Bourbon Black Forest Cake

I was recently scrolling through cake pictures on Instagram...

...and I was struck by some glitter cherries done by SheriWilson – you NEED to check out her Instagram feed if you haven’t already! Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make a cherry cake since, and finding some AMAZING Pacific Northwest cherries at my local grocery store was alllll the excuse I needed!

I bought the glitter and the sprinkles from Heaven’s Sweetness Shop – shopping and checkout from their store was super easy, the items shipped quickly and arrived in perfect condition. Would recommend!
(I did realize later I could’ve gotten a slightly better price with my Amazon Prime membership for the gold glitter – options!  

Wanting to do a slightly-dressed-up Black Forest Cake, I tossed in some bourbon when I made the cake layers and the cherry filling, and also added a bit to the frosting. It’s not overwhelming but a great flavor addition to an already amazing flavor combo! Recipe below!

(Disclosure: As a way to keep my kitchen stocked with butter, sugar, and flour I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to and affiliated sites.
My posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

Bourbon Black Forest Cake Layers: 
This is modified version of my favorite Chocolate Cake recipe, originally a modified and scaled recipe from TheScranLine – check out Nick's site and his Instagram feed if you haven't already; he does some incredible work! 
Of'll need either a kitchen scale to measure ingredients in grams OR - you can use this fancy ‘grams to cups converter’. Or just use the conversions I ballparked for you. You’re welcome!


350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 ¼ c)
450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
275ml buttermilk (about 1 ¼ cup ; buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
¼  cup bourbon (I used Eagle Rare bourbon)
2 t vanilla extract
½ cup chopped cherries (I prefer fresh, but canned or frozen would work as well) 
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a fan forced oven. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with baker's floured spray and/or line pans with parchment paper

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible. 

Next, add buttermilk, eggs, bourbon, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.

Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 550g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans, and cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.

Cherry Bourbon Filling: 
I modified this recipe from Veena Azmanov on Pinterest; it calls for fresh cherries but you could use thawed frozen cherries and just omit the 1 ½ Tablespoons of water from the cherry mixture! 
1 ½ cups (200g) fresh cherries, chopped
¼ cup (50g)  granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons Boubon
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons water, divided 
Wash and chop your cherries, making sure to remove all of the seeds. This part can be time-consuming with a knife, but there are several handheld and countertop cherry pitters available online to make it faster!
Combine your chopped cherries, sugar, bourbon, and half of your water (1 ½ Tablespoons) in a saucepan and stir to combine; continue stirring and heat on medium-low until the sugar is dissolved.
In another small bowl, combine your cornstarch with the remaining 1 ½ Tablespoon of water and stir until well mixed. Add the cornstarch mixture to the cherry mixture.
Continue to cook on medium-low heat until the mixture begins to thicken and simmer – I wanted a thick cake filling, so I let it cook until it came to a low simmer. Remove from heat and cool completely – it may still seem too thin for a cake filling at first, but will continue to thicken as it cools!

Vanilla Bourbon Frosting:
This is a modified version of my favorite Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting – the bourbon adds a bit of depth to the flavor, and I loved it! 
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoons milk
1-2 Tablespoons boubon             
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk and bourbon until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.

Additional Supplies/Equipment:
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
-Chocolate ganache for drip (recipe below)
- Sprinkles to add to chocolate ganache drip
- 7-8 cherries (I used fresh cherries, but I have friends that use maraschino cherries!
- few teaspoons of edible gold glitter (I used this glitter from Heaven’s Sweetness Shop)
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Pipe a small ‘dam’ of frosting around the outer edge to hold your filling in, and spread a layer of cherry filling over the first cake layer. Center the next cake layer on top. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.

Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.

Chocolate Sprinkle drip:
12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream
4-5 tablespoons sprinkle mix of your choice (I used Sweetapolita’s ‘Bubbly’)
1 teaspoon(ish) Crisco or shortening
Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky.

(If desired, this can also be done in the microwave – combine ingredients and microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth).

Okaaaay......adding the drip!

When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping bag. A spoon will work if you don’t have either of those, I've  just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.
Slowly drizzle ganache around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more ganache fall in a drip down the side of the cake.

To add the sprinkles to the drip, shake some of your sprinkles into a shallow bowl or dish. Spread a bit of shortening on your fingertip – this will make the sprinkles stick to your finger, and make it easy to transfer them to the drip! Add as many sprinkles as you’d like, and return cake to the fridge or freezer to set the drips.

Transfer some frosting to your large piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice (from the set linked above, I used the large star tip). Pipe swirls around the top edge of the cake – I alternated larger swirls with smaller more oblong swirls.

With a small new/clean makeup sponge or a foam brush, add some edible glitter to your cherries (if you’re using fresh cherries use a brush, if you’re using maraschino cherries I’ve heard it’s easier to just roll them in the glitter). Space the cherries evenly around the top of the cake – and step back and admire your work!  

Make this recipe? Let me know  how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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