Bourbon Black Forest Cake (topped with cherries, slice cut out)

Bourbon Black Forest Cake

Bourbon Black Forest Cake (topped with cherries, slice cut out)
Bourbon Black Forest Cake

Best way to dress up a Black Forest cake?

...if you've never seen glitter cherries - I recommend checking out SheriWilson's Instagram! 😉 

I'd been wanting to make a black forest cake and dress it up with bourbon and glitter cherries. Some AMAZING Pacific Northwest cherries at my local grocery store were alllll the excuse I needed! 

I bought the glitter and the sprinkles from Heaven’s Sweetness Shop. Great shopping experience, though I did realize later I could’ve gotten a better price with my Amazon Prime membership for the gold glitter – I'll include the link below!  

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! 


What do I need to make a Bourbon Black Forest Cake?  
  • You'll need classic cake ingredients - flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, vanilla, eggs, vegetable oil - and two of my favorite cake ingredients; bourbon and buttermilk!

  • Cherry Bourbon filling is made with chopped fresh or frozen cherries - if you use frozen cherries modify the water content a bit; I've detailed instructions below!

  • this Vanilla Bourbon frosting is made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, bourbon, and vanilla - and it is *incredible!* 

Do I have to make the cake / frosting from scratch? 
  • Absolutely not if you don't want to! You can substitute 2 of your favorite chocolate cake mixes plus the ingredients the mix calls for - substitute 1/4 cup bourbon for 1/4 of the water/milk and add 1/2 cup chopped cherries. Keep the baking pans the same! Your cake layers won't be quite as rich, but cake mixes are a definite time-saver! 
    Store bought frosting is usually a little thinner than my recipe; add 2 Tablespoons of Bourbon and then a 1/4 cup of extra powdered sugar at a time until you reach a consistency that spreads and stays in place on the cake well. 

Can I make the cake / frosting ahead of time? 
  • Definitely! Wrap the cake layers well and refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Transfer the frosting to a zip-lock bag and squeeze out the extra air, and again - refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. 
    Cover or wrap any remaining cake well to keep it from drying out - it will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

What if I've never added a drip to a cake before?
  • Don't stress! It's easier than you probably think it is! 🙂 
  • My biggest tips - make sure you measure your chocolate and heavy cream accurately. Too much/little of either may affect your drip consistency. 
  • Make sure you try a test drip first! Don't pour the ganache over your whole cake until you're confident in the consistency of your ganache. 
  • I loved this YouTube tutorial by Sugar&Sparrow when I was new to cake drips! 

Have a question about this recipe? Send me an email

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and 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!) 

Don't forget to pin for later! 

Bourbon Black Forest Cake pinterest pin

Bourbon Black Forest Cake

This Bourbon Black Forest Cake features rich chocolate cake layers, bourbon cherry filling, and a chocolate ganache drip!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Decorating time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Black Forest Cake, Bourbon Black Forest Cake, Chocolate Ganache drip
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 770kcal
Author: Sarah H



Bourbon Black Forest Cake layers

  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (350g)
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar (450g)
  • 1 ¼ cup cocoa powder (100g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (5g)
  • ¾ tsp salt (4g)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 250g, softened)
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 ½ cups 350mL buttermilk (350mL)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (10mL)
  • ¼ cup bourbon (60mL; I used Eagle Rare bourbon)
  • ½ cup chopped cherries (I used fresh, but canned or frozen would work as well)

Cherry Bourbon filling

  • 1 ½ cups 200g fresh cherries, chopped (200g; if you use frozen cherries omit 1 ½ Tablespoons of water from the cherry mixture)
  • ¼ cup 50g granulated sugar (50g)
  • 2 Tablespoons Bourbon (30g)
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (7.5g)
  • 3 Tablespoons water (45 g, divided)

Vanilla Bourbon Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (one package; softened)
  • 1 cup butter (16 tablespoons/two sticks, softened)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (690g)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons bourbon (45-60g)
  • 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract (15g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)

Drip & Decorations

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (6 ounces)
  • 4-5 tablespoons sprinkle mix of your choice (Optional; I used Sweetapolita’s ‘Bubbly’)
  • 1 teaspoon (ish) Crisco / shortening (optional)
  • 7-8 cherries (I used fresh cherries, but maraschino cherries would work also)
  • 1-2 teaspoons gold edible glitter


Bourbon Black Forest Cake layers

  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 325 FC (160C) for a convection oven. Prepare three 8 inch round pans with baker's floured spray (or grease and line with parchment rounds).
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Add in the softened butter a tablespoon at a time until it’s well combined into the dry ingredients and the mixture looks crumbly.
  • In a separate bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and bourbon together until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl, stir in chopped cherries, and beat 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

  • 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 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 sugar is dissolved.
  • In another small bowl, mix 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 for about a minute after 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

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with bourbon until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.


  • 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:

  • Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Add whipping cream and microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth.
  • 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/food-safe foam brush, add some edible glitter (available here on Amazon) to your cherries (if you’re using fresh cherries use a brush, if you’re using maraschino cherries 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!



Serving: 1slice (1/16th cake) | Calories: 770kcal | Carbohydrates: 99g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 38g

Did you make this Bourbon Black Forest Cake? 

Let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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7 thoughts on “Bourbon Black Forest Cake

      1. Hi Victoria!
        You’re right – I guess in my head I included the cherries in the wet ingredients, but my phrasing really wasn’t clear. I’ve updated the directions to include the cherries more clearly!

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