This is a relaxed layer cake. I call it relaxed because it won’t look like the artfully and fake-filled black forest cakes you get at the supermarket bakery counter. Those probably use cherry pie filling inside and I know they’re garnished with those brightly dyed maraschino cherries.
This cake is nothing like that. So it shouldn’t look anything like that, right?
Mostly, this cake is ‘relaxed’ because coconut whipped cream doesn’t form stiff peaks like regular dairy whipping cream does and so it’s not necessarily easy to pipe out when decorating a cake. So I just slathered it all over, somewhat willy-nilly. Personally I quite like how it turned out. Also this cake is ‘relaxed’ because the thickened cherry filling sort of didn’t stay in one place. Again, I quite like how it looks. It’s gooey, decadent and sinful.
Want to make this but are afraid your guests will think you a slovenly baker because you didn’t use a piping bag? Get new guests. Or, if that’s not an option and you really do care that much, do it up as a trifle instead. That way it’s allowed to be a mess.
What I did realize that chilling the cake in stages of decorating was a good thing. Allowing the coconut cream to firm up on top before adding the cherry filling helped keep it mostly in place. I wish I had the patience to let it set all done up for a good 30 minutes before cutting into it the first time. Not really. I don’t care that it sort of looks like a hot mess, but I should care and I do recommend that you let it set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing and that should help it all stay in place a bit nicer.
The chocolate cake I used for the basis of this recipe was my Never Fail Chocolate Cake recipe. I’m not going to repost it. Grab the recipe here, mix it up and bake it up in 2 well-greased 8 inch round cake pans. Let them cool completely before assembling your black forest cake.
The whipped coconut cream is super easy to make. I had intended to do up a little photo and video tutorial of tips for whipping coconut cream. But honestly, I found an amazing tutorial on how to whip coconut cream over at Tasty Yummies and Beth covers basically every single thing I would have covered in my tutorial. So now I don’t have to! Make sure you have whipped and chilled your coconut cream in advance of assembling this cake. It should be nice and cold so it’s as firm as possible.
The recipe below is for the sweet cherry filling and also includes steps to assemble the whole cake. A lot of recipes I’ve seen on AllRecipes and other sites call for using canned sour cherries. I prefer to use the frozen whole dark cherries instead. They’re amazing. You’ll need a cherry liqueur or Kirsch on hand to make this too. I used Sweet Carmine Jewel Liqueur from Lucky Bastard, a local distillery here in Saskatoon. It is an amazing liqueur. (Their Saskatoon Berry and Creme de Cassis liqueurs are also sublime.)
You can make the cherry filling up to a week ahead of time (if you can stand not eating it spoonful by spoonful!) and chill it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- 1 x 600 g package frozen whole dark cherries, thawed, drained and juice reserved
- ⅓ cup organic cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons cherry liqueur or Kirsch
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 recipe 'Never Fail Chocolate Cake' baked into two 8-inch rounds
- 3 x 10 ounce cans of coconut milk, whipped and chilled (see notes)
- 2 squares extra-dark high quality chocolate, grated
- To Make Cherry Filling:
- In a small saucepan combine reserved juice from thawed cherries with organic cane sugar, cherry liqueur and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens, about 7-9 minutes. You can tell it's thick enough when it coats the back of the spoon. Let the mixture cool to the touch before folding in the cherries. Refrigerate until cooled completely.
- To Assemble Black Forest Cake:
- Place one of the 8-inch round chocolate cakes on a large flat serving platter with a raised edge.
- Spread a thin layer (about ½ inch) of whipped coconut cream over the surface of the cake. Line the outer edge of the cake with a line of whipped coconut cream all the way around the edge.
- Spoon in half of the chilled cherry filling, spreading evenly within the coconut cream edge.
- Chill the cake until the coconut cream has firmed up slightly.
- Gently place the other 8-inch round chocolate cake on top of the prepared cake bottom. Do not slide it around a lot.
- Spread another layer of coconut cream on the top surface of the cake. Pipe out the whipped coconut cream in a thicker line around the outer edge of the cake.
- Gently spread whipped coconut cream along the sides of the cakes to cover completely in coconut cream.
- Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes so the coconut cream becomes firm.
- Spoon the remaining cherry filling on the top of the cake. Grate the chocolate over top. Chill the cake, if needed, to ensure it's nice and cold before slicing and serving.