Easy Black Forest Cake {With Cake Mix}

Quick and easy black forest cake recipe with cake mix, homemade with simple ingredients. Soft, moist chocolate cake with cherry filling and whipped cream.

This decadent classic cake has German roots. It is just as delicious as my Black Forest Cookies (Chocolate Cherry Cookies). It’s also called a “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte” and consists of several layers of chocolate sponge cake, cherry syrup, fresh cherries, whipped cream and decorated with chocolate shavings. However, the modern version many of us enjoy in the United States now has changed. It includes a soft and moist chocolate cake (not necessarily a chocolate sponge cake any more), cherry pie filling instead of fresh cherries and. Also, the alcoholic cherry syrup (kirsch) is usually omitted to keep it kid-friendly.

Classic Easy Black Forest Cake With Cake Mix on White Dish

How to make easy black forest cake recipe with cake mix ?

  1. Bake chocolate cakes– Let them cool down.
  2. Assemble– Place one cake on serving dish, top it with whipped cream and cherry pie filling followed by another cake, whipped cream and cherry filling.
  3. Add final touch– Sprinkle shredded chocolate curls.

Key ingredients

Cake mix– Chocolate and Devil’s food are the best choices, in terms of that intense cocoa flavor.

Cherry filling- This can be homemade or store-bought. I like to use pie filling because it is thick and very flavorful.

Whipped cream– You can make it at homemade from scratch or just use Cool Whip, if you are short on time.

Chocolate shavings- This is used as the simple decoration of this cake.

Partially Sliced German Black Forest Gateau on White Dish

What is the difference between German black forest cake and chocolate cake?

Black forest is a layer cake, composed of dark chocolate cake, whipped cream and cherry filling between layers. The chocolate and cherry flavors are very prominent. Chocolate cake, on the other hand, can be filled and frosted with any icing or glaze of your choice and does not have a fruity component. Check out this Classic Moist Triple Chocolate Cake for reference.

Does this cake have alcohol?

I didn’t use it in the recipe below to keep it kid-friendly. However, yes, the traditional recipe has alcohol because it is typically brushed with cherry syrup or cherry liqueur (kirsch). You can omit this or use a non-alcoholic cherry syrup, if you like.

Alcoholic cherry liqueur syrup (Optional)

Mix together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small nonstick saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute and then remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup alcoholic cherry liqueur and allow to cool completely. This can be brushed on top of each cake layer, prior to adding whipped cream and cherry filling.


Dump cake- Add a can of cherry pie filling in your favorite chocolate dump cake recipe. The results will be very ooey gooey.

Poke cake– Bake a chocolate cake in a rectangle pan. Poke holes with a bubble tea straw. Pour cherry pie filling. Spread whipped cream on top. Decorate with chocolate shavings.

Cherry filling options– Cherry pie filling is my favorite choice hands down. Other options are cherry jam, preserves or compote but nothing beats the first choice.

Slice of Chocolate Cherry Cake on White Dish

Tips and Techniques for black forest gateau

Brand of cake mixes– I have used these brands of cake mixes successfully: Pillsbury, Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker. I have not tried any other generic brands to know how it would affect this recipe.

Pudding in cake mix- This adds a lot of moisture to the cake. Don’t use the powder mix but instead, use the small pre-made snack cups.

Butter vs. Oil– Although oil can be used, I feel butter adds a rich buttery flavor to the cake.

Use unsalted butter- This prevents the cake from becoming too salty.

Chocolate shavings- These can be made at home by running a vegetable peeler along a big baking chocolate bar or you can buy them too.

Whipped cream– You can use Cool Whip or make it at home by whipping together heavy cream and some sugar until fluffy. Add some gelatin to the homemade version to make it more stable.

All ingredients should be at room temperature– That’s because they blend together smoothly and evenly.

Add more layers– Double the recipe and make a taller 4 layer cake.

Decoration– Keep it simple with just use chocolate shavings and let all the wonderful layers shine through.

Temperature is key– Do not start assembling and layering your cakes until they have fully cooled down or else whipped cream will melt all over the cake and make a sticky mess.

Spoonful of Cake on White Dish- Closeup Shot

Storage of homemade cake

Refrigerate– Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freeze– Baked cakes, whipped cream and cherry pie filling can be stored in separate containers for up to 1 month. When you are ready to enjoy this cake, thaw to room temperature and assemble, as per instructions below.

Room temperature– This cake can stay out in a covered serving dish for 2-3 hours. Since the cake has a perishable fruit filling, it cannot sit out for too long at room temperature.

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Classic Easy Black Forest Cake With Cake Mix on White Dish
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Easy Black Forest Cake (With Cake Mix)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Decorating time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Quick and easy black forest cake recipe with cake mix, homemade with simple ingredients. Soft, moist chocolate cake with cherry filling and whipped cream.
Yield: 9 Slices


  • 1/2 cup Butter, Unsalted, Melted
  • 4 Eggs, Large
  • 1 cup Milk, Whole
  • 1 container Snack pack chocolate pudding, Not the powder but use pre-made pudding, 3.25 oz.
  • 1 box Devil’s food cake mix, Or chocolate cake mix
  • 1.5 cups Cherry pie filling
  • 2 cups Whipped cream, Homemade or store-bought
  • 2.5 tbsp Chocolate shavings


  • In a mixing bowl, add butter, eggs milk, chocolate pudding and mix until smooth. 
  • Add cake mix and mix until just combined. 
  • Pour this batter into 2 greased/floured 8×2 round cake pans
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool down completely.
  • Then, trim the sides and cut the domes on the cakes. 
  • Place one cake on a cake stand. 
  • Spread whipped cream on top. 
  • Then, spoon cherry pie filling on top of the whipped cream and spread it out. 
  • Place the other cake on top of the pie filling.
  • Then, spread whipped cream on top again. 
  • Spoon cherry pie filling on top of the whipped cream again and spread it out. 
  • Sprinkle chocolate shavings on top and enjoy!


  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 


Calories: 512kcal, Carbohydrates: 68g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 112mg, Sodium: 544mg, Potassium: 368mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 760IU, Vitamin C: 3.5mg, Calcium: 144mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 512
Author: Abeer Rizvi

Until next time, tata my lovelies!

17 comments on “Easy Black Forest Cake {With Cake Mix}”

  1. Can you use sour cherries instead of cherry pir filling?

  2. Hello Abeer,
    I would love to make this for my daughters birthday. Can I make it a day ahead or will the cake dry out? 

  3. If entire cake won’t be used I find it handy to bake cake and cut into cubes, prep cherries then assemble each serving, I do this for banana cream cake as well. Doesn’t get soggy and tastes fresh made day or two later.

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