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a triple-layer refined sugar free black forest cake topped with fresh cherries

Black Forest Cake Recipe

This naturally sweetened and alcohol-free Black Forest Cake recipe features three layers of moist chocolate cake, softened cherries, and luscious vanilla heritage frosting.

Category Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American, German
Keyword black forest cake no alcohol, black forest cake recipe, moist black forest cake
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 24 minutes
Author Amanda | Naturally Sweet Kitchen



  • 220 g unbleached plain flour
  • 65 g raw cacao powder
  • 325 g coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (not instant granules)
  • 120 ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 120 ml oat milk room temperature
  • 110 g Greek yogurt room temperature
  • 240 ml hot coffee


  • 225 g halved and pitted fresh cherries
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar

Vanilla Frosting

  • 270 ml agave nectar
  • 300 ml oat milk
  • 55 g unbleached plain flour
  • ¾ tsp fine sea salt
  • 300 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 250 g fresh cherries for decoration



  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease, line, and dust with cacao powder three 20cm (8 in) cake tins.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, vanilla, milk, and yogurt until well combined.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Mix until all the dry ingredients disappear – the batter will be very thick.

  5. Slowly pour in the hot coffee, whisking continuously until incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 prepared tins and bake for 24-27 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Place the tins on a wire rack and allow the sponges to cool completely in the tins.


  1. Place the cherries and agave in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Simmer the cherries, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are soft but still retain their shape, about 7 minutes.

  3. Strain the cherries from the syrup, reserving the syrup for decoration later. Let the cherries cool completely on a plate.

Vanilla Frosting

  1. Add the agave, milk, flour, and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the flour disappears and the mixture comes to a boil.
  2. Allow the mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens and reaches a loose pudding consistency.
  3. Remove the pudding from the heat and spread it out on a large platter to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once the pudding has cooled, add the butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on a high speed for 5 minutes until fluffy. Turn the mixer off and scrape down any off the sides of the bowl.
  5. Turn the mixer on to medium-low speed and slowly begin adding the pudding mixture to the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Once all of the pudding has been added, add the vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until super fluffy.


  1. Level any domed areas off of the sponges then place one sponge on a serving plate or cake stand.
  2. Spread ⅓ of the frosting on top of the layer, right to the edges. Scatter ½ of the softened cherries on top of the frosting. Drizzle ⅓ of the reserved cherry syrup over the cherries and frosting. Place a second layer of sponge on top. Repeat.

  3. For the final layer, spread the remaining frosting to the edges as before. Top with the fresh cherries in a circular pattern and drizzle the remaining cherry syrup over the top.

  4. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video


  • This cake is best served the day it is made. However, it will keep covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • You can make the frosting pudding up to 2 days in advance, just be sure to store it in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature and stir it well before adding to the butter.
  • The sponges can be made separately, up to 24 hours in advance. Keep the sponges covered and refrigerated until assembly.