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slice of vegan Black Forest cake

Vegan Black Forest Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Assembly: 45
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: German
  • Diet: Vegan


Incredibly moist and rich vegan black forest cake filled with fresh sweet cherries and a delicious dairy free whipped cream, and topped with a vegan ganache! Based on the traditional Black Forest gateau (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte), you won’t believe this black forest cake is vegan!



Vegan Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup (300 mL) vegan buttermilk, room temperature 
  • 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour*, sifted
  • 1 cup (95 g) all natural cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (110 g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (220 g) unsweetened applesauce or dairy free yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 mL) hot water + 1 tsp dissolvable espresso powder (or 1 cup (240 mL) brewed coffee, decaf if desired)
  • 1 batch coconut whipped cream or 2 batches vegan buttercream frosting
  • 1 batch vegan chocolate ganache

Cherry layer:

  • 24 ounces (3 cups) fresh or frozen pitted cherries (plus more fresh cherries for decorating)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, omit if nut allergy)
  • Optional: 4 tbsp Kirschwasser (omit if alcohol free)


  1. Make the cake first: Preheat the oven to 350F and grease three 8″ cake pans with coconut or olive oil and parchment paper. Measure out all ingredients. Make the vegan buttermilk. 
  2. Make the batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a large bowl and a hand mixer, cream the vegan butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and bottom of the bowl as needed. Then add in the applesauce and vanilla extract, and mix again on medium speed until combined. Add in the cocoa powder, and mix again until completely integrated. To the mixture, add in about half of the flour mixture, along with half of the buttermilk. Mix on medium speed until the flour starts to combine with the wet. Add in the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, and mix again just until there are no more dry streaks. Slowly pour in the hot coffee, and mix on medium speed until the coffee has just mixed into the batter.
  3. Bake the cakes: Pour the batter into the three cake pans evenly. Place the cakes into the oven and bake for 33-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If using three 6″ cake pans, the cakes will bake a bit longer. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes.
  4. While the cakes are baking:  Make the cherry filling. Place pitted cherries (fresh or frozen) into a medium saucepan, along with the arrowroot starch, maple syrup, vanilla extract, optional almond extract, and water. Stir together, then turn the heat on to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cover. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Save about 1/2 cup of the cherry reserve for the chocolate cake. Then spoon the cooked cherries into a bowl, and place the cherries into the fridge to chill.
  5. Brush the cherry reserve onto the cooling cakes: Use a pastry brush or spoon and brush about 1/3 of the cherry reserve on top of each cake layer to soak. If you’d like to add in Kirschwasser, you can add in 4 tbsp of Kirschwasser into the cherry reserve before brushing. Then cool the cakes entirely.
  6. Make the vegan chocolate ganache: Make the ganache before the frosting to allow it time to cool. Prepare the ganache according to the post instructions. Then set aside to cool while you prepare the frosting. 
  7. Make the coconut whipped cream or whipped vegan buttercream: Once the cakes have completely cooled, begin to prepare the coconut whipped cream frosting or buttercream. Follow the instructions for either. I recommend using the coconut whipped cream if you want to leave your Black Forest cake as a naked cake. Use the vegan whipped buttercream frosting if you want to fully coat your cake. 
  8. Assembly: 
    1. Place 1 cake layer on the bottom and add 1/3-1/2 cup of frosting evenly all around. Then pipe a frosting dam for the cherry filling. Spoon half of the cherry filling into the frosting dam. Then place the second layer on top, and repeat. Place the third cake layer on top, then place the cake into the fridge or freezer to chill for 5-10 minutes. 
    2. Remove the cake from the fridge, and frost the rest of the cake if you’re using the vegan buttercream. Place the cake into the fridge again for 5-10 minutes to set the frosting before the chocolate ganache. 
    3. Drip the ganache on top of this layer and spread it around evenly so that it can slowly drip down the sides. Place the cake into the fridge for 5 minutes to let the ganache set.
    4. Remove the cake from the fridge and pipe remaining frosting on top, along with fresh cherries!
  9. Slice and serve! Serve the cake fresh, and store any leftovers in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 


Gluten Free: you can sub in a cup-for-cup gluten free blend. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten free baking flour!

For gluten-free flour measurements: Please use 3 cups of gluten-free flour or 420 g.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 381
  • Sugar: 30.8 g
  • Sodium: 271.7 mg
  • Fat: 12.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 64.6 g
  • Fiber: 5.1 g
  • Protein: 6.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 1.1 mg