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Black Forest Sheet Cake

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This simplified version of black forest sheet cake still feels ultra luxe. Moist chocolate cake studded with cherries, creamy vanilla German buttercream and a layer of ganache come together to make your dessert dreams come true!

two dessert plates with a slice of black forest sheet cake on each, chocolate cake, german buttercream, dark chocolate ganache.

This cake is over the top good without being fussy to put together. The chocolate cake is highlighted with cherries and chocolate chips.

A silky smooth layer of German buttercream separates the cake from a shiny layer of ganache that tops the whole thing off nicely. It may look unassuming at first glance, but it is ready to wow you once you cut into it!

Fork piercing through ganache on top of vanilla buttercream coated chocolate and cherry black forest cake.

This sheet cake is getting ready to win over your heart.  It is actually relatively simple to make and the layers work together to make it both look and taste stunning.

Check out the beauty and inner workings of each layer and then put all of the ingredients on your grocery list. This one is worth making up and excuse to bake!

The Cake

You will be surprised how easily the cake comes together. It starts with a chocolate cake mix and a can of cherry pie filling, so it is in the oven in no time.

Chocolate cake batter with cherry pie filling and chocolate chips ready to be stirred in.

 If you come here often, you may recognize the recipe from the chocolate cherry fudge bundt cake. A reader shared how they made it in a 9×13 on Pinterest, so I was inspired to do the same.

With a few simple mix-ins the cake mix is transformed into something extra special. It is always moist and has never failed me.

I like using mini chocolate chips in this recipe. They basically melt into the cake and give that rich chocolate flavor without being distinctly detectable.

first piece of black forest cake on plate showing creamy vanilla frosting between chocolate cake and ganache topping.

If you can measure and stir together a few ingredients, you can make this cake. It’s all in one bowl and simple as can be.

In fact you don’t have to tell your guests how easy it is to make. It’s our little secret.

The Buttercream Layer

German buttercream really sets this cake off.  It is built on a thick custard base, so it is super creamy and subtly sweet.

Lifting first slice of cake out of pan, showing moist chocolate cake with cherries, creamy vanilla layer and rich chocolate topping.

It adds a softness between two bold chocolate layers. You may want to make a double batch so you have some to eat off a spoon too!

Don’t let all of the steps in the recipe deter you from making it.  It is more work than American buttercream for sure, but not really complicated.

You can make the pudding part ahead of time and refrigerate it for a few days even.  Then just whip in the butter when you are ready to assemble your cake.

The Ganache

A layer of rich chocolaty ganache is almost always a good idea.  The shiny chocolate makes you anticipate good things to come and it really makes for striking layers on this cake.

dark chocolate pieces by bowl ready to be made into ganache.

I used a dark chocolate to make my ganache. It was really delicious with the other layers.

If milk chocolate is more your style,  go for it! The frosting is only subtly sweet, so milk chocolate wouldn’t be too much here.

Pouring warm ganache over german buttercream topped cake.

If you give it a try, be sure to let me know! Also, if you don’t have cream, feel free to use slightly less milk. It will still make a fabulous smooth layer to top your cake.

Whole sheet cake topped with shiny chocolate ganache, ready to be served.

More Great Chocolate Cake Recipes

Turtle Bars With German Chocolate Cake Mix
Make decadent turtle bars using a cake mix for an easy but exquisit treat. They are perfectly gooey and delicious on their own, but pair perfectly with a scoop of ice cream for a memorable dessert.
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Ding Dong Cake
This great recipe combines chocolate cake layers, a glorious cream filling and fudge frosting to make a giant Ding Dong cake. It is the perfect mix of chocolatey flavor and fluffy vanilla filling that is sure to win over any chocolate lover.
Get the Recipe
Lifting slice of ding dong cake out of cake, showing chocolate cake layers, creamy vanilla filling and dark chocolate icing.

If you tried this recipe, or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments. Hungry for more?  Be sure to stay in touch on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

two dessert plates with a slice of black forest sheet cake on each, chocolate cake, german buttercream, dark chocolate ganache.

Black Forest Sheet Cake

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
This simplified version of black forest sheet cake still feels ultra luxe. Moist chocolate cake studded with cherries, creamy vanilla German buttercream and a layer of ganache come together to make your dessert dreams come true!
5 from 8 ratings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 46 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 6 minutes



  • 15.25 oz Devil’s food cake mix
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 21 oz can cherry pie filling
  • ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Makes: 9 x 13inch rectangle2inch height


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 pan.
  • Put the cake mix, vegetable oil, egg and milk in a large mixing bowl.  
    15.25 oz Devil’s food cake mix, ¾ cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs, ½ cup milk
  • Mix together on low speed until the ingredients are combined. Then mix on medium speed for two minutes.
  • Stir in the cherry pie filling and mini chocolate chips. 
    21 oz can cherry pie filling, ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until it springs back when lightly touched with a finger. 
  • Cool completely before frosting. 
  • Smooth the German buttercream over the cake and then chill for at least 15 minutes.
    1 recipe German buttercream
  • When you are ready to finish the cake, break the chocolate into small pieces. Place in a small microwave safe bowl.  Add milk or cream and microwave in 15-20 second spurts, stirring well between. As soon as the chocolate stirs smooth, let it sit for a few minutes to cool.
    6 ounces dark chocolate, ⅓ cup whole milk or cream
  • Once the ganache is no longer hot, just warm, pour it over the chilled cake and spread until smooth.
  • This cake is best stored in the refrigerator, but let the pieces come to room temperature before eating it. 


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 495kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 5gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 364mgFiber: 2gSugar: 32g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen

Friday 9th of August 2019

Oh my, I want a piece for dessert tonight, please!


Monday 5th of August 2019

Delicious! Kim


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

Thanks, Kim!

Shannon @ Of The Hearth

Saturday 3rd of August 2019

I wish I had a slice of this right now! It sounds delicious.


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

Come on over, I'll make another one!

Amy (Savory Moments)

Friday 2nd of August 2019

This cake looks so good! I love black forest cake.


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

I wish I could send you a slice!


Friday 2nd of August 2019

This cake sounds soooo good! And of course, that frosting!


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

It's the whole package for sure!