Black Forest Birthday Cake

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New Year’s Eve tends to be a night where everyone is ringing in the New Year. And don’t worry, we brought in the new year. In fact, I brought in the new year baking a cake… but not this one. I made this one the day before…

Our friend Doug has a birthday on New Year’s Eve. Yup, his momma got to ring in the new year in the hospital, but it wasn’t a bad accident. Nope, it brought my friend Doug into the world… 50 years ago in fact. And I have to admit, I met him in 2013 and didn’t realize he was in his 40’s at the time.

Wow, I’ve known him 5 years… CRAZY. I just thought about that. Just a thought… but back to the cake.

The Cake

When we got invited to the party, I volunteered to make the birthday cake. I mean, you can’t have a birthday without a cake. I mean, I guess you can but…

So I bugged Doug and asked what kind of cake he liked… you know, randomly. I’m sure he guessed what was going on, but still…

He said, yellow, chocolate, whatever. Well I already had a yellow cake spoken for, so I decided to go the chocolate route. But there are so many options that I had to narrow it down.

I’d recently read a bunch of different Black Forest Cake recipes and thought… it’s chocolate, it’s cherries, it has to be yummy, right? Babam! But then, the next question was… Which recipe to try? I had it narrowed down to one in a book by Tatyana’s Everyday Food and Natasha’s Kitchen. I went the Natasha’s Kitchen route this time.

Making the Cake

It surprised me reading through all the recipes that I did, there were common factors… chocolate cake, whipping cream, and kirsch liqueur. What the heck is kirsch liqueur?

Well, it’s a cherry liqueur that comes from the morello cherry that originated in the Black Forest region of Germany. Oh, maybe all that German I know (which is more than you’d think but not really much at all) might come in handy. But it is a clear, colorless fruit brandy. Now though, it can be made with other cherries as well. Unlike some cherry liqueurs and brandies though, it’s not sweet.

They say that the best kirsch liqueur has a refined taste with that subtle flavor of cherry and almond taste.

So, I couldn’t find it. I might have been able to if I’d have gone to a liqueur store or told hubby earlier so he could have Amazoned it for me, but I didn’t. I did some google research and it suggested either using cherry water or cherry vodka in it’s place. I went with a mixture of Black Cherry Water and Vodka.


There were 3 layers of chocolate cake. In between the layers was a layer of cherries and whipped cream icing.

Have you tried to find cherries this time of year. Oh gosh! Difficult would be an understatement. The fresh sweet dark cherries I found looked horrid. And for looking old, they were overly priced. Natasha suggested using frozen or canned. I didn’t have time to defrost frozen so I went canned.

Have you ever tried a canned dark sweet cherry? Yuck! But that was the route I went since it was between the layers. I did finally find fresh cherries at Sam’s that were good. To tell you how good, I used 13 on top and hubby and I ate the rest. We couldn’t stay out of them.

The Final Cake

YUM! So you soaked the cherries in liquid. If you notice in the picture above, some of that color faded through. I’m not sure if it would have been that way with fresh cherries.

Also, I got worried that I over whipped my whipped cream. Turns out, I didn’t whip it enough. Sad but true. I was quite frustrated with this cake, but it looked gorgeous after it set up in the refrigerator.

Instead of shaving the chocolate, I chopped it for the sides. The top though I shaved.

The Birthday

So we lit the candles, Abug sang to Doug, and he blew out the candles. Glen was there too and his 55 birthday was December 30, so we relit the candles, Abug sang to him, and he blew out the candles.

Jared wanted to put 50 candles on top. I’m glad we didn’t because that would have melted the icing that wasn’t in tip top condition to begin with… Ack!

But I can tell you… when you have shaved chocolate on the top… and you blow out birthday candles… you apparently blow off chocolate too. Whatever, it was a birthday cake, it had candles, it was New Years, and we had fun. Having fun and celebrating good people is all that matters!!

Happy 50th Birthday Doug and 55th Birthday Glen!! And of course, Happy New Year!!

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