This Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake is super chocolatey, rich and creamy, and filled with sweet, juicy cherries.
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 Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest 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.
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 barnivore.com.
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.
I then topped off this Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake 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).
I hope you’ll love this Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake! For more cakes, check out my:
- Red Velvet Cake
- Chocolate Truffle Cake
- Tropical Carrot Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Cake
- Cherry Bakewell Cake
- Chocolate Sponge Layer Cake
- Strawberry Sponge Layer Cake
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!
Helpful tools to make this Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake:
For the cake:
For the frosting:
Gluten-Free Vegan Black Forest Cake
For the cake:
- 60 g (1/4 cup) coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
- 230 ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk (or any other plant-based milk)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider 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* (almond meal)
- 150 g (1 1/4 cup) gluten-free flour blend (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons baking power (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
For the filling:
- 400 g (14oz) tin of full-fat 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)
- 225 g (1 cup) cherries (fresh, tinned, jarred or frozen, or cherry jam)
- 225 g (1 cup) cherries (fresh, tinned, jarred or frozen)
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 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)
- Once melted, add the milk to the same bowl along with the vinegar, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and ground almonds
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder
- Mix well, adding a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking too dry
- Divide mixture between two greased baking tins lined with baking paper (I used two 7inch/18cm baking tins)
- Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until risen slightly and an inserted skewer comes out clean
- 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:
- 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!
- 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)
- Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract
- Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy
- 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:
- Place one half of the cake onto a plate or cake stand, and spread just less than half of the frosting onto it
- Scatter over the halved cherries
- Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the frosting to spread on top
- Decorate with the remaining cherries
For the chocolate sauce:
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and melt either over a bain-marie or in the microwave, until mixed together well
- Pour over the cake
- Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
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