This version of the classic German dessert black forest cake, by chef Martin Boetz, makes your knees go weak. Martin uses a chocolate mousse recipe from Heston Blumenthal’s book In Search of Perfection (but any basic mousse recipe is fine) and likes to garnish the cake with fresh cherries that have been marinated in kirsch for one week.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (617 votes)


Butter cake

  • 300 g butter
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs 
  • 300 g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder


Chocolate cake

  • 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 250 g chocolate, chopped 
  • 180 g butter 
  • 6 eggs 
  • 250 g caster sugar

Chocolate mousse

  • 4 egg yolks (combined weight 80 g)
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml full-cream milk
  • 150 g top-quality dark chocolate, chopped 
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 200 ml whipping cream


Chocolate ganache

  • 95 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp glucose syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 95 g top-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 20 g unsalted butter



  • 680 g jar sour (morello) cherries 
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1 tbsp sugar


To assemble

  • kirsch
  • whipped cream
  • shards of dark or milk chocolate
  • 10 whole fresh cherries (preferably soaked in kirsch for 1 week)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Setting time 3 hours

It is preferable that you soak the cherries 1 week ahead.

Preheat the oven to 180°C 

To make the butter cake, lightly grease a cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then fold in the flour and baking powder. Pour into the tin and bake for 55 minutes. Leave to cool.

Butter another cake tin of the same size for the chocolate cake. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water then leave to cool. Beat the eggs and sugar together. Fold in the melted chocolate then the flour. Pour into the tin and bake for 1 hour. Leave to cool.

To make the chocolate mousse, beat the egg yolks with the sugar for 5 minutes or until stiff. Gently warm the milk in a saucepan then remove from the heat. Stir in the egg yolks and return to medium heat. Cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently. Use a digital probe to monitor when the temperature of the mixture reaches 80°C and remove from the heat.

Place the chocolate in a mixing bowl and pour over the warm milk and egg mixture, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Add the salt and leave to cool.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Spoon into a piping bag and refrigerate to stiffen.

To make the chocolate ganache, gently heat the cream, glucose syrup and salt. Place the chocolate in a bowl and add the warm cream, stirring until the chocolate melts. Add the butter and stir until it melts.

Strain the cherry juice into a saucepan. Add the vanilla bean and sugar and simmer until reduced to a syrup.

Carefully cut each cake into three slices. Place a layer of butter cake on a flat plate and splash with a little kirsch. Pipe a rim of mousse around the top of the cake to form a wall to keep in the cherries. Fill with some cherries then top with a layer of chocolate cake. Spread with whipped cream. Repeat the layers but instead of topping the cake with cream, spread with ganache. Allow it to run down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shards (to resemble the bark of trees in a forest) and garnish with whole cherries. Leave the cake to set for at least 3 hours, in the refrigerator if necessary, but take it out at least 1 hour before serving.