The Kitchen Project | History Project | Contact Us | About Us | Free Food History Course | Food History Search


The History of Black Forest Cake


While the recipes can vary slightly, for the most part Black Forest Cherry Torte or as it is called in Germany Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is a sponge cake or Gateau style chocolate cake soaked with cherry schnapps   (Kirschwasser) and filled with whipped cream, cherries and chocolate shavings, and frosted with the same.

What is the origin of the name?

This cake is named for the Black Forest area in Germany and features one of it's main crops, cherries.

Where is the Black Forest?

The Black Forest is an area in Southwest Germany that got it's name many centuries ago from how thick and wooded it use to be with fir and pine trees

. It is also famous for its cuckoo clocks, dark chocolate, Morello cherries, and Kirsch, the double-distilled clear alcohol they produce from the cherries

The Black Forest area in Germany

You will also see the famous Bollenhut (hat shown on the left) that resembles the colors of the Black forest cherry cake. Nobody is sure that the ingredients were chosen to resemble the hat, but it is a nice coincidence.

The black dress is the dark chocolate cake,  the white shirt with Balloon puffy sleeves are the light real whipped cream, the 8-11 red pompoms are the cherries, and the black undulating lace veil shielding the young women's eyes are represented by the chocolate curls.

The hat is coincidentally similar in weight they say to the cake you buy in the Black Forest.

The giant wool pompoms also signify marital status. red is for single and black is for married.

Video showing the Bollenhut
Schwartswaldmädel 1995



There are 2 different claims as to who made the first Black forest Cherry torte.

Josef Keller 1915

This account is written by pastry chef Claus Schaeffer who owns
Cafe Schaffer in Triberg , Germany, (in the Black Forest area of Germany)

who's father apprenticed
under Josef Keller

Josef Keller (1887-1981) is the inventor of the Black Forest cherry cake. Keller was the pastry chef in the Café “Ahrend” (today called Agner) in Bad Godesberg. In the year 1915 he created for the first time what he called a “Schwarzwaelder Kirsch”, or “Black Forest Cherry”.

After his time in the military, Josef Keller established his own café in Radolfzell. August Schaefer learned the trade as the apprentice to Josef Keller in Radolfzell from 1924 to 1927. After many years of collaboration, Josef Keller gave August Schaefer his recipe book which contained the original recipe. His son, Claus Schaefer, the current Konditormeister of the Triberg Café Schaefer