Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake

Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake

This Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake is super chocolatey, rich and creamy, and filled with sweet, juicy cherries. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake

I know I seem to say this about every dessert, but Black Forest Cake, or Black Forest Gâteau, or Chocolate Cherry Cake, or whatever else you call it has always been one of my favourites. My mum always used to buy it from the frozen aisle in the supermarket…anyone else the same?

Anyway, after making this Chocolate Cherry Trifle, I knew I had to combine those delicious flavours in the form of a sponge layer cake.  

Although this version here is vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar free, it’s every bit as delicious as the traditional version!

The moist and fluffy sponge pairs beautifully with the cloud-like coconut whipped cream and boozy cherries, which are all enrobed in a luxurious and decadent chocolate sauce. 

I used my favourite vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar free sponge as a base for this layer cake – I love its taste and texture, and what’s more, it requires just one bowl and uses easily accessible ingredients. The coconut oil gives the sponge a rich, buttery flavour whilst ground almonds add a nutty sweetness and fluffiness.

The recipe is also easily customisable, as you can use any liquid sweetener you like, and substitute the coconut oil with olive or vegetable oil if you wish.

Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake

For the filling, I went with coconut whipped cream, and heaps of seasonal, fresh, super juicy cherries. You can use kirsch, brandy, or even Amaretto.

Remember to check whether it’s gluten-free if necessary, and you can check whether it’s vegan or not by searching on

If you can’t find fresh cherries, you can use tinned cherries, frozen cherries, or those preserved cherries that come in jars. Cherry jam would also work well. But since it’s summer and all, I thought I’d maximise on the seasonal produce and splash out on some fresh cherries.

You can also use a thick coconut yogurt instead of coconut whipped cream if you’re pressed for time. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake

I then topped it off with some chocolate sauce, which is completely optional, but oh-so-delicious. You can use melted dark chocolate, but if you’d prefer it to be refined sugar free, you can also melt some coconut oil and mix with cocoa powder and maple syrup (or any other sweetener). 

Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake

Love cakes as much as I do? Then you might like my: 

Looking for more chocolate treats? Check out my: 

If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love to hear how you get on! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag photo #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! I’d really love to hear any feedback – thank you!

Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake
Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins

This Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake is super chocolatey, rich and creamy, and filled with sweet, juicy cherries. 

Servings: 8
Calories: 366 kcal
For the cake:
  • 8 tablespoons coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
  • 230 ml (1 cup) milk, any kind
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
  • 8 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 g (1 1/4 cup) ground almonds
  • 150 g (1 1/4 cup) gluten-free flour (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
  • 2 teaspoons baking power (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
For the filling:
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) tin coconut milk*
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Splash of liqueur of choice (kirsch, brandy or Amaretto would work well - ensure vegan/gluten-free if necessary)
  • 200 g (7oz) cherries (fresh, tinned, jarred or frozen, or cherry jam)
To decorate:
  • 200 g (7oz) cherries (fresh, tinned, jarred or frozen)
For the chocolate sauce**:
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350 degrees)
  2. Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if using any other oil)

  3. Once melted, add the milk to the same bowl along with the vinegar, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and ground almonds
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder
  5. Mix well, adding a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking too dry
  6. Divide mixture between two greased baking tins lined with baking paper (I used two 7inch/18cm baking tins)
  7. Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until risen slightly and an inserted skewer comes out clean
  8. Once out the oven, transfer cakes from baking tins onto a wired rack to leave them to cool completely before applying the frosting
For the filling:
  1. You’ll need to keep your tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight for the rich creamy bit to separate from the watery bit at the bottom. Make sure it is full fat coconut milk, otherwise this separation won’t happen and you won’t be able to make this cream!
  2. Open the tin upside down – the coconut cream will be at the bottom and you can just pour off the watery liquid (save this for adding to soups or smoothies)
  3. Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl
  4. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract
  5. Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy
  6. Pit and halve cherries and place in a bowl with a splash of liqueur of choice and mix well
To frost and decorate the cake:
  1. Place one half of the cake onto a plate or cake stand, and spread just less than half of the frosting onto it
  2. Scatter over the halved cherries
  3. Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the frosting to spread on top
  4. Decorate with the remaining cherries
For the chocolate sauce:
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and melt either over a bain-marie or in the microwave, until mixed together well

  2. Pour over the cake
  3. Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
Recipe Notes

*You can alternatively use 200g (7oz) thick coconut yogurt **You can alternatively use melted dark chocolate (ensure vegan if necessary)

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6 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake

  1. My gran used to buy frozen BFG* too!

    You are a woman after my own heart – I seriously love chocolate and cherries together. Cherries are so abundant here – I’ve got a ton of recipes waiting to be written up and blogged! No BF cakes though! Why did I not think of it? On the plus side, I don’t need to because I can make yours now! I may have to introduce my neighbours to this! xx

    (*Not the Big Friendly Giant… you’d need a big freezer for him. Plus, y’know, cruelty to giants an’ all!)

    1. Hahaha your comment made me laugh so much, loved the reference to the Big Friendly Giant! And thank you, the combination of chocolate and cherries is almost dangerously good right…sounds like you have some lucky neighbours! xxx

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