Black Forest Sheet Cake

The trio of flavors in a Black Forest gateau is one I’ve loved since first bite. And what’s not to love? Rich chocolate playing off sweet, syrupy cherries, all balanced by cream… it’s the definition of a winning combination. This sheet cake version gives you the same flavor combo, but in a more everyday way. Instead of the classic cherry liqueur, our version uses a quick non-alcoholic homemade syrup so it’s totally family-friendly but still rich with fudgy chocolate and sticky cherries.

The chocolate cake here is a fudgy one, made by whisking cocoa powder into boiling water that’s mixed with the usual baking suspects (flour, baking soda, etc) and some buttermilk to keep things moist.

While the cake bakes, you simmer the cherries in some sugar so they break down a bit and release their juices to make a beautifully sweet cherry syrup. You spoon those cherries (and as much of the syrup as you’d like) over the baked cake…

… before topping it with a simple velvety buttercream. I love a sheet cake because you can feed a crowd without dealing with layers, and in this case, you get to feed them an irresistible and classic flavor combo.

Black Forest Sheet Cake

45 minutes to prepare serves 10-12


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 24 oz frozen pitted cherries, thawed
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • Shaved chocolate, for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in cocoa powder. Once melted, stir in boiling water and let simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, 1 cup of the white sugar, the brown sugar, and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs.
  5. Pour chocolate into dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Add buttermilk mixture and stir until smooth.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  7. While cake bakes, combine the cherries and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Once sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  8. Spoon cherry mixture over cooked cake (you don’t need to use all of the syrup). Let cool to room temperature.
  9. While cake and cherries cool, make frosting:
  10. In a large bowl, beat the butter and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.
  11. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing on low in between additions. Add cream and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy.
  12. Dollop frosting over cherries and spread out. Top with chocolate shavings, chill for 20 minutes before slicing, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Tutti Dolci.

Whizzco for LPE