I’ve been making some simple desserts lately, nothing that requires a hot oven, or a lot of effort. But I recently made this super syrupy cherry jam, and as soon as I tasted it, I knew it would be the perfect addition to a gluten-free black forest cake.
I was right.
(I often am when it comes to food; maybe not so much everything else, but food? Absolutely.)
I am not going to lie. This cake takes a bit of effort. There are several steps to create a few of the ingredients like the cherry filling, the dark chocolate cakes and shavings, and of course, the stabilized whip cream. (I use a secret ingredient to make it extra special)
All I can say is that it is worth the effort since the black forest cake is as good as it looks.
A showstopping black forest cake
This cake is not a traditional black forest cake recipe, but you know what, let’s call it close enough.
It’s low carb, sugar-free and gluten-free. The carbs are a bit high in this recipe to consider it keto. At 7.4 carbs per slice, it’s a “treat.”
If you used a different filling, like raspberry, or even strawberry, it would cut down the carbs enough to consider it a keto treat. It wouldn’t be a black forest cake, but who cares, close enough.
What sweeteners work best in this recipe?
Use your favorite 1:1 sugar substitute.
Powered is preferred over granular, as it blends better and has a more delicate texture. Erythritol and xylitol also tend to get grainy when cold, but I found the powdered versions to do it much less.
If you don’t have powdered erythritol or xylitol and only have granular, go ahead and give it a blast with a high-speed blender or food processor. My favorite powdered sweetener by far is So Nourished Monk Fruit Blend; I find it has almost no aftertaste at all.
Swerve, Truvia, and stevia will work perfectly fine here as well as does any powdered erythritol or xylitol brand.
Allulose will also work great in this recipe. I highly recommend allulose if you make your cherry pie filling for this recipe. It creates the BEST sticky syrupy texture.
** Remember, xylitol is poisonous to dogs and cats, so if that’s your choice and you have little furry friends running around, be aware that it can be deadly for them.**
a bit about the chocolate shavings
Chocolate shavings add a lot of additional flavor to this cake.
I used lily’s dark chocolate chips for this recipe, and melted them down and poured the chocolate over my marble pastry board to harden. Once the chocolate was no longer glossy and seemed a bit firm to the touch, I used a pastry scraper and just scraped the chocolate off the board. This created ribbons and flakes.
If you happen to have a low carb chocolate bar, it is FAR easier to grate the chocolate. I didn’t have a bar kicking around, so I used the melt and scrape method.
A bit about the chocolate cakes (tips and tricks)
- So this batter feels off when you make it. It feels like there isn’t enough liquid, and the mixture is almost too thick to spread around. That’s ok; it’s supposed to be that way. The chocolate cakes bake up perfectly, stay super moist, but hold together. This recipe is very similar to my cheesecake filled chocolate bundt cake. It’s also a great little showstopping dessert!
- Make sure you grease your cake pans well. A circle of parchment on the bottom works great to ensure the cakes do not stick. I also use a bit of cocoa powder to sprinkle around (instead of flour or even almond flour) inside the pans.
- To spread the batter evenly, use the back of a wet spoon. Push the mixture into the cake pan walls and try to level out to the top. An offset spatula works very well.
- I used three 6-inch cake pans (for pretty photos), but two 8-inch cake pans work perfectly well for this recipe. Do not feel you need to use the 6-inch pans.
- I would not skip the xanthan gum; it does a lot to help with the structure and texture in this gluten-free cake recipe.
(for the sake of a photo I made a hell of a mess.)
Low carb Cherry jam filling (you have three options)
You have several options with the cherry filling.
- You can make your cherry filling from scratch. I am big into having a pantry filled with stable shelf staples where I control the ingredients and the level of sweetness. I make my jams, so when I want to make desserts like this, I can pull a jar out of the cupboard. If you check out my cherry jam recipe, you will see my trick to getting perfectly gelled stable shelf jams that taste just like regular jam.
- You can also use commercially no sugar added or low carb jams. Just be mindful that these jams have different nutritional values, and you will need to verify the carb counts if you use premade jam.
- Probably the easiest – cook down cherries on the stove with a bit of sweetener until it naturally gels and thickens.
I’ve added nutritional information for the 3rd option to the recipe.
ARE CHERRIES CONSIDERED KETO-FRIENDLY AND LOW CARB?
Cherries are somewhat low carb. One-half cup of sweet frozen cherries has 8.2 net carbs.
So not so keto-friendly, but they may fit into your moderate low carb plan.
But spread a cup of cherries over an entire recipe, and it’s not so bad. For this recipe, a few cherries won’t throw the carb count out the window.
For keto, you may want to limit how many fresh cherries you pop on top. Instead of filling the top of the cake, add 6-8 around the cake’s outside rim for presentation.
How to make the low carb stabilized whipped cream
We use heavy whip cream in this recipe, but I find the cakes are heavy (dense and delicious!). Whip cream without a bit of structure tends to get forced out.
If you are serving up your black forest cake right away, use regular whip cream if you are going to store the cake in the fridge for any amount of time I recommend adding a bit of cream cheese. It makes the whipped cream thicker, almost cheesecake-like (ok, who can complain about that!), and works well with that cherry filling.
I’ve added the cream cheese to the recipe nutritional value, but if you want to skip it, you can use fresh whip cream with a bit of sweetener and vanilla.
Storage & Serving Suggestions for your black forest cake
You can make the chocolate cakes and cherry filling in advance.
You can freeze the chocolate cakes for up to a month before you use them. Defrost them in the refrigerator overnight for assembly the next day.
You can make shelf-stable cherry jam that will store for up to a year in your cupboard. I love having these jams and filling on hand for recipes like this because it skips a step and saves a lot of time.
Assemble the day you plan on serving it. The cake can store in the fridge for up to 3 days. After that, it starts to get too soggy.
A pretty cake stand and some fresh cherries on the top of the cake makes for a beautiful presentation.
I hope you enjoy it!
- 1 cup fresh pitted cherries
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbs powdered erythritol
Chocolate Cake Batter
- 3/4 cup butter (or coconut oil)
- 6 large eggs
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla
- 1.5 cups powdered erythritol
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese (1 cup)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup powdered erythritol
- 3 Tbsp Chocolate Shavings (I used Lily's, see post for details)
- Add cherries, water, and sweetener into a small saucepan. Cook on med heat until cherries soften and cook down into a thick spread.
- Cool completely.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Whip 8 ounces of cold full-fat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip until cream cheese softens slightly.
- Add 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and sweetener to the cream cheese and blend slowly until mixed in well. Whip on high until peaks form and whip cream is spreadable.
- Do not over whip.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and dust two 8-inch cake pans. Make sure you grease your pan very well. Add a round of parchment paper to the bottom to ensure the cakes do not stick.
- In a bowl whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter and powdered erythritol until the mixture is creamy and well blended. With the mixture on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, waiting for the first to be blended before adding the next.
- Once the eggs are blended, add almond milk, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar.
- In small batches mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over blend.
- The batter will be thick and difficult to spread, try to spread it around the bottom of the cake pans evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Cool in the cake pans for 10 minutes before inverting on a cooling rack.
- Once the cakes are cooled, layer whip cream, chocolate shavings and cherry filling evenly between the cake layers and top.
- Drizzle any leftover cherry filling over the top and sides of the assembled cake.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 407 Total Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 15g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 16g Cholesterol: 147mg Sodium: 318mg Carbohydrates: 13.7g Net Carbohydrates: 7.4g Fiber: 6.3g Sugar: 3.8g Sugar Alcohols: 12g Protein: 12g