Kenyan Black Forest Cake

Originally the Black Forest Gateau or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte as it’s called in German is a cake made up of chocolate sponge layers filled with whipped cream and cherries then covered with more whipped cream and chocolate shavings. In Germany for it to be called Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte , it’s law that the sponge cake layers must be fed with kirschwasser, a type of cherry liqueur. In Kenya, Black forest cake is much loved and quite a popular.

Locally, cherries are not readily available and when you find them they can be quite pricey so strawberries are a good substitute. In place of the kirschwasser, I use a diluted sugar syrup, rum also works well.  The spongy layers of the cake provide the perfect pockets for the syrup yielding a beautifully moistened cake.

Another popular variation is the white forest, which is a white cake without the cocoa powder.

The beauty of this recipe is that even without a stand or electric hand mixer one can still make it. Granted, you will require more elbow grease but its very doable.

the ingredients

For the frosting, whipped cream pairs beautifully. Dairy or non-dairy options work well, just ensure if using fresh cream to ensure the cream is well chilled and also allowing the metal bowl and whisk to freeze 30 minutes prior to whipping it up. This helps guarantee the ideal stiff peaks.

The cake is best served chilled, after frosting allow it to chill in the fridge before slicing it. This recipe also works well with mini black forest cakes.

Kenyan Black Forest Cake

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Rest time and Decoration1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Kenyan
Servings: 12


  • 210 grams all purpose flour
  • 20 grams cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 230 grams granulated sugar
  • 160 grams unsalted butter / margarine
  • 7 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For decoration

  • Sugar syrup or rum or cherry liqueur
  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh strawberries washed and sliced thinly, reserve 4 -5 whole for topping
  • 200 grams dark / milk chocolate compound


  • Pre heat oven at 180 degrees C
  • In a bowl, mix all purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, cream unsalted butter/ margarine and sugar until pale in colour, About 3-5 minutes. If using a wooden spoon this will take a little longer.
  • Add eggs one at a time and add vanilla essence.
  • Add flour and cocoa mixture and mix for 3 minutes until smooth.
  • Divide the batter equally between three 8″ round tins.
  • Bake at 180 degrees C for 28 -30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool cakes completely before frosting.
  • To frost, remove cakes from the tins and remove the parchment paper.
  • On a cake board or wide plate add a small dollop of fresh cream and place the first layer of cake.
  • Using a spoon or pastry brush feed the syrup or rum if using throughout the top surface of the cake layer.
  • Add a dollop of whipped cream and spread with an offset spatula to form an even layer.
  • Place strawberry slices in one single layer then repeat the procedure with the second layer.
  • Once the third layer is placed, feed with syrup and now coat the whole cake with the whipped cream.
  • Using a scraper and offset spatula, cover the surface of the cake until desired results are achieved.
  • Using a grater or potato peeler, shaved the chocolate to get small shavings.
  • Cover the cake with the chocolate shavings.
  • Top with half sliced strawberries.
  • Black forest is best served chilled.



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