Black Forest gâteau
Alternative namesBlack Forest cake
Place of originGermany
Created byJosef Keller (contested) [1]
Main ingredientsChocolate cake, cherries, whipped cream, Kirschwasser

Black Forest gâteau (German: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (pronounced [ˈʃvaʁt͡svɛldɐ ˈkɪʁʃˌtɔʁtə] ), literally "Black Forest Cherry-torte"), also called Black Forest cake, is a chocolate and cream cake with a rich cherry filling. While it is most likely based on a Black Forest dessert tradition, the cake's specific origin in Germany is contested.

Typically, Black Forest gateau consists of several layers of chocolate sponge cake sandwiched with whipped cream and cherries. It is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. Traditionally Kirschwasser, a clear alcoholic spirit made from sour cherries, is added to the cake.[2] Other spirits are sometimes used, such as rum, which is common in Austrian recipes. German law mandates that any dessert labeled Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte must have Kirschwasser.[3]


Slice of cake showing cherries between the layers
Individual cupcakes based on Black Forest cake

The origin of the cake's name is not entirely clear.

The confectioner Josef Keller [de] (1887–1981) claimed to have invented Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in its present form in 1915 at the prominent Café Agner in Bad Godesberg, now a suburb of Bonn about 500 km (310 mi) north of the Black Forest. This claim, however, has never been substantiated.[4] A long time ago, cherries, cream, and Kirschwasser were combined in the form of a dessert in which cooked cherries were served with cream and Kirschwasser, originated in Black forest region famous for its cherry trees.[5]

The Tübingen city archivist Udo Rauch names the Tübingen master confectioner Erwin Hildenbrand of Café Walz in Tübingen as the "inventor", dated spring 1930.[6] Tübingen, which is no longer usually associated with the Black Forest, belonged to the Black Forest district from 1818 to 1924. Given that Keller's initial recipe was not identical to the most popular interpretation of the Black Forest Cake, but instead a simpler version, it could be theorized that both confectioners influenced its creation.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was first mentioned in writing in 1934.[7][2] At the time it was particularly associated with Berlin but was also available from high-class confectioners in other German, Austrian, and Swiss cities. In 1949 it took 13th place in a list of best-known German cakes.[2]

In popular culture

See also: The cake is a lie

The 2007 video game Portal made frequent references to a fictional Black Forest cake,[8] inspired by a real life Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte the developers purchased from a nearby café.[9] The commercial success of the game, as well as the popularity of the internet meme regarding the cake, led to the Black Forest cake becoming famous among fans of the franchise.[10][11]


The record for the world's largest authentic Black Forest gâteau was set at Europa Park, Germany, on 16 July 2006, by K&U Bakery.[12][13] Measuring nearly 80 m2 (860 sq ft) and weighing 3,000 kg (6,600 lb), the cake, which was 10 m (33 ft) in diameter, used up 700 L (180 US gal; 150 imp gal) of cream, 5,600 eggs, 800 kg (1,800 lb) of cherries, 40 kg (88 lb) of chocolate shavings, and 120 L (32 US gal; 26 imp gal) of kirsch.[14] On 9 December 2012, a team led by chefs Jörg Mink and Julien Bompard made Asia's biggest Black Forest cake at the S-One Expo[15] in Singapore. The 500 kg (1,100 lb) cake was made from 165 L (44 US gal; 36 imp gal) of cream, 1,500 eggs, 68 kg (150 lb), 60 kg (130 lb) of chocolate shavings, and 10 L (21 US pt; 18 imp pt) of kirsch.[16]

Regional variations

A Swedish Schwarzwaldtårta

The cake is popular around the world more so than in Germany itself, where it is often considered uninteresting or old-fashioned. The recipe was exported from Germany through cultural exchange and emigration prior to and following World War II. The alcohol helped the cake keep in warmer climates, and the cake's ingredients could be easily adapted by different cultures—swapping the cherries for a local fruit, or omitting the alcohol in Muslim countries, for example. Its popularity in parts of the world has sometimes led chefs and bakers to believe it is a local dessert.[17] A Swedish cake called Schwarzwaldtårta is related to the traditional Black Forest gâteau only by name, consisting of meringue layers and hazelnuts covered by whipped cream and decorated with thin dark chocolate and cocoa powder.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Black Forest Cake History and Recipe, Schwarzwälderkirschtorte, Whats Cooking America". May 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Germany: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake)". European Cuisines. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Leitsätze für Feine Backwaren" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  4. ^ Confectionery Museum Kitzingen, data collection about the Black Forest Cherry Cake in history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Erfindung: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte - Schwarzwaldregion Belchen".
  6. ^ "Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte – TUEpedia". (in German). Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  7. ^ J. M. Erich Weber (1934). 250 Konditorei-Spezialitäten und wie sie entstehen: Der praktische Unterricht in 500 Bildern von Werdegängen aus 24 Fachabteilungen bei kleinster Massenberechnung. Radebeul-Dresden. p. 368.
  8. ^ DelGreco, Marina (27 January 2021). "Portal's GLaDOS Gives the Perfect 'National Chocolate Cake Day' Recipe". Game Rant. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  9. ^ "The 'Portal' cake is not a lie ... almost". NBC News. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  10. ^ Marie, Meagan. "Let There Be Cake". Game Informer. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  11. ^ Knetzger, Bob (16 January 2023). "The cake is NOT a lie". Boing Boing. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  12. ^ "Weltgrößte Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte im Europa-Park - Europa-Park". Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  13. ^ "Deutschlandmagazin 3.0 - Deutschlandmagazin 3.0 - Nachrichten Germany - Deutschland aus Lifestyle Politik Reise und Tourismus Auto Motor Sport | Schwarzwald". Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  14. ^ OC Projects GmbH, Kaarst. "Torten News | Größte Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte der Welt hergestellt". Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  15. ^ "A "Day Trip" to Stuttgart, Germany for Tanjong Pagar Residents". S-One Expo. 6 December 2012. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  16. ^ "STOMP - Singapore Seen - Feast your eyes on Asia's biggest black forest cake -- made and eaten in S'pore". Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  17. ^ Krishna, Priya (1 May 2024). "How Did Black Forest Cake Become the World's Favorite Dessert?". The New York Times. p. D1. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  18. ^ "Schwarzwaldtårta - Per Morbergs recept | Recept från Kö". Kö Retrieved 28 August 2020.