Recipe for the original 1915 Black Forest Cake (Gateau)

Posted: March 8, 2009 in how-to
Tags: ,


This is the original black forest cake recipe by master pastry cook and confectioner Josef Keller (1887-1981) from Radolfzell (Lake Constance, Germany). The world renowned gateau was supposedly created in Bad Godesberg, at the former celebrity cafe Agner.


For a 24-Er-Springform

4 Eggs
100 g Sugar
100 g Butter
150 g Dark Chocolate
3 Tbsp Black Forest Kirsch (Liquor)
50 g Flour
50 g Potato Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Pinch of Salt
150 g Ground Roasted Hazelnuts


½ l Cream
1 Pkt. Vanilla Sugar (or Vanilla Essence)
1/8 l Black Forest Kirsch (Liquor)
750 g Red Cherries
50 g (-80 g) Grated Chocolate


Stir eggs and sugar well until smooth. Add the lukewarm runny butter, the melted chocolate  (using the double-boiler method, melt chocolate with 2 tbsp of water) and the Kirsch. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and potato flour and sieve. Dry roast the ground hazelnuts in a pan untll they are light brown.

Gently mix flour and hazelnuts into the egg-sugar mix and pour all into the pre-buttered springform. Bake at medium heat (190 °C) for 45 minutes. After the cake base has cooled down, cut it twice horizontally. Whip cream and vanilla sugar (or vanilla essence and sugar to taste).

Soak the cake layers with Kirsch and cover the two bottom ones with 1cm of whipped cream. Spread the drained cherries over it and press them gently into the whipped cream. Assemble the parts to form the cake (including the top part). Cover the whole cake generously with cream and decorate with grated chocolate. If so desired, one can add cream of tartar or dissolved (cooled down) gelatin to the cream to ensure the filling will remain firm over an extended period of time.

[Translated from German into Englisch; original recipe on Webkoch]

  1. […] Yesterday was Black Forest Cake Day, but there’s no reason you can’t celebrate all […]

  2. Oh my God does that ever look good..

    This will be on my table before too long.!!!

    I love it and I am going to try it.
    It sounds so fantastic and the picture is great.!!!

    Thanks for sharing.!!!

  3. izzy says:

    Well! All I have to say is that the recipe does sound delicious. My Father in-law is visiting on the weekend, I owed him a favor, so I asked him if a could bake him his favorite “Black Forest Cake” but he made sure I had to make the real deal. He is german and his mom used to make it when he was a child. So I’m sure will be put to the test. So I hope youre recipe is the one.

    Thank you for sharing it!!

  4. Liz says:

    I like this recipe and I will try to make it this weekend for my husbands Birthday but I don’t understand “For a 24-Er-Springform”. I have 9 inch one.Is that the one or should I use 2- 8″. Please help!!!
    Thank you.

    • Clara Kemmer says:

      It means a 24cm Springform,your 9inch one should be OK
      Good Luck with your cake,I hope you have Kirshwasser it’s
      a must for an authentic Black Forest Cake

  5. barney says:

    wow ich hab noch nie gedacht das es so gut schmecken wurde das geht schone onhe das rezept aber trozdem danke fur deine helfe es schmeckt richtig geilll oder soll ich mal sagen richtig lecker;p!!!!!

  6. Sandra says:

    The recipe I’m looking at does not list the portion size for the cream and the kirsch. Can someone help me? I am looking to make this cake for a very special occassion and want to get it right!

  7. lydia mwangi says:

    av been trying to get a simple black forest recipe and yours seems just right, but tell me how do i use gelatin to firm my cream to take a little longer?pliz help.

  8. Jasper says:

    Today I’m having a birthday party, and thanks to the game Portal, I decided to make the Portal/Blackforest cake =D!

  9. EJ says:

    Let me preface this by stating that I’m a good baker. I made this cake today and it came out flat – never rose. I know that my baking powder is good because I used it for delicious pancakes last Saturday. Any advice on what the problem could have been?

  10. Alysia says:

    I like the recipe but was wondering about the cream and liquor amounts, since they seem to be lacking. Also, I’m a little puzzled on the vanilla sugar (or vanilla essence). What is that, and how much is a pkt in cup/teaspoon measurements (or does it already come in the correct amount)? Thanks in advance!!

