How to Bake a Black Forest Cake in a Coffee Can

By Tricia Ballad

Start to Finish: 2 hours

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Servings: 8 to 12

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Black Forest cake is traditionally made with a light spongecake soaked in kirsch or brandy, then layered with preserved cherries and whipped cream. This version is simplified, but showcases the same flavors as the traditional cake. It is adapted from the Black Forest Cake recipe by Hubert Keller published in Epicurious, November 2012.

The spongecake that forms the base of a traditional Black Forest cake is too delicate to rise correctly in a coffee can, so this recipe is built around a boxed cake mix. If you like to bake from scratch, substitute your favorite chocolate cake recipe to make the batter.

To make this version you will need a clean 16-ounce coffee can with the lid and label removed.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 jar sour cherries, drained, 24 ounces
  • 1 boxed cake mix, chocolate, 16 ounces
  • Oil, as called for by the cake mix
  • Eggs, as called for by the cake mix
  • 1 ounce kirsch or brandy
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, shaved


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Generously spray the inside of the coffee can with cooking spray.

Set aside 3/4 of the drained cherries.

Prepare the cake batter according to the directions on the box. Mix in the remaining cherries. Scoop the batter into the coffee can.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a long wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake rest in the can for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven. Slide a butter knife between the cake and the side of the can to loosen it. Run the knife around the circumference, then invert the can on a cooling rack. The cake should come out easily.

Mix the simple syrup and kirsch or brandy in a small bowl. Use a spoon or a pastry brush to spread the mixture over the cake.

Let the cake cool to room temperature.


Whip the cream and vanilla in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whip on low speed until the sugar is fully incorporated. Finish by whipping at medium-high speed just until stiff peaks form.

Cut the cake into 8 to 12 slices. Top each slice with whipped cream, shaved chocolate and a spoonful of reserved cherries.