These Black Forest Mini Cakes are covered with a full layer of chocolate curls, then topped with a whipped cream rosette and a shiny fresh cherry. Elegant, gorgeous, and completely irresistible!

Black Forest Mini Cakes | From

It’s time to come clean about some big life changes happening behind the SugarHero scenes. If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that next month, my family and I will be moving to Utah.
*pauses for dramatic effect*
*wipes single tear from eye*
*takes bracing bite of chocolate*

There’s a long background to this move, but the short version is that my husband Jason got a great job offer at a wonderful school in Sandy, so come August, this California girl will be packing up her many (many) kitchen gadgets and trading the ocean for mountain views.

To say I have mixed feelings is an understatement. I’m so excited for Jason to be able to work at a job he loves, and in many ways, I think this move will be good for our family. It will be nice to live somewhere where we can afford a house without first acquiring and then killing off a rich uncle. I’m excited to find out if I like skiing. (Can you believe I’ve never been?) And we’ll be much closer to family, which is something I’ve missed dearly.

However, California has been my home all my life, and we’ve lived in LA for our whole marriage. It’s where we grew into each other, and it’s been the backdrop for all of our adventures and friendships and date nights. From paddleboarding in the ocean to long training runs in Griffith Park to finding the best fusion burritos in Silver Lake, we’ve made this city our home, and I already miss it terribly. I’ve even been getting nostalgic about all the gross tourist traps and rage-inducing traffic. (Oh, 405/101 interchange, I think I’ll miss you most of all!)

Black Forest Mini Cakes | From
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Last month we drove from LA up to San Francisco for a friend’s wedding. This is a drive I did dozens of times in college, driving from school back up to my parent’s house. Back then, it was just a matter of getting from point A to point B, a few boring hours in the car, listening to music to stay awake and trying not to breathe in the cow smell of Highway 5. This time, though, it was tinged with nostalgia as I realized that it might be my last time driving through the Grapevine, my last time seeing the San Juan Reservoir, my last time smelling those stinky cows. (I never knew I would feel so strongly about the stench of manure.)

As much as I’d like to talk on and on about cow dung on my dessert blog, the point I’m getting at is that on this last road trip, we passed lots of roadside farm stands selling fresh berries, peaches, and cherries. Whenever we got bored, we’d pull over, hop out of the car, and sample some fruit, warm and sticky from the sun. We bought flats of berries and pounds and pounds of ripe cherries.

Black Forest Mini Cakes | From

Once we got home, I knew that I had to create a dessert with some of these cherries, a sort of farewell-to-California last hurrah. (And yes, I know they have cherries in Utah…but let a girl mope awhile, would ya?) I came up with these Black Forest Mini Cakes—three layers of moist chocolate cake, brushed with kirsch syrup and filled with chopped cherries and chocolate pastry cream.

Black Forest Mini Cakes | From

This isn’t my first time at the mini cake rodeo. (Exhibits one, two, three, and four.) They’re a little more work than making one big cake, but for presentation, the sight of a tiny layer cake, a complete single serving dressed to impress, just can’t be beat.

Black Forest Mini Cakes | From

Each cake was covered with a full layer of chocolate curls that I made by hand, using a big block of chocolate and a vegetable peeler. Topped with a whipped cream rosette and a shiny fresh cherry, they were elegant, gorgeous, and completely irresistible.

If you don’t have fresh cherries, you can swap in raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries—any fresh berry-ish fruit should work! The pastry cream keeps them really moist, so they can last for days in the fridge and still taste fresh when you’re ready to serve them.

Black Forest Mini Cakes | From

Although we’re still so sad to say goodbye to our home here, these mini cakes are helping to make the transition a little…wait for it…sweeter. Ba-dum-ching!

Close-up of mini cake with pink strawberry buttercream, a chocolate drip, and a large chocolate strawberry on top.

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2 Chocolate Raspberry Mini Crepe Cakes on gold edged plates next to gold forks.

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Close up of black forest mini cake with hand placing cherry on top and additional mini cakes in the background.

