It’s almost that time of year again. The time of year when you have absolutely no idea what to bring to your holiday party. Well, let me introduce you to your new favorite party dessert.

When people think of sheet cakes, most might think of cheap grocery store cakes (which I happen to love), but you can class up a sheet cake pretty easily. Also, sheet cakes just make sense when you’re feeding a crowd. They are easy to transport and people can cut a piece according to how hungry they are. For this black forest sheet cake, I recommend cutting large pieces.

The chocolate cake layer for this sheet cake is pretty standard, but easy to make. You don’t need a stand mixer or anything. Then I like to add a lot of cherries cooked down with some bourbon. Top that all with a big thick layer of whipped cream and you’re in business!

Black Forest Sheet Cake

5 from 2 votes
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Rich (but easy to make) chocolate sheet cake topped with loads of sweet cherries, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate.



Chocolate Sheet Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 24 ounces frozen cherries, thawed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon, opt.

Whipping Cream:

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Shaved Chocolate, garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in cocoa powder. When butter is melted, stir in boiling water and let bubble for a few minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and baking soda.
  • Pour chocolate mixture into flour mixture and whisk together. Then stir in the buttermilk and eggs mixture. Mix until batter is smooth and then pour into a 12×12 or similar sized sheet pan.
  • Bake sheet cake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until a tester comes out clean from the center. If you use a different sized baking sheet, your baking time might change.
  • Meanwhile, combine cherries, sugar, and bourbon in a pot over low heat. Once sugar is dissolved and cherries are steaming, remove from heat and let cool.
  • When cake is done, spoon cherry mixture over the top of the cake. Let the cake cool to room temperature before adding whipped cream.
  • Whisk together whipped cream with vanilla and sugar and spread evenly over cooled chocolate cake. Garnish with shaved chocolate.


Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe from a Food Network recipe.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 1149IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American

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Black Forest Sheet Cake

The base of this sheet cake is simple. It starts by melting butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder and then add a cup of boiling water.

Pour that into the dry ingredients.

Black Forest Sheet Cake batter
Chocolate time.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla and then whisk that mixture into the chocolate mixture.

Black Forest Sheet Cake batter
More batter stuff.

The finished batter should be on the runny side.

Black Forest Sheet Cake batter
Easy to mix up.

The nice thing about a sheet cake like this is you can use a lot of different pans to bake it in. It’s a fairly big recipe though. I use a square 12×12 baking dish I have. At the end of the day, if you use something smaller (like a 9×11) it’ll be really thick and you’ll need to bake it longer. I recommend using something larger than a 9×11 if you can.

Black Forest Sheet Cake baking
Ready to bake!

Depending on the size of your sheet pan, you’ll want to bake this for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Finishing the Cake

Okay. Let’s talk black forest. For some reason black forest = cherries. It’s a mystery, but one that I love.

You can absolutely just use pitted frozen cherries for this and you need a bunch of them. Cook them down a bit with some sugar and a little bourbon (optional, but good). You don’t want to cook the cherries down too much. When the sugar is dissolved and the cherries are steaming they are probably ready to go.

Black Forest Sheet Cake cherries
So good.

When your cake is done baking, spoon the cherries and the liquid over the cake. It might look like a lot of liquid but spread out over the whole cake it’ll be perfect.

Black Forest Sheet Cake cherries
Soak it in.

Unfortunately, you need to let this cool before you can add the whipped cream layer. It should be at least room temperature, but I recommend just sticking it in the fridge for a few hours to really cool off.

Then whip your whipped cream with some vanilla and sugar and spread it on evenly.

Black Forest Sheet Cake whipped cream.
Lots of whipped cream.

A good, healthy dusting of shaved chocolate and you’re in business!

I dropped this cake off at Betsy’s office and it was gone immediately. It’s a sure-fire office party winner.

Black Forest Sheet Cake: Rich (but easy to make) chocolate sheet cake topped with loads of sweet cherries, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate. The nice thing about sheet cake is you can cut as big of a piece as you want! |
Black Forest Sheet Cake: Rich (but easy to make) chocolate sheet cake topped with loads of sweet cherries, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate. The nice thing about sheet cake is you can cut as big of a piece as you want! |