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Black Forest Cake in a Jar

One of Germany's most iconic desserts gets the paleo treatment--in mason jars!

Black Forest Cake in a Jar

For the printable recipe click here.

A cake of many names

Whether you call it black forest cake, black forest gateau, or the German Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, which (according to Wikipedia) literally means Black Forest Cherry Torte, you're sure to call this German layer cake delicious.

If the word kirschtorte makes you want a cocktail, that is for good reason! One of Germany's Black Forest region's main exports is Kirschwasser (also simply called Kirsch), a type of brandy made from the juice of the morello cherries that are so prevalent in the area.

A Kirsch-less version

While a truly authentic Black Forest cake recipe would include include Kirsch, you won't have to run to the liquor store for cherry brandy to make this paleo recipe.

But don't worry! Like a traditional Black Forest gateau, this easy black forest cake recipe contains plenty of juicy cherries in its slightly sour, slightly sweet cherry filling.

Sweet or tart?

Recipes vary on the use of sweet cherries or tart cherries. Some recipes call for fresh cherries, cherry pie filling, jarred maraschino cherries, or cherry jam. Even from there, the jam could be made from sweet cherries or sour cherries--so many varieties!

I am going to go out on a limb and assume the most authentic cherries to use would be tart Morello cherries from the Black Forest region of Germany.

But for our purposes in this recipe, we are going to make things easy. Our sweet-tart filling relies on frozen pitted sweet cherries (I get mine from Costco), with a splash of sour from unsweetened tart cherry juice, a little boost of sweet from maple syrup, and a good dose of almond extract to enhance all that cherry flavor. The result is more of a compote than a jam, with chunks of juicy cherries in a sweet-tart cherry syrup.

Filling starts with frozen cherries.

A little bit of tapioca starch gets mixed with a portion of the cooked-down cherries and mixed back in to thicken this incredible cherry sauce.

tapioca starch gets mixed with a portion of the cooked-down cherries to thicken the mixture.

This cornstarch mixture is mixed back into the cherry sauce

The cake

While there is plenty of potential for variety when it comes to the moist cherries, the cake itself is always chocolate.

For our paleo chocolate cake, we whisk up a simple batter that starts on the stovetop with coconut oil, maple syrup, and chocolate chips.

Quick note on the chocolate: paleo chocolate brands do exist, but if those are too difficult to find or too hard on the budget, just try to find one that is free of dairy, soy, and artificial flavors. Or whatever chocolate chips you have in your pantry--no judgment here.

Next, lots of eggs get beaten in with a wire whisk one at a time to the hot chocolate mixture, whisking well to incorporate air each time, lightening the batter just a bit before adding a simple grain-free dry mixture of almond flour, potato starch, and baking powder.

The batter gets baked in a parchment-lined, rimmed sheet pan, resulting in a soft sponge that can be easily turned out after cooling to room temperature--no need for multiple cake pans! The cake can be made the day before, wrapped well in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature, if desired.

Paleo chocolate cake baked in rimmed half-sheet pan

The whipped coconut cream

Some Black Forest Cake recipes call for a buttercream or cream cheese frosting, but whipped cream frosting is the most ubiquitous.

For this dairy free Black Forest cake recipe, we will rely on coconut cream instead of the traditional heavy whipping cream.

If you need to push an easy button, grab yourself a tub of So Delicious whipped coconut topping. It's not strictly paleo, but it's pretty innocent.

However, if you're ready to whip up your own coconut cream topping, here's what you need to know:

  • Coconut cream usually comes in two sizes: 13.5 oz cans or 5.4 oz cans.

  • Despite negligible differences in nutrition info on the can, coconut cream has more fat and less water than the same sized can of coconut milk. If you use a can of coconut milk, it will be very important to thoroughly chill it ahead of time so that the fat clumps together at the top of the can, making it easier to spoon it out without taking excess water along for the ride. Adding the coconut water will make the cream too liquid to whip well. Also, due to the lower percentage of cream in the can, you will likely need two cans instead of one.

  • Whipping will work best with a cold bowl, cold coconut cream, and an electric mixer with a cold balloon whisk attachment.

  • Whip the cream to soft peaks with either maple syrup (the stricter paleo choice) or organic powdered sugar (which helps a little more with thickening and stability). I use 1 T, but you could use more to taste.

  • Add a little vanilla extract or powder for flavor, and you're good to go!

Whipped coconut cream

Even with the peaks shown above, your whipped cream will probably not be stiff enough to pipe well. If you want to achieve the look below, you will need to ensure your whipped coconut cream is stiff enough to be piped by making it the day before and chilling it overnight in the fridge. When you are ready to use it, simply transfer it to a piping bag--no re-whipping necessary!