Black Forest Mini Cakes

5 from 3 votes
These Black Forest Mini Cakes are covered with a full layer of chocolate curls, then topped with a whipped cream rosette and a shiny fresh cherry. Elegant, gorgeous, and completely irresistible!
Prep2 hours
Cook15 minutes
Total2 hours 15 minutes


For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 6 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4.75 oz granulated sugar, (2/3 cup)
  • 5 oz brown sugar, (2/3 cup), packed
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz buttermilk, (1 cup), at room temperature
  • 4 oz sour cream, (1/2 cup), at room temperature
  • 2 TBSP water , or brewed coffee
  • 7.8 oz all-purpose flour, (1¾ cups)
  • 3 oz unsweetened cocoa powder, (1 cup), sifted
  • tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt

For the Kirsch Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBSP kirsch , or 1-2 tsp cherry extract

For the Chocolate Pastry Cream:

To Assemble:

  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, in one large block, for chocolate shavings
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream , or whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz cherries, fresh, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 7 fresh cherries with stems
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To Make the Chocolate Cake:

  • Line a 13×18-inch baking sheet with parchment and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Add the butter and both sugars to the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix it in.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and water (or coffee, if using). In a different bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer running on low, add a quarter of the sifted flour mixture. When the flour streaks have almost all disappeared, add a third of the liquid to the mixing bowl. When that’s incorporated, continue to add the drys and wets in an alternating pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.
  • When the dry ingredients are nearly incorporated, stop the mixer. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and finish mixing the cake by hand. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet, and spread it into a thin layer. Bake the cake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool the cake completely before using.
  • The cake can be made several days in advance and kept, well-wrapped and refrigerated or frozen, until ready to use.

To Make the Kirsch Syrup:

  • Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir while the sugar dissolves. Bring the liquid to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Let it cool to room temperature, then stir in the kirsch or cherry extract. Syrup can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To Make the Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup of sugar. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Heat the milk over a medium burner until it just starts to boil. Start whisking the egg mixture, and while you’re whisking, drizzle a little hot milk into the eggs. Continue to whisk and drizzle until you’ve added about half of the milk. Switch to whisking them milk, then pour the eggs into the milk mixture while whisking.
  • Return the pan to the burner and heat the cream, whisking constantly. Use a rubber spatula to periodically scrape the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t scorch. Cook until the pastry cream thickens and starts a very gentle bubbling, then cook for about 2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the melted chocolate, whisking it until it’s incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Finally, add the vanilla extract and butter and whisk them in.
  • Pour the cream through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl. It will be somewhat thick, so use a spatula to help work it through, straining out any clumps of egg that have developed. Press a layer of cling wrap directly on top of the pastry cream, and refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 2 hours.

To Assemble:

  • First, make the chocolate shavings for the decorations. Hold the chocolate block in one hand, and scrape a vegetable peeler down the side with the other hand to make thin chocolate curls. Repeat until you’ve turned the whole chocolate block into shavings.
  • Combine the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla, and whip on medium-high speed until it holds firm peaks. Set aside 1/2 cup of the cream in the refrigerator, and gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the chocolate pastry cream.
  • Use a 3-inch cutter to cut 21 rounds out of the sheet cake. In order to get them all to fit, some of them may not be perfectly round—that’s okay, it will all be covered up eventually! Cut 7 small circles of cardboard to the same size as the 3-inch cutter.
  • Place a cake round on a cardboard circle. Brush the top with some kirsch syrup. Spread a thin layer of pastry cream on top of the cake, and sprinkle the top with a layer of chopped cherries. Add a second cake layer, and repeat the process of Kirsch syrup, pastry cream, and cherries. Add a third cake layer on top, and spread a very thin layer of pastry cream on the sides and top of the cake, to lock the crumbs in. Refrigerate the cake while you assemble the rest of them in the same way. Let the assembled cakes chill for 20-30 minutes, to get them a little firmer before finishing them.
  • Once the mini cakes have firmed up a bit, add a second, thicker layer of chocolate pastry cream on the sides and top of the cake. Press chocolate shavings all over the top and sides. One all of the cakes are assembled, pipe a swirl of whipped cream on top of each, and finish with a fresh cherry on top. If not serving immediately, keep the cakes in the refrigerator until shortly before serving. They do keep well, so they can be made a day or two in advance.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?


Serving: 14g | Calories: 665kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 372mg | Potassium: 435mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 995IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 3.8mg
Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and hashtag it #SugarHero. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @elabau.
Collage of 4 different Valentine's Day cake pictures.


Check out our collection of the 27 best Valentine’s Day cake ideas — click here to get all the recipes!

Meet Elizabeth!

Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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  1. A huge congrats to your husband and best of luck with the move, Elizabeth! Adventure (and a bigger house) awaits!

    P.S. Gorgeous cake, per usual!

  2. Hi! I want to make this for my boyfriend for valentine’s day. Black forest is his favorite! This recipe looks better than all the others I’ve looked at, both aesthetically and taste-wise. I have little to no cake experience, however (and a lack of baking supplies). How did you cut the little rounds out of the sheet cake? With a serrated knife? If I wanted to bake this in traditional 9″ cake pans, would I need to change the recipe? I also have tiny 4″ springform pans that I thought about making tiny cakes out of, but I’m assuming the recipe would also have to be changed for that. I’m a little in over my head but this looks incredible! Thanks for your advice!

    1. Hi Katie! Deep breaths–this is going to work out great. 🙂 I used a round cutter to cut out the sheet cake. I have a set of circular cutters of all different sizes that look like this:
      And I used a 3-inch cutter. If you don’t have a cutter you definitely can do the trace-around-a-bowl-or-cup-with-a-knife route, it just takes longer. You can also bake in 4″ springform pans, that should work great. This recipe also works as 9–inch cakes, I’ve done that frequently. You can bake it in 2 or 3 9-inch pans, depending on how thick you want the layers to be. Time ranges anywhere from 25 minutes for thinner cake layers to 30-35 minutes.
      Good luck! Your boyfriend is one lucky guy. Feel free to email if you have more questions, and I’d love to see a pic of the finished product!

  3. I was trying to look for a different black forest cake recipe and stumbled on your blog. The picture attracted me to it. I have been making this cake for my husband as it has been his favourite ever since. I wanted to try yours but find the long and extensive steps intimidating. Hopefully someday I’ll have the courage and the time to tackle it. Just want to drop you a note to let you know I enjoyed reading your blog. Wishing you the best on your move!

    1. Thank you so much!! And it looks intimidating, but I promise it’s not! I’d love to hear how it goes and if you like it if you ever get around to trying it! You seem to be a bit of a Black Forest Cake expert with all that cooking 😉 Thanks for the comment!!

  4. Hi just saw your recipe for Black Forest mini cakes and cannot wait to bake them! The recipe looks amazing. It’s cherry time here in Australia so the timing couldn’t be better, I’ll let you know how it all goes, regards

  5. The recipe says it serves 14, but you only are cutting out 7 rounds of cardboard and 21 3” cake circles . So if it’s 3 layers high it seems it would only serve 7 hence the 7 cardboard circles. Am I not understanding correctly?

    1. Hi! I’m so sorry for the confusion! these mini cakes are quite large (the equivalent of two slices of cake) so I think it could serve 14 people! I will add a note right now to clarify!

      1. I was confused about the 14 servings, the 7 cardboard rounds and which is the actual calorie count! :-). Making a version of these for my hubbie’s b-day tomorrow. From the comments it seems like a lot of men like chocolate and cherries! Thanks, too, for the different pan suggestions. With just the two of us I’m severely cutting down the amounts. Maybe if I cut it in half and make just one 9” cake that I can cut into layers it would world out well.

        1. Hey Janet, sorry for the confusion each mini cake could feed two. I should probably fix that in the post. Happy Birthday to your husband! I hope he enjoyed the cake! Thank you so much!

      2. I was confused about the 14 servings, the 7 cardboard rounds and which is the actual calorie count! :-). Making a version of these for my hubbie’s b-day tomorrow. From the comments it seems like a lot of men like chocolate and cherries! Thanks, too, for the different pan suggestions. With just the two of us I’m severely cutting down the amounts. Maybe if I cut it in half and make just one 9” cake that I can cut into layers it would work out well.

    1. What a great idea! I would say it would make closer to 20 cupcakes, because there is not the cake scrap issue!

    1. Hey Carol, because it is a soft frosting they tend to stick pretty easily. You wont need a lot of force, some will break but it will still be great! Thanks!

  6. I’d like to make this but fresh cherries are out of season. I find two choices in canned – red, tart in water or dark, sweet in heavy syrup. Do you have a recommendation?

    1. Tough one! I love tart cherries but I think they’d be too much in this recipe-they’re really best in pies when you can add a bunch of sugar to sweeten them. 🙂 I’d do the sweet cherries and drain them well from the syrup.