This Black Forest Poke Cake is a light and moist chocolate cake that’s filled with yummy cherry pie filling! It’s then topped with homemade whipped cream, chocolate shavings and a big beautiful cherry to seal the deal!
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Ok I know we’re transitioning into the fall baking season, but I still wanted to share this Black Forest Poke Cake recipe with you all! And 1 or 2 S’mores desserts.
Alright, we’ve got a few more Summer recipes to get through before I start sharing the fall treats, though if you don’t wanna wait for the new fall recipes, check out the old ones!
If you don’t know what Black Forest is, it’s basically the combination of chocolate, cherries, whipped cream and chocolate shavings! Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? It is! But I was never a huge fan when I was younger because of the cherries.
Not because I dislike cherries, they’ve quickly become one of my favourite fruits (or “drupes” is apparently what they’re considered as now)! Anyways, my experience with Black Forest Cakes have always been those packaged grocery store cakes that had those disrespectful maraschino cherries on top.
I mean, I shouldn’t be talking because I’ve definitely used maraschino cherries in the past and will be using them again in the future. This is because they’re available all year long unlike real cherries, and what they lack in flavour, they make up for in appearance.
So when I ate the $10 cake straight from the grocery store refrigerator and was hit with the gross syrup-y taste of the maraschino cherries in between each layer, I decided black forest cakes weren’t for me.
But then I made these Black Forest Cheesecake Bars and oh my GOD!!!! The first attempt (in the photos) has maraschino cherries on top because I stupidly mistook them for cherry pie filling when purchased.
Thankfully I remade them for a friend after posting (she yelled at me for not sharing the first time. Could you blame me?) and I topped them with a good-quality cherry pie filling like I originally intended, and my mind was blown all over again!
I wanted to make another Black Forest dessert right away, but I didn’t want to make the actual layer cake yet so I went with the next best thing — a poke cake!
Black Forest Poke Cake
This is sort of a simplified version of the classic black forest layer cake with an easy, soft and moist chocolate cake filled with cherry pie filling and topped with homemade whipped cream.
This cake is such a great beginner level dessert and is perfect for potlucks, parties or just to snack on at home. One thing I love about it is that it’s not too sweet, because my grandmother, who HATES sweets, ate about 3-4 pieces herself and gave some away to friends and family who also raved about how light it was.
Chocolate Sheet Cake
The chocolate cake itself is the same recipe I used for this Football Surprise Sprinkle Sheet Cake, except this time we use regular unsweetened cocoa powder instead of black cocoa.
I used a hand mixer to make the batter, but you can use a stand mixer or a simple whisk to give your arm a small workout. To make the cake, combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, then combine the wet ingredients in a measuring cup or a separate bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine, then mix in the boiling water or hot coffee. So easy! To make sure the cake ends up as moist as possible, we”ll bake it at a lower temperature for a longer time. Once the cake is baked, let it cool completely then poke rows of holes.
You want the holes to be big enough for the cherries to fit in, so something like a wooden skewer won’t work. I have a rubber spatula with a wooden handle that has a rounded tip that was the perfect size to create the holes in the cake.
So look around your house for something to use, and if there’s no luck and you get super desperate, throw on some rubber gloves and use your index finger. Have I done that before? I’ll never tel—yes, yes I have.
Cherry Pie Filling
Everything except the cherry pie filling is made completely from scratch. The reason why I used canned cherry pie filling instead of making my own is because cherry season is over 🙁 .
The cherries you see in the photos are all that were left from the last bag of cherries in my house that my grandmother was eating for herself. And unfortunately I came up with the idea for this cake too late because I couldn’t buy more to make the filling from scratch, so I had to settle for store bought.
This isn’t really a bad thing actually, since cherry pie filling is pretty darn good. At least, the one I bought is. Plus this is supposed to be a quick and easy dessert anyone could throw together.
To fill the cake holes, I used a teaspoon to scoop out 1 or 2 cherries and just poured them in. You’ll most likely have some cherry pie filling leftover, so you could pour the rest on top after filling the holes, or you could spoon it on top of the whipped cream.
Whipped Cream Topping
Now you make the whipped cream. Three simple ingredients, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. This is a stabilized whipped cream, so we have to use quite a bit of powdered sugar to make the whipped cream stiff enough to pipe.
If you just want to spread the whipped cream on top, you can certainly use less powdered sugar. Add some chocolate shavings and a cherry and you’re done! Serve right away, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Remember not to leave it sitting out for too long or else the whipped topping will melt, which is what started happening to mine, as you can see.
Did you make this Black Forest Poke Cake? Let me know how they turned out in the comments below! And don’t forget to leave a rating!
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Let’s get baking!
- 2 cups All purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated Sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 3/4 cup Vegetable oil
- 2 large Eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup hot coffee or boiling water
Sweetened Whipped Cream:
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, shaved
- Cherries (optional)
For the Chocolate Cake:
- Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a whisk or hand mixer), sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until combined.
- In a measuring cup, combine the egg, vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla. While the mixer is on low, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the bowl. Increase speed to medium and mix until combined. Add boiling water OR hot coffee and mix until combined and smooth. Batter will be runny.
- Pour batter into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Sweetened Whipped Cream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the chilled cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until it reaches stiff peaks, about 4-5 minutes.
- Using a large wooden dowel, poke rows of holes into the top of the cake. Make sure the holes are big enough for a cherry to fit in.
- Spoon 1 or 2 cherries in the cherry pie filling into the holes. Spread whipped cream on top. You can reserve some top pipe swirls on top of each slice if you want.
- Garnish with shaved chocolate and top with a cherry or a maraschino cherry, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
- The entire cake can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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