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Black Forest Cake

I love cherries. If there is cherry anything on a menu, you can be certain I am ordering it. This Black Forest Cake is one of my favorites.

Growing up in Michigan, cherries and summer went hand in hand. Whenever I cook with cherries it’s always like instant nostalgia. What better way to celebrate that than with a true classic confection?

Celebrating the Classics

Black Forest is such a classic cake. This Black Forest Cake gives you all of the familiar flavors you love while being completely Gluten Free and Dairy Free.

Of all of the things I make, my chocolate cake has always been the number one request by both my friends and my family. After multiple tries and tweaks, I finally nailed the perfect combination of ingredients that result in that irresistible rich, tender, moist bite. It was only natural to take that winning recipe and turn it into a total celebration of all things cherry.

Part of what makes my recipe for chocolate cake so delicious is the addition of both espresso powder, and freshly brewed coffee. The coffee provides moisture while working with the espresso powder to amplify and enhance the deep chocolate flavor. In addition to the coffee, I also use Dairy Free unsweetened Greek yogurt this adds tang to balance the sweet while also ensuring every bite is tender and moist.

For the black forest portion of this cake we’re using a one two punch of cherry flavor. Cherry pie filling is combined with fresh cherries for that ideal balance of sweet, tart, tangy, and gorgeously glossy and glazed. Use your favorite cherry pie filling for this recipe.

Ingredients Needed To Make Black Forest Cake

  • 2 cups Gluten Free 1.1 flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 oz unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 cup fresh brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
  • 21 oz cherry pie filling
  • 16 oz  whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings for garnish

Substitutions + Alternatives

Can I use All-Purpose Flour?

Yes, All-Purpose Flour can be used. Use the same amount that is listed in the ingredients, but swap with all purpose.

Can I use regular dairy?

Feel free to make this recipe your own. I use dairy-free milk, but feel welcome to choose your preferred dairy option without any recipe adjustments. Unless specified otherwise, you have the flexibility to use the milk of your choice for the recipe.

Note: While almond milk is an option, it is less preferred due to its liquid consistency. Consider opting for a milk alternative with a thicker texture.

How To Make Black Forest Cake

In just a few simple steps you will be on your way to slicing into this luxurious cake and wowing your friends and family. I will take you step by step and break it down.

  • Pregame! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8″ round cake pans with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
  • Add your eggs and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat on high for 3 minutes. The sugar should be mostly dissolved, and the mixture should be light and frothy.
  • Add the vanilla, yogurt, oil, and espresso powder and mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix them until they’re just combined. Don’t over mix! Be gentle with your batter.
  • Add the coffee and mix to combine.
  • Divide the batter for your Black Forest Cake between the two prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  • To create your filling mix together your freshly pitted cherries with the cherry pie filling.
  • Slice the two cakes in half so you have four layers.
  • Spread 1/3 of the cherry filling on the top of the first slice of cake. Top with Dairy Free whipped cream.
  • Stack the next cake on top and repeat with the cherry filling and whipped cream. Continue with the layers.
  • Spread whipped topping over the top of the cake and garnish with Dairy Free chocolate shavings.

Are you looking for more chocolate cake inspiration? Make sure to check out my recipe for Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Bumpy Cake. Now let’s get baking!

Commonly Asked Questions

What Can I Use Instead of Espresso Powder?

If you don’t have espresso powder or wish to avoid caffeine, you can use decaffeinated espresso powder or simply increase the amount of cocoa powder slightly to enhance the chocolate flavor. Another option is to use a strong decaffeinated coffee in place of both the espresso powder and the brewed coffee.

Can I Make This Cake Ahead of Time?

Yes, this cake can be made ahead of time. After baking, it can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Just be sure to keep it covered to prevent it from drying out. Assemble with the cherry filling and whipped cream close to the time of serving for the best taste and texture.

Is There a Substitute for Fresh Cherries?

In the absence of fresh cherries, consider using thawed and drained frozen cherries or canned cherries (well-drained from syrup). Please note that there might be slight variations in texture and sweetness compared to fresh cherries. Alternatively, cherry jam can also serve as a suitable substitute.

Do I have to use whipped cream?

Nope! You can omit it and just use chocolate frosting.

Does this cake have to 4 layers?

If you prefer, you have the flexibility to create a two-layer cake instead. Simply divide the cake batter between two cake pans and adjust the baking time accordingly. This adjustment will result in a different presentation, but the taste and quality will remain delightful.

Gluten Free Double Cheery Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Rich, decadant chocolate cake is layered with two types of cherries and Dairy Free whipped cream.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10
Calories: 475kcal


  • 1 Mixing Bowl
  • 2 8" round cake pans


Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups Gluten Free 1.1 flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 oz unsweetened Greek yogurt.
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 cup fresh brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Black Forest Filling

  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
  • 21 oz cherry pie filling
  • 16 oz whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8" round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
  • Add eggs and sugar to a mixing bowl. Beat on high for 3 minutes until sugar is mostly dissolved and the eggs are frothy.
  • Add the vanilla, oil, yogurt, and epsresso powder. Mix to combine.
  • Add in all of the dry ingredients, mixing to just incorporate. Do not over mix.
  • Add in the coffee and mix to just combine.
  • Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
  • Bake the cakes for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cook completely before frosting.
  • Mix the fresh cherries with the cherry pie filling.
  • Slice the first cake in half, creating two layers. Repeat with the second cake.
  • Place one slice of cake down. Spread whipped cream over the top and then add 1/3 of the cherry filling.
  • Stack the next layer of cake on top. Spread some of the whipped cream, and another 1/3 of the cherry filling.
  • Repeat with the remaining layers.
  • Spread whipped cream over the top of the cake. Garnish with chocolate shavings.
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 475kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 495mg | Potassium: 277mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 481IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @TheSaltyCooker or tag #thesaltycooker!

This isn’t your average Black Forest cake. It’s completely gluten-free and dairy-free, but still packed with the classic flavors you know and love. What makes it special? My secret chocolate cake recipe that’s rich, moist, and full of deep chocolate flavor, thanks to a dash of espresso powder and some freshly brewed coffee. And for the cherry on top (literally!), we mix cherry pie filling with fresh cherries for that perfect blend of sweet and tart.

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