, fluffier cake.

Sifting the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder together may seem like an extra step, but it helps to prevent clumps and ensures that the ingredients mix uniformly, leading to a better texture for your cake.

If you’re using frozen cherries, chop them while they’re still partially frozen for easier handling. Dry them on paper towels before adding them to the batter to avoid excess moisture that could affect the cake’s texture.

ingredients on marble counter.

Serving Suggestions

Serve it with coffee, vanilla ice cream, raspberry coulis, cherry liqueur (for adults), or sparkling water with a twist of lime.

About the Ingredients

Here are some simple substitutions you can try:

  • All-purpose flour: Use an equal amount of cake flour for a lighter texture.
  • Granulated sugar: To add a deeper flavor, you can substitute granulated sugar with coconut sugar. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder: Replace with Dutch-processed cocoa for a smoother, milder chocolate taste.
  • Whole milk: Use almond milk or another non-dairy milk if desired.
  • Eggs: For a vegan option, use flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water per egg).
plated cake slice with cherries.

These substitutions can change the cake’s flavor and texture, but they are a great way to accommodate different dietary preferences or pantry availability.

Storage Instructions

Due to the whipped cream frosting, the cake should be stored in the refrigerator. To maintain freshness, cover the cake with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. When refrigerated, your cake should stay fresh for up to four days.

The whipped cream frosting will not freeze well, but you can freeze the unfrosted cake just fine.

sheet cake cut into squares.

We hope you enjoy making and sharing this Black Forest Sheet Cake as much as your guests will enjoy eating it. It’s a delightful dessert that’s perfect for any occasion.

Decadent Black Forest Sheet Cake: Simple Recipe for Home BakersDecadent Black Forest Sheet Cake: Simple Recipe for Home Bakers

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One Comment

  1. Hi Katie . I made this cake today , my brother and his family came over for my birthday and I wanted to make a cake from scratch for them .It turned out great apart from the cherries they were all on the bottom of the cake . The sponge was very moist not very sweet. Overall was one of the good ones I’ve made . Thanx Katie