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Black Forest Cake

  • Yield: One 4-layer 9-inch cake; 10 servings


  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups kirsch
  • Two 15-ounce cans dark sweet pitted cherries in heavy syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, shaved (see Note)


  • Preheat the oven to 350?F.
  • Make the cake. Put the eggs and 1 cup of the granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and, with an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow, thick, and tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together into a medium-size mixing bowl.
  • Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the egg mixture mixing at medium speed until all is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute.
  • Grease two 9 X 2-inch round cake pans with the butter. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar. Pour the cake batter evenly into the pans and bake until the cakes spring back when touched, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for about 2 minutes. Using a thin knife, loosen the edges of the cakes, then flip them onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  • Make the filling. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, then add 1 cup of the kirsch and stir to mix.
  • In another saucepan over medium heat, bring the cherries to a boil in their syrup. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/4 cup kirsch and add to the cherry mixture. Whisk until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  • Assemble the cake. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut each cake horizontally in half to make four layers. Brush the tops of all the layers with equal amounts of the sugar syrup. Allow the liquid to soak into the layers for about 30 minutes.
  • Place the bottom layer on a large cake plate. Spread 1 cup of the filling evenly over this layer, then top with a second layer of cake. Spread 1 cup of the filling evenly over it. Repeat the same process with the third layer and another cup of filling. Top with the fourth layer.
  • To finish the cake, sift together the confectionersí sugar and cocoa powder into a medium-size bowl. Add the butter and mix with an electric mixer until incorporated. Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and the boiling water and mix until smooth. Let cool.
  • Combine the cream, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and the granulated sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl and, using an electric mixer, whip until soft peaks form.
  • Ice the side and top of the cake evenly with the chocolate frosting. Spoon the whipped cream over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the chocolate shavings. Slice to serve.
  • NOTE: To make shaved chocolate, chill the block and, using a vegetable peeler, shave the side of the block.

Recipe Details