We're in it for the cherry filling alone.

By By Allison Duncan
March 05, 2018
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Photo: Christina Holmes. Reprinted from Chloe Flavor.

Chloe Coscarelli, an award-winning chef and bestselling cookbook author, updated the classic German Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cherry cake) with a vegan twist for her new cookbook Chloe Flavor. And the result will impress vegans and carnivores alike. (Related: 10 Creative Tofu Dessert Recipes)

The inspo? Ben, Chloe's boyfriend. "Ben's favorite cake is Black Forest cherry cake because his grandma, who was born in Germany, would always make it for him," says Coscarelli. "I 'surprise' him with it on his birthday every year. With a few of his birthdays under my belt, I've finally perfected the ultimate vegan version of this traditional cake."

While this cake should still be considered a treat, it's not without its benefits. "Sweet cherries are rich in antioxidants, which may help prevent against certain cancers, strengthen the immune system and decrease inflammation in the body," explains Keri Gans, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., a nutrition consultant. "Sweet cherries are also packed with potassium, which helps control our blood pressure, and tart cherries are considered one of nature's few sources of melatonin, a hormone that may help us sleep."

With that sweet cherry filling in mind, this cake has quickly become our favorite, too.

Vegan Black Forest Cherry Cake Recipe

Makes one 9-inch cake

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups canned coconut milk, mixed well
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Cherry Filling Ingredients

  • 16 ounces frozen cherries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch or brandy
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients

  • 2 cups nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Almond milk, as needed

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil

Make the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, for about 30 minutes, or until toothpicks inserted into the center of the cakes come out clean with a few crumbs clinging to them. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pans.

Meanwhile, Make the Cherry Filling

In a small saucepan, combine the cherries, granulated sugar, and kirsch. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and saucy. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the vanilla, and let cool. Taste, and add another splash of liquor, if desired.

Make the Frosting

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the shortening until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat to incorporate. Beat on high for about 2 minutes more, until light and fluffy. If needed, add a little almond milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin the frosting.

Make the Chocolate Ganache

In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and coconut milk. (Alternatively, put the chocolate chips and coconut milk in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.) Whisk in the vegetable oil until smooth.

When the cakes have cooled completely, run a knife around the inside edge of each pan to loosen the cakes and gently unmold them. Peel off the parchment paper. Place one cake on a serving plate, bottom-side up. Spoon on half of the cherry filling, drizzling the liquid evenly over it. Dollop the frosting on top of the cherry filling. Carefully spread the frosting, but don't worry if it's not perfect-the weight of the second cake layer will even it out. Place the second cake layer on top of the first, bottom-side up, and spread the chocolate ganache evenly over the top. Top with the remaining cherry filling.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP: The cake layers can be made in advance and frozen, unfrosted, for up to 1 month. Thaw and frost before serving.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Use gluten-free baking flour, gluten-free cocoa powder, and gluten-free chocolate chips.