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White Forest Cake

White Forest Cake is a new twist on the classic European cake. Layers of vanilla sponge cake are filled with sour cherries, white chocolate cream and plenty of Kirschwasser.

This cake includes all the essential components of a classic Black Forest Cake; chocolate, sponge cake, real whipped cream, cherries and cherry liquor.

So here’s the twist. We’re replacing the chocolate cake layers with vanilla cake and the dark chocolate is switched out for white chocolate. Creamy white chocolate is a perfect foil for tart cherries.

I’m lucky to have a sour cherry tree. I preserve and freeze the cherries and use them all year to make pies, cobblers and cakes.

If you don’t have access to fresh sour cherries the best substitute would be frozen or jarred sour cherries packed in their own juice. In a pinch, you could use cherry pie filling between the layers of this cake.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make a spectacular White Forest Cake from scratch:

sour cherries in a small pot, a bowl pouring cornstarch into cherries and a bowl of sour cherry filling
1. Cook pitted sour cherries in a small saucepan. 2. Add cornstarch and bring it to a boil. 3. Set the cherry filling aside while you prepare the cake.
a potato peeler scraping a block of white chocolate shavings onto a red cutting board
Use a potato peeler to make white chocolate shavings to decorate the cake
a bowl of whipped cream and a bowl of melted white chocolate. A whisk mixing white chocolate and cream. A bowl of white chocolate cream.
1. Whip the cream to soft peak and melt the white chocolate. 2. Whisk some of the cream into the white chocolate to temper. 3. Add the white chocolate to the cream and whisk to full peak.
cake layers, white chocolate cream, cherry filling, a pastry bag, a spatula and cherry syrup on a work surface
Gather all the components to assemble the cake.
a cake layer being brushed with cherry syrup. A cake layer with cream border and cherry filling. A dollop of cream over cherry filling.
1. Brush the layer with cherry syrup. 2. Pipe a “dam” of white chocolate cream and fill with cherries. 3. Spread more cream on top of the cherries.
a closeup of cake layers with cream and a closeup of a cake wrapped in plastic
1. Build the other layers the same way. 2. Wrap the sides of the cake so it doesn’t dry out and refrigerate several hours before serving.
a slice of white forest cake on a pink plate

If you want to try another delicious twist on the original, check out this recipe for Black Forest Cake Roll glazed with chocolate ganache.

You might also be interested in these other classic European cake recipes. Sacher Torte is a delicious combination of chocolate and apricot and White Chocolate Sacher Torte is an innovative, delicious and beautiful take on the classic cake.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

White Forest Cake

White Forest Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 2 hours
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

White forest cake is a riff on the classic European layer cake. Layers of vanilla sponge cake are filled with sour cherries, white chocolate cream and plenty of Kirschwasser.

Ingredients

Cherry Filling

  • 3 cups (24oz, 672g) fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries and their juice (see note)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120 ml) Kirschwasser
  • 1/4 cup (1.25 oz, 35g) corn starch
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) granulated sugar

Assembly

  • 1 recipe Vanilla Genoise baked in two 8" pans
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kirschwasser
  • 2 cups (1 pint, 480ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz, 28g) confectioner's sugar
  • 4 oz (112g) white chocolate, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • White chocolate shavings for garnish

Instructions

Prep the cherries

  1. Combine the cherries and their juice with the Kirschwasser, set aside for at least 3-4 hours (I like to soak the cherries overnight).
  2. Drain 1 cup of juice from the cherries, reserving it for later.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with another 1/4 cup of the juice. Combine the cherries and any remaining juice with the granulated sugar in a saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and the liquid begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir the cornstarch slurry into the cherries. Cook until the mixture comes to a boil, thickens and goes from opaque to translucent.
  5. Transfer the cherries to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature. Chill until you're ready to assemble the cake. This can be done up to one day before assembling the cake.

Assembly

  1. Combine the reserved cup of cherry juice with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of kirschwasser. Remove 12 nice looking cherries from the cherry filling and set them aside for garnishing the top of the cake. Split each cake horizontally into 2 layers so you have a total of 4 layers.
  2. Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar to soft peak. Whisk a cup of the cream into the melted white chocolate to temper. Whisk the tempered chocolate back into the cream. Add the vanilla extract and whip to full peak. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with 1/2 of the white chocolate cream and leave the rest of the cream in the bowl.
  3. Set one layer of the cake onto a cardboard cake round or a serving plate. Brush the layer with 1/4 of the cherry syrup. Pipe a dam of white chocolate cream around the edge of the layer.
  4. Spread 1/3 of the cherry filling within the border. Spread 1/4 of the white chocolate cream from the bowl over the cherries.
  5. Add the second and third layers of the cake in the same way. Top with the final layer and brush the remaining syrup on top. Spread the remaining cream from the bowl evenly over the top of the cake and use the rest of the cream in the bag to pipe 12 rosettes evenly spaced around the top of the cake.
  6. Wrap the sides of the cake in plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
  7. To serve, place one of the reserved cherries on each rosette and then scatter white chocolate shavings over the center of the cake.

Notes

1. If using fresh cherries (as I did), stem and pit the cherries and save the juice. If using jarred or canned cherries use the cherries and the juice. Depending on the type of cherries you use, you may need to adjust the amount of sugar in the syrup to taste.

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