Are you looking for an easy, impressive dessert to feed a crowd? This black forest sheet cake is a classic chocolate cake with a cherry filling, topped with fluffy whipped cream . It’s perfect for all kinds of celebrations!
For a cake made completely from scratch, this one is incredibly simple. You start with my favorite ONE BOWL chocolate cake, which is split into two layers, filled with a 5 minute cherry filling, and topped with fresh homemade whipped cream. With some chocolate shavings sprinkled on top, this crowd-pleasing cake is super festive.
Note: Although this is one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made, if you like, you can simplify your life even more and go with a box cake mix, a can of cherry pie filling, and a tub of store bought whipped topping. It will still be delicious :).
But if you love to bake from scratch like I do, here’s the step-by-step for this foolproof black forest sheet cake.
How to Make a Black Forest Sheet Cake
Prepare the chocolate cake
This cake is super moist and delicious and, best of all, it’s made in one bowl and is hardly more work than a box mix! It’s my my go-to simple chocolate cake recipe.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, water and vanilla to the bowl and mix on medium speed until fairly smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
6. With a long serrated knife, carefully slice the cake in half to make two even layers.
Make the cherry filling
7. While the cake is cooling, make the cherry filling. Drain a jar of cherries in syrup, reserving the syrup. I prefer sour (tart) cherries such as morello or Montmorency for the most pronounced cherry flavor, but you can use sweet cherries too – just omit the sugar from the filling.
8. Put one cup of the reserved cherry syrup into a medium saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch and sugar (if using sour cherries). Bring the syrup to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, the syrup will thicken. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it comes down to room temperature or colder.
9. Stir the cherries into the syrup.
10. Spread the cherry filling evenly over one cake layer.
11. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the heavy cream and icing sugar on medium high speed until stiff peaks form.
12. Spread half of the whipped cream evenly over the cherry filling.
13. Place the second cake layer over the whipped cream and cherries.
14. Spread the remaining half of the whipped cream over the top of the cake, and decorate with chocolate shavings and fresh cherries, if you like.
Keep the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve, and store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Black Forest Sheet Cake
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 24 oz jar pitted sour cherries in light syrup (or 2 14-oz cans)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespooons granulated sugar (omit if using sweet cherries)
Whipped Cream Topping
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 oz chocolate shavings (optional)
- fresh cherries for decorating (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined.
- Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, water and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the cooling rack and cool completely.
- Using a long serrated knife, carefully slice the cake into two even layers.
- While the cake is cooling, drain the cherries, reserving the syrup.
- Pour 1 cup of the reserved syrup into a medium saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch and sugar. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as it boils, it will thicken significantly. Cook the syrup for one minute, whisking frequently, and remove from heat.
- Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to cool to room temperature or colder. Stir the cherries into the cooled syrup.
- Spread the cherry filling evenly over one of the cake layers.
Whipped Cream Topping
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, icing sugar, and vanilla extract together until stiff peaks form.
- Spread half the whipped cream over the cherry layer. Place the second cake layer on top, and spread the remaining whipped topping over the top.
- Decorate the top of the cake with chocolate shavings and/or fresh cherries if you like.
Hi! I’m Ann and I blog at Our Happy Mess. I’m all about fast, fresh, and family-friendly recipes. I believe cooking from scratch can not only be doable but FUN, no matter how busy life gets!
You can find more of my recipes at Our Happy Mess.