  11. […] But it sounds yummy. Kirsch is a liquor FYI: Definition of Kirsch and a recipe of the cake __________________ Ubuntu- "I am because you […]

  12. anna says:

    Did anyone else make this? Any tips/comments before I try as well?


  13. Riri Wallad says:

    I tried out the recipe just now for hubby birthday… OMG… the cake looks very very good!!! haven’t tasted it yet though 🙂 can’t wait for my husband to come home.

    Thank’s for sharing!!!

  14. Stich says:

    Could any one tell me how you make this cake so that it dosn’t turn out flat?

  15. Peter Knight says:

    The flour and potato flour are given as 50 grams each in quantity. Maybe should read 500 grams ???? Let me know before I start.

  16. pinkmoose says:

    The cake is a lie.

  17. Dana says:

    My-oh-my!!! I like the recipe but I wouldn’t want it to turn out flat like others are saying. Any advice on how it can turn out awesome:-)

  18. 24 Centimeters (cm) = 9.45 Inches so maybe a 10 ” springform would be better? Looks delish!

  19. I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but I used to bake these professionally for Colonial Williamsburg. Our executive pastry chef at the time, Rolf Herion, was Austrian.

    The height of the cake comes from the filling between the layers and on top, not from the cake. We used to split the layer in three ( twice horizontally) between the bottom layers, we would pipe chocolate frosting in a spiral and then fill in between w. the cherries. that gave it more structure and thus more height. Between the middle and top, was whipped cream with no cherries (which may have caused the whipped cream to collapse some, and thus the “flat” cake. We then “iced the whole cake in whipped cream with a thick layer on top with more whipped cream piped on with rosettes around the edges and topped w. maraschino cherries. The center was then topped w. chocolate curls shaved off of a slightly soften bar of chocolate. The sides of the cake were dusted w. cake crumbs.

    Also, we didn’t soak the cake in the kirschwasser, which sounds delish, but may cause it to break. Instead, we mixed kirschwasser in a bit of simple syrup and brush it on in a generous fashion.

    If you’re still having trouble, it may be the hazelnuts. Substitute a rich chocolate cake recipe…

    BTW, the measure for the cream is one liter. That’s 33.8 oz, i.e. a bit over a quart, but a quart will do, as that’s how it’s sold in the US. This needs to be extra heavy whipping cream. 38-40% butter fat, if possible. 36% if that’s all you can find.

  20. margaret says:

    I have always made black forest cake, but never one with potato flour. i would assume that potato would be a bit heavy to rise. and you are right Beth, the height does come from the filling and not the actual cake. i am making a 50th cake using another recipe made with condensed milk instead of using eggs.

  21. manhar says:

    i nee egg less cakes

  22. Howdy! I just want to give you a big thumbs
    up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post.
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  23. tlum says:

    I suspect this recipe was poorly translated from German. “Stir eggs and sugar well until smooth” … most accomplished bakers know this can’t be correct. There is no rising agent in an egg based sponge cake, unless you intend for it to turn out dense, you need to whip air into the egg/sugar mixture and then fold in the dry ingredients without deflating it. Over mixing the dry ingredients not only deflates the egg/sugar, but also develops the gluten in the flour which will toughen it. Cakes like this one require a good technique which is second nature to an experienced baker, and for the novice that faithfully follows written directions you will have trouble if you don’t know what really needs to happen. I don’t know the different between words like “stir”, “whip”, and “beat” in German, but they make a big difference in this cake.

  24. tlum says:

    Oops, sorry, missed the baking powder on first read.

  25. tlum says:

    Still, in the original recipe “Eier und Zucker glattrühren” translates literally to “Eggs and Sugar until smooth”. Possibly only a true German baker would know how to correctly interpret that, but as a accomplished baker, and listening to the results that some have achieved, I would interpret it as “beat eggs and sugar until smooth”… which usually means until doubled or tippled in volume and pale yellow in color.

  26. Fanie says:

    Another sad South African story: Shoprite supermarket sells a normal chocolate cake but label it as “Black Forest cake” GROSS !!!!

  27. […] Really all I can say is that it’s a good thing that the cocoa labourers and the chocolate factory workers aren’t people of colour. That would just be the icing on the chocolate cake. Mmmm… Chocolate cake. […]

  28. […] Yesterday was Black Forest Cake Day, but there’s no reason you can’t celebrate all […]

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