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Dairy-Free Black Forest Cake

Black Forest cake. The cake I will forever remember as the official cake of my dad’s birthday. Every single year, without fail, my mom would grab a grocery store bakery Black Forest cake come July and top it with candles. Nostalgia at its finest, I most certainly had to create my father’s favorite flavor and this dairy-free version of the beloved Black Forest cake did not disappoint.

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A close up picture of a blak forest cake with a large slice taken out of it. Topped with bright red fresh cherries.

Four moist layers of deep chocolate cake soaked with cherry liqueur and stacked high with fluffy coconut whipped cream. Fresh cherry filling hidden secretly between each rich layer and topped with a dusting of chocolate shavings and sweet cherries. This Black Forest cake was absolute cake heaven in texture, taste, and appearance. Don’t be fooled by its decadent presentation, this cake is super easy to make and will wow a crowd!

What Is Black Forest Cake?

Black Forest cake, traditionally known as a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, is a rich chocolate sponge cake severed several layers high with fresh cherries, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. It is often made with a cherry spirit or cherry liqueur either baked into the cake, added to the whipped cream, or used as a soak on the cake layers.

Four rich layers of dark chocolate cake. Whipped cream between each layer and topped with fresh cherries.

Cherry Liqueur Cake Soak

Kirschwasser, sometimes referred to as Kirsch, is the traditional cherry liqueur used in Black Forest cake. It’s what I used, in combination with cherry juice, to brush on each chocolate cake layer. This simple cherry liqueur soak adds so much moisture with a hint of cherry flavor.

That said, I realize alcohol isn’t everyone’s jam so feel free to either skip this step or simply brush on some plain ol’ delicious cherry juice. If you are feeling super DIY you can make this amazing homemade cherry simple syrup from Cooking With Curls.

Four rich layers of dark chocolate cake. Whipped cream between each layer and topped with fresh cherries.

How To Make Coconut Whipped Cream

Black Forest cake would not be the same without its delicious and airy counterpart: whipped cream. Seeing as this is a dairy-free version, I have swapped out the traditional heavy whipping cream and used canned coconut cream. Coconut cream is the thicky creamy part that is on the top portion of chilled canned coconut milk. This heavy creamy portion is separated from the liquid and whipped gently with a splash of vanilla extract and icing sugar.

The key to coconut whipped cream is chilling the cans overnight in the fridge. Don’t try to whip coconut cream from room temperature. It simply won’t work. Here’s an in-depth blog post from Minimalist Baker regarding coconut whipped cream that has a few really helpful tips and tricks if you aren’t familiar with the process.

A slice of black forest cake sitting on a white plate. There is a large bite taken out of it.

Simple No-Bake Cherry Filling

As a child, cherry filling always came from a can. And there’s nothing wrong with canned fillings, but to keep this dairy-free black forest cake as easy and as homemade as possible, I decided to go with real cherries for the filling. No cooking, no extra ingredients, no chill time. That’s my kind of easy!

First, grab approximately 3 cups of either frozen and thawed or canned cherries. Make sure to save some of the juice and/or syrup for the cake soak! Next, very coarsely cut the thawed or canned cherries up. Don’t cut them too fine as you want some bigger cherry chunks in the filling. Third, spoon that deliciously easy cherry filling in between each cake layer on top of the coconut whipped cream.

Four rich layers of dark chocolate cake. Whipped cream between each layer and topped with fresh cherries.

Easy Dairy-Free Black Forest Cake

Let’s double-check this black forest cake lineup. Rich deep chocolate cake layers. Cherry liqueur soak. Fluffy coconut whipped cream. And last, but definitely not least, cherry filling. Topped with some fresh cherries and a light dusting of fine chocolate shavings, this Dairy-Free Black Forest cake is ridiculously delicious and ridiculously easy. Not to mention she’s a stacked show-stopper of a cake. That, my sweet friends, is a winning cake combination.

A black forest cake topped with bright red fresh cherries with the stems still on

Chocolate And Fruit Desserts

There’s something about a little bit of chocolate and a little bit of fruit. Here are a few other recipes that I think will tickle your tastebuds:

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Four rich layers of dark chocolate cake. Whipped cream between each layer and topped with fresh cherries.

Dairy-Free Black Forest Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 12 reviews

  • Author: Katie Stymiest
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes
  • Yield: 10 Slices 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This dairy-free Black Forest Cake is ultra decadent and ultra-easy. Four layers of rich chocolate sponge cake soaked with a light cherry liqueur. Topped with fresh coconut whipped cream and real cherry filling. You’ll never return to the store-bought cake after making this easy and moist Black Forest Cake.



Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour *can sub gluten-free 1:1 baking blend
  • 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (80g) cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cups (500ml) dairy-free milk, hot
  • 1 cup (250ml) canola or vegetable oil

Cherry Liqueur Soak

  • 2 tbsp. cherry liqueur *
  • 2 tbsp. cherry juice or syrup **

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 2 cans (800ml) coconut cream ***
  • ½ cup (60g) icing sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Cherry Filling & Cake Decor

  • 3 cups (600g) frozen, canned, or fresh cherries
  • semi-sweet chocolate shavings


Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare four 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray.
  2. In the bowl of the stand mixer, mix together all the dry ingredients with the whisk attachment until fully combined.
  3. Add in the milk and oil and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  4. Divide the batter equally into the four prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool.

Cherry Liqueur Soak

  1. Combine the cherry liqueur and cherry juice or syrup in a small bowl.
  2. With a pastry brush, gently brush on each cooled and leveled cake layer.

Coconut Whipped Cream

  1. Chill the canned coconut cream overnight in the fridge. Do not shake the can to mix.
  2. Chill the mixing bowl and beater in the freezer for 10 minutes before preparing the coconut whipped cream.
  3. Remove the chilled canned coconut cream and carefully open it. Scrape the thicked cream out and into the chilled mixing bowl. Leave any liquid in the can.
  4. With the mixer on medium, beat the hardened coconut cream for approximately 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add in the icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix on medium until smooth and fluffy. This should only take approximately 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Cherry Filling

  1. Thaw the cherries if using frozen. Save the juice for the soak.
  2. Cut or slice each cherry approximately in half.

Cake Assembly

  1. Place a leveled layer of cherry liqueur-soaked chocolate cake on a plate, cake board, and/or cake turntable.
  2. Top with approximately 1 cup of coconut whipped cream and spread evenly.
  3. Gently place approximately ¾ cup of chopped cherries on top of the coconut whipped cream and add some of the chocolate shavings.
  4. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  5. Decorate as you desire. I topped the cake off with fresh cherries and a dusting of chocolate shavings. Due to the nature of whipped coconut cream, I recommend serving this cake immediately. If not, trim a plastic straw or wooden dowel and insert it into the center of the cake to add some extra stability. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!


* Replace with additional cherry juice or syrup if you are alcohol-free

** Save the juice or syrup from the frozen or canned cherries

*** Replace coconut cream with heavy whipping cream if you are not dairy-senstive

  • Prep Time: 60 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 788
  • Sugar: 56 Grams
  • Sodium: 700 Miligrams
  • Fat: 58 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 31 Grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 20 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 6 Grams
  • Carbohydrates: 92 Grams
  • Fiber: 6 Grams
  • Protein: 10 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 121 Miligrams

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    1. These cake layers are so totally moist and rich especially with the soak! Thanks for baking this one up Gretta and sharing!

  1. I’m not dairy-free so I used regular whipping cream. But this was by far the most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever tried.

  2. Hello. What is your dairy free milk of choice for this cake? There are so many options out there, each with unique flavors, I would think that there may be one that is a better match for this cake? Almond perhaps?

    1. Hi Theresa, I always use unsweetened almond milk and would recommend that as well. My second choice would be coconut milk.

  3. I’m not vegan or even dairy-free but I thought I would try the whipped coconut cream for fun and oh my goodness I may never go back to the regular stuff. I’m shocked at how good and easy it was.

    1. I am thrilled to hear this Jas. I had no idea how easy and yummy coconut whipped cream was until I made this one. A total game changer!

  4. Is there an alternative to oil, as that is A LOT, could it be substituted for a margarine or butter alternative?

    1. I’m a firm believer that everything in moderation is healthy, including a crazy delicious black forest cake made with oil. But with that said, you could do half oil and half apple sauce. Or half oil and half melted butter.

  5. So nice! I made it for my hubby’s bday and he loved it.
    I used canned cherries then made a sauce with the left over syrup and layered it under the cream and it was amazing ❤️

  6. How could you turn this into cupcakes. I really want to make them for my mum in law, she’s allergic to dairy, but I thought cupcakes seem less wasteful the a whole cake.

    1. Hi Kath, the cake batter will make approximately 24 cupcakes. Personally, I would cut of the cherries and mix them with a few teaspoons of water and sugar to allow the natural juices to come out. Fill the cupckes with that and topped with the whipped cream. Note that coconut or plant-based whipped cream is not stable so I wouldn’t decorate the cupcakes until just before serving. You could also half the recipe and bake it like a snack cake in an 8×8 pan and top that with the whipped cream and cherries.

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