This layered Black Forest Cake is an indulgence that you won’t be able to have just one bite of! Layers of devils food cake are held together by cherry pie filling and the very best homemade whipped cream frosting. It’s an easy to make dessert that always impresses!

A black forest cake is topped with cherries and whipped cream. The center is cut to reveal a layered inside.

Black Forest Cake

I have a secret. Well, a not-so-secret hack that helps me save a little time with this cake recipe. I use boxed cake mix! Gasp! I also use instant pudding mix to help thicken up the frosting and to make it luscious and decadent. This might just be my favorite way to dress up store-bought ingredients. I mean, just look at those pictures… You’d never guess that this recipe was so easy!

Black forest cake is always my go-to dessert order when I see it listed on the menu at a restaurant. There’s just something about rich chocolate cake combined with the sweetness of cherries that will forever make my heart sing! While I do use store-bought ingredients to make this layered beauty, you’d never know that any corners have been cut when you take a bite.

This cake seriously tastes like it was baked and served at your favorite restaurant. I think it might just be the whipped cream frosting that really seals the deal! White chocolate vanilla pudding mix is the ingredient that creates the best thick consistency and rich flavor that perfectly compliments the chocolate cake and sweet cherries. With that being said, it’s hard to say which element of this cake is my favorite. I’m obsessed with the whole thing!

The ingredients for black forest cake are placed on a white surface.

How to Make Black Forest Cake

  1. Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray three cake pans with non-stick spray.
  2. Make the cake batter. Mix together the cake mix, eggs, milk, melted butter and sour cream until smooth. Pour the batter evenly into the three pans.
  3. Bake the layers. Place all three pans in the oven and bake for about 22-27 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness.
  4. Let the layers cool! This is VERY important. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in their pans at room temperature before turning them out on a wire cooling rack. Allow them to fully cool to room temperature.
  5. Make the icing. Beat together the heavy cream, pudding mix, and powdered sugar until thick and fluffy.
  6. Assemble the cake. Place the first layer on a cake stand. Top it with syrup from the cherries in a thin layer. Pipe some frosting onto the cake and spread it into an even layer in the middle, but slightly higher on the edges. Place some of the cherry pie filling in the middle. Top with the next cake layer and repeat the process until your final cake layer has been placed on top.
  7. Frost and decorate the cake. Frost the outside and top of the cake completely. Decorate as desired, and enjoy!
A white cake stand is holding a black forest cake.

Tips for the Best Black Forest Cake

  • Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure your eggs, milk, and sour cream are at room temperature before starting the recipe. This will help ensure that the ingredients combine smoothly and the cake batter is evenly mixed.
  • Line your cake pans. If you don’t have a good baking spray, I recommend that you consider lining your cake pans with parchment paper for easy removal and to prevent the cakes from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Just be aware that the parchment paper can affect the edges of the cake if not cut to fit the pan properly.
  • Don’t overfill the cake pans. Make sure to evenly divide the cake batter between the pans and save a little bit of room at the top to allow the cakes to rise while baking.
  • Use a serrated knife to slice the cake layers. To get even and clean layers, use a serrated knife to slice the cooled cakes in half horizontally.
  • Avoid over-mixing the whipped cream. When making the whipped cream frosting, be careful not to over-beat the mixture as it can become grainy or even turn into butter. Stop beating the mixture when it forms stiff peaks.
  • Decorate the cake just before serving. If you plan to decorate the cake with chocolate shavings and cherries, do it just before serving to prevent the chocolate from melting or the cherries from bleeding onto the frosting.

How to Store Black Forest Cake

Black forest cake should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap. It will last for up to 4-5 days when stored properly. Before serving, allow the cake to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

To freeze, wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap, then wrap it again with foil to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To thaw, simply remove the cake from the freezer and let it come to room temperature for a few hours. Alternatively, you can slowly thaw the cake in the refrigerator overnight.

A slice of black forest cake is being removed from the cake stand.

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A black forest cake is topped with cherries and whipped cream. The center is cut to reveal a layered inside.

Get the Recipe: Black Forest Cake Recipe

Decadent Black Forest Cake is easy to make by starting with a simple cake mix and then layering with cherries, whipped cream and more chocolate. So rich and impressive.
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  • 15.25 ounce devil’s food cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup 1 stick salted butter, melted
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 16 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup white chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 11 ounces maraschino cherries, divided
  • 21 ounces cherry pie filling, divided
  • 1 cup chocolate shavings


  • 3 9 inch cake pan


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray three 6 inch pans or two 9 inch cake pans with baking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs, milk, melted butter and sour cream until combined and smooth.
  • Pour evenly into the three prepared cake pans and smooth into an even layer.
  • Bake for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top bounces back when gently tapped.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling the cake.
  • When ready to assemble the cakes, create the icing by beating together the heavy cream, white chocolate pudding mix and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl with a hand or stand mixer.
  • Continue beating the mixture until thick and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Assemble the cake by placing one layer on a cake stand or serving tray.
  • Brush the first layer with the syrup from the maraschino cherries until covered with an even, thin layer.
  • Place some of the whipped frosting in a large piping bag fitted with a size 1M wilton or similar sized tip.
  • Pipe on a layer of the whipped cream around the edge of the layer and some in the middle.
  • Spread the frosting into an even layer in the middle but slightly higher on the edge.
  • Top with about 1 ⅓ cup cherry pie filling and spread out into an even layer, avoiding the outer edge.
  • Place a second layer of cake on top of the layer and repeat steps 11-15.
  • Continue repeating the process until the last layer of cake has been placed on top.
  • Use the remaining whipped cream frosting to frost the top and outside of the cake completely.
  • Decorate the sides and top as desired with chocolate shavings and the maraschino cherries.
Calories: 635kcal, Carbohydrates: 70g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 113mg, Sodium: 598mg, Potassium: 384mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 36g, Vitamin A: 1068IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 154mg, Iron: 3mg