This classic Buttermilk Black Forest Cake sandwiched with pillowy soft cream and topped with chocolate ganache makes an impressive bake. Rich, decadent, and super easy to make it is perfect for any celebration or just an anytime treat.
Made using simple ingredients to create a super soft, light, and fluffy bake. There are no eggs in this recipe, so it makes a great option if you prefer to bake without it.
Buttermilk Black Forest Cake
This easy to make Buttermilk Black Forest Cake is made up of 2 layers of the most decadent chocolate sponge. It is brushed with cherry syrup and filled with my favourite Stabilized whipped cream frosting. Topped with chocolate ganache and piped cream to create the crowning glory of this stunning bake.
So what's the secret to the amazing softness? Well, that lies in two of the ingredients: Buttermilk and oil.
Using oil is my preference when making most sponge cakes. They remain so much softer than those baked with butter, while the buttermilk contributes to the tender, moist texture of this bake.
Just a note on a few ingredients and substitutes if needed
While the full recipe is written below, this is the section to read if you’re wondering about ingredient substitutions or how these ingredients work in the recipe.
For the cake
Flour: I used cake flour for this recipe. Cake flour creates a soft, light, and tender texture. If you do not have any cake flour, then use either all-purpose or plain flour.
Unsweetened cocoa powder: Use only unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. Sweetened cocoa powder contains sugar and other ingredients which can affect the taste and texture of the pancakes.
Sugar: Adds sweet deliciousness to the bake.
Baking powder and baking soda ( bicarbonate of soda)– These contribute to the fluffy light texture of the cake
Oil: Use a neutral-flavoured oil like canola or sunflower oil
Buttermilk: The buttermilk in this recipe serves to add moisture and keeps the sponge soft, light, tender, and fluffy.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make some by adding 1 tablespoon (15ml) white vinegar or lemon juice to 1½ cup (375ml) milk Leave it aside for 2 minutes which will allow it to curdle. Use in place of the buttermilk.
Vanilla extract: Adds flavour to the bake.
Hot water: Helps to dissolve the cocoa powder as well as adding moisture creating a light and fluffy bake.
For the syrup
Reserved juice from bottled or canned cherries
Which baking pan can I use
The baking time will vary depending on the type of pan you use, so keep an eye on it.
- 9 inches / 23 cm round cake tin: Divide the batter evenly between 2 9 inches / 23 cm round cake tins to create a round layer cake.
- Cupcake tin: The mixture can be used to make 12-15 cupcakes
- Sheet pan: For this recipe, I used my 11 inches / 30cm square tin. The baked cake is divided in half and sandwiched with whipped cream.
Which cherries to use
Don't let the season stop you when it comes to this recipe. If fresh cherries are not in season, then you can either use canned or bottled cherries
Whipped cream topping
You can whip heavy cream for this recipe or give my 3 ingredients whipped cream frosting a try. It has a firmer texture than regular whipped cream making it ideal for filling between layers or piping decoratively.
Making the buttermilk black forest cake
Start by making the chocolate ganache so that it cools and thickens while the cake is in the oven.
To make the chocolate ganache
Heat ½ cup /125ml heavy / whipping cream in a pan. Add 100g dark chocolate chips or blocks and whisk until the chocolate is melted and incorporated. Remove from the heat.
As the ganache cools, it will thicken. Add more chocolate if you prefer a thicker consistency. The cake must be completely cooled before you pour over the ganache. Allow it to set before slicing and serving.
To make the cake
- Combine the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt)
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: Use a separate bowl to whisk together the wet ingredients (oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract)
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients: Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients
- Beat well: Add in the hot water and beat well to form a smooth batter.
- Bake: Pour into a greased and lined baking pan and bake in a preheated oven of 320°F (160°C) for 21 to 25 minutes. For this recipe, I used an 11 inch / 30cm square tin. The baked cake is divided in half and sandwiched with whipped cream. You can use any baking pan you prefer. Keep in mind that The baking time will vary slightly depending on the type of pan you use, so keep an eye on it.
Prepare the syrup while the cake is in the oven.
- Make the syrup: To make the syrup you can either use bottled or canned cherry juice: Drain the cherries from the bottle or can and reserve ½ cup (125ml) of the juice. Keep the cherries aside to use decoratively on the cake. Combine reserved juice and ½ cup cherry jam in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened to form a syrup stirring constantly.
- Brush the cake with the syrup: Remove the baked cake from the oven and leave in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. If you baked the cake in 2 separate cake pans then brush each layer with the cherry syrup. For this recipe, I used my 11 inches / 30cm square tin. The baked cake is divided in half to form a two-layer cake. Brush with the syrup while the cake is still warm.
- Cool and fill with whipped cream: Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting with the whipped cream. Spread the whipped cream over the bottom layer of the completely cooled cake. Reserve a little cream to pipe over the top of the cake. You can also add a few chopped cherries to the whipped cream if you like. Gently place the other half of the cake over the whipped cream layer.
- Top and spread with the ganache: Spread the cooled and thickened chocolate ganache over the top layer.
- Chill before serving: Pipe with the reserved whipped cream and top with the cherries. Chill the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Chilling ensures that the cream and ganache are firm and set creating neater slices.
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