Inspired by the decadent Black Forest cake, this crepe cake has the same flavours of the original in a different form. Black Forest crepe cake is made of layers of chocolate crepes filled with whipped cream and sour cherries in syrup. If you’re craving the German chocolate and cherry cake, here’s an alternative version you can make without using the oven!
A layered crepe cake
Fancy a layer cake but it’s too hot for the oven? Or maybe you just don’t own one where you live so you can’t possibily be making a layer cake? Think again! A crepe cake is a layer cake filled and covered with whatever frosting you fancy. The only difference is that instead of having layers of sponge cake, the filling goes in between layers of crepes!
The possibilities are really endless, and your crepe cake can be as customizable as you wish. Just tweak the crepe recipe to add a flavouring or colouring to match that of the sponge cake in whatever cake you are trying to replicate. I generally like to eat my crepes with a savoury filling, so I tend to make mine pretty neutral in taste. In this Black Forest crepe cake my crepes are imitating layers of chocolate sponge cake, so I added more sugar and obviously cocoa powder.
Black Forest cake
Black Forest cake takes its name from German cake Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Inspired by the German original, Black Forest cake is a chocolate cake filled with whipped cream and cherries, minus the kirschwasser spirit present in the German recipe. The combination of cherry sourness, chocolate bitterness and the sweetness of the cream is the cake’s signature flavour. Any chocolate-cherry-cream combination is a variation of the Black Forest theme. So is this Black Forest crepe cake.
The inspiration to make this crepe cake comes from a fellow food blogger, Anna Banana. I am a huge fan of her photography and tasteful styling. Every time I visit her blog – and it happens very often – I am always left inspired. So when I stumbled upon her strawberry crepe cake I felt like the time had come for me to make a crepe cake, at last.
In fact, her very post reminded me that the first cake I ever made was a crepe cake. One day when I was about 10 or 11, I was staying over at a friend’s summer house and I really really wanted to make a cake. Except, I didn’t know how to bake. But I knew how to make crepes. So I made a batch of crepes, stacked them spreading yoghurt in between layers, topped with some sprinkles, and here was my awesome cake! I have never made another one. Until I saw Anna’s crepe cake and I felt like maybe I should try and do it again.
Black Forest cake has been high on my list of cakes I want to bake at least once in my life. That list is long, and rather than crossing recipes off I keep adding more. So I figured, what if I made Black Forest crepe cake? The original seemed pretty suitable to turn into a crepe cake. So here, my friends, is my take at crepe cake. Flavour: Black Forest.
How to make Black Forest crepe cake
To make Black Forest crepe cake you need to work through three steps:
- Make the chocolate crepes;
- Whip the cream, mince the cherries and assemble the cake;
- Make the ganache and add the finishing touches.
I like to work in batches, so to make things easiest I made the crepes the day before (it was the night before, actually, but that’s because I thought that the perfect time to spend one hour at the stovetop was 23:00). When it was time to assemble my Black Forest crepe cake, I took care of the cream and cherries, and once the cake was setting in the fridge I made the ganache.
In this recipe I have used sour cherries in syrup. They are not the most popular preserve, but you can find them in stores. They are also known as amarena cherries from the name of one of the most popular commercial version on the market, Amarena Fabbri, the one sold in white and blue porcelain jars. Amarena actually means sour cherry in Italian, and preserving in syrup is one of the most popular ways to commercialize this little stone fruit. You can use candied cherries or even fresh ones if you can’t find amarena.
The chocolate crepes
To make the crepes you will need:
- 4 eggs
- 800 ml milk (I used rice milk)
- 150 g sugar
- 300 g flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 60 ml vegetable oil
Add all the ingredients to a blender jug and mix until homogeneous. If you don’t have a blender jug, just combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and use an immersion blender. I like to use a non-stick frying pan and the oil I add in my batter is enough not to need to grease the pan. However if you have a different pan and your crepe will not peel off when trying to flip it, you may need to grease your pan before adding the batter.
Warm a crepe pan or a skillet with a large bottom and once it’s really hot pour in a ladleful of crepe batter. Cook on medium-high heat until the top looks set and the edges of the crepe naturally peel off the pan (about 2 minutes). Gently slide a spatula under the crepe and flip it over. Cook the other side for just about a half minute. Repeat until all of the batter has been used.
Let crepes cool completely before moving on to the next step. I stacked mine on a plate and covered with cling film and kept in the fridge overnight. When the crepes are cool, you can choose to trim the edges to ensure they all are the same size. Find a plate the desired size, place it on top of every crepe and run a knife around the edges to trim them off. This is not an obigatory step, but helps achieve more regular edges to your cake.
Filling the cake
To make the cake filling, you need to combine:
- 500 ml whipping cream
- 100 g powdered sugar
and whip with a hand mixer to hard peaks. Along with the sweetened whipped cream, we are going to add our sour cherries in syrup. In regular Black Forest cake cherries are added whole or halved, but since here the layers are thin, we need to first mince our sour cherries.
Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on a crepe using an angled spatula, then add some minced cherries on top. I didn’t add much on every layer as I didn’t want to the cherries to have a dominant flavour, but you can definitely choose to add more if you love them a lot. Stack the next crepe on top and proceed working this way, until you either run out of cream or crepes. The number of layers you will have depends on the size of your crepes, which ultimately depends on the size of your pan. Just remember to have a thin layer of cream on each crepe – there will be many layers, so less is more.
Once you have added all the layers and topped the crepe cake with the last crepe, your Black Forest crepe cake needs to go into the fridge to set before adding the final touch. During this time you can prepare the ganache:
- 200 ml whipping cream
- 200 g dark chocolate chips
Warm the cream in a double boiler or in the microwave and when hot stir in the chocolate chips until dissolved. Let cool for a couple of minutes, then take the cake out of the fridge, place it over a rack, and pour the ganache in a slow stream allowing it to nicely pour over the edges of the top layer and down the sides of the cake.
Before the ganache hardens, add some cherries on the top. In this recipe I have used 200 g of sour cherries in syrup, drained. Half of them I have minced and added inside the cake, and the other half I have reserved as decoration. You can choose to have less on top and more inside, or just more overall. I did not use the syrup but you could drizzle some in between layers, too, for an extra cherry flavour. Be aware that this will stain the cream pink.
Serving and storage tips
This Black Forest crepe cake needs to set in the fridge for at least one hour before serving, to allow the ganache to harden. Cutting through the many layers of crepes can be challenging at warmer temperatures, so I recommend to always serve the cake straight out of the fridge for best results. Crepes are soft, but being quite elastic they create a slight resistance to the knife, especially if your cake ends up having many layers like mine did. The knife cuts more easily through a cold cake.
This cake keeps very well in the fridge. The ganache really helps to lock in the moisture, and being the crepes thin this cake will not get soggy after a couple of days. Keep it airtight and you can easily store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. The only thing that may not age so well is the ganache, as it may crack. This will not affect the flavour of the cake in any case.
I never thought that making a crepe cake could be so satisfying. And it’s so easy! Sure making the crepes is the most time-consuming task, and this is why I think it is a good idea to make them in advance. Assembling this Black Forest crepe cake is really fun. I love pouring ganache over a cake and letting it just drizzle down. If baking is therapeutic, the ganache business is the cherry on the cake of my therapy. Well, quite literally in this case, right?
Did you ever make a crepe cake? What flavour should I try next? Let me know in the comments!
Black Forest crepe cake
A crepe cake made with the flavours inspired by Black Forest cake. Chocolate crepes are filled with whipped cream and minced cherry, and a lush dark chocolate ganache and more cherries on the top finish off this Black Forest crepe cake.
- 4 eggs
- 800 ml milk
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 300 g flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 60 ml vegetable oil (rapeseed)
- 700 ml whipping cream divided
- 100 g powdered sugar
- 200 g dark chocolate chips
- 200 g sour cherries in syrup drained
Combine the eggs, flour, milk, granulated sugar, cocoa powder and vegetable oil in a blender and mix until homogeneous.
Warm a crepe pan and when hot pour in a ladleful of crepe batter. Cook on medium-high heat until the top looks set and the edges of the crepe naturally peel off the pan (about 2 minutes). Gently slide a spatula under the crepe and flip it over. Cook the other side for just about a half minute. Repeat until all of the batter has been used.
Let crepes cool completely before moving on to the next step. If making ahead, stack them on a plate, cover with cling film and keep refrigerated.
Optionally you can trim the edges of the crepes. Find a plate the desired size, place it on top of each crepe and run a knife around the edges. This is not an obigatory step, but helps achieve more regular edges to your cake.
Combine 500 ml of whipping cream with the powdered sugar and whip to hard peaks.
Finely mince about half of the drained sour cherries.
Place a crepe on a cake stand. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on a crepe using an angled spatula, then add some minced cherries on top. Stack the next crepe on top and proceed working this way. Remember that the last crepe should have no frosting over it.
Place the cake in the fridge to set as you prepare the ganache.
Warm the remaining cream in a double boiler or in the microwave. When hot stir in the chocolate chips until dissolved. Let cool for a couple of minutes.
Take the cake out of the fridge and place it over a rack. Pour the ganache in a slow stream allowing it to pour over the edges of the top layer and down the sides of the cake.
Before the ganache hardens, add remaining cherries on the top as decoration. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.
Sour cherry syrup is discarded in this recipe, but you may choose to drizzle some in between layers. Be aware that doing so will stain the cream pink.
I like to use a non-stick frying pan and the oil I add in my batter is enough not to need to grease the pan. However if you have a different pan and your crepe will not peel off when trying to flip it, you may need to grease your pan before adding the batter.
The number of layers in your cake depends on the amount of crepes you made, which ultimately depends on the size of the pan used. You may run out of cream or crepes when assembling your cake because of these factors. The amounts in this recipe should yield a cake with 12-16 layers (mine had 14) if using a standard size pan.