Black Forest Cake in a Jar with piped whipped coconut cream

Black Forest cake in a jar

So here's where we veer aesthetically from traditional Black Forest cake: we're gonna layer this cake in mason jars!

There are a couple of reasons why capitalizing on mason-jar mania is a great idea here.

1. The presentation is cute, fun, a little bit of a Southern spin, and perfect for when you want individual cakes for guests (or portion control for you, haha). This recipe makes 6 servings, plus scraps for munching monsters.

2. With the super-soft whipped coconut cream and slippery cherry filling, by the time the third layer of cake is applied to a standard layer cake structure, the fillings are are flooding out the sides like a natural disaster just hit. Rather than having to let the cake set up in the fridge or freezer between placing each layer, we'll just build this thing in jars!

Eight-ounce mason jars with standard openings are the perfect size for three layers of delicious chocolate sponge cake, syrupy sweet-tart cherries, and creamy coconut topping.

To cut perfectly-sized layers of the baked cake, turn it out onto plastic wrap or a clean kitchen counter, and use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter/round cookie cutter to cut circles.

A 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter makes perfect rounds for the jar

The cake circles need just a little push through the jar opening to the bottom of each jar; then they are ready for adornment!

Top each layer of cake with a dollop (about 1 T) of the cherry filling, followed by a similar-sized dollop of the whipped coconut cream. Repeat with two more layers of cake, cherries, and cream. Repeat with remaining jars--this could be a super-fun assembly line to get the whole family involved in!

If you want to get extra fancy, drizzle small amounts of dark chocolate ganache or plain melted chocolate over the top of each jarred cake, or go more simple with chocolate shavings or a little sifting of natural cocoa powder. If you want to take things way over the top, you put melted chocolate into a piping bag, pipe it onto parchment paper and let it set to form chocolate decorations to stick in the top of each jar before serving.

Black Forest Cake in  a Jar with piped whipped coconut cream

With soft layers of chocolate cake, sweet and sour cherry filling, and creamy whipped topping, this Black Forest cake in a jar is the perfect way to end your paleo Oktoberfest celebration--or any dinner for that matter!

Here's what you'll need:

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1 cup maple syrup

  • 3/4 tsp fine salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 7 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 cup potato starch

  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the cherry filling

  • 3 cups frozen cherries

  • 1/4 unsweetened tart cherry juice

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

  • 1 T tapioca starch

For the whipped coconut cream

  • 1 (13.5 oz) can cold coconut cream

  • 1 T maple syrup or organic powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Black Forest Cake in a Jar. Gluten Free. Dairy Free.

Here's what you'll do:

  1. To make the cake: Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a greased, rimmed baking sheet/ half sheet pan (18 x 13 x 1") with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper as well. The parchment paper can extend an inch or two over the sides of the pan.

  2. In a medium-sized pot or saucepan over medium heat, melt together the coconut oil, maple syrup, chocolate chips, and salt, whisking occasionally to combine, just until chocolate chips are melted.

  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the almond flour, potato starch, and baking powder. Set aside.

  4. Off the heat, add the vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture. Then whisk in the eggs one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Thoroughly whisk in the dry ingredients, and pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan.

  5. Bake the cake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool to room temperature in the pan.

  6. While the cake is cooling, make the cherry filling: Place the frozen cherries, tart cherry juice, maple syrup, and pinch of salt in a clean saucepan (feel free to rinse out and use the one you used for the batter). Cover and cook over medium-to-med-high heat about 10 minutes, or until the cherries have thawed.

  7. Uncover and cook an additional 10 minutes, using a wire whisk to both stir and smash the cherries almost constantly. Off the heat, whisk in the almond extract.

  8. In a small bowl or cup, whisk together 1 T of the cherry mixture with 1 T tapioca starch until smooth. Whisk the tapioca mixture back into the cherry mixture.

  9. Make the whipped coconut cream: place the coconut cream in the bowl of an electric mixer, transferring as little of the coconut water to the bowl as possible.

  10. Beat the coconut cream with the balloon whisk attachment until it just begins to look like whipped cream. Add the maple syrup or organic powdered sugar, beating till fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.

  11. To assemble: quickly and carefully flip the cooled cake onto a clean kitchen counter or a counter lined with plastic wrap. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out rounds for your cake layers--3 per jar.

  12. Gently push one cake layer down into the bottom of a jar. Top with a dollop of cherry filling and a dollop of whipped coconut cream. Repeat with remaining layers and remaining jars.

  13. If desired, dust the tops with cocoa powder, sprinkle on shaved chocolate, or drizzle with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache.

pumpkin pie spice

For the printable recipe click here.

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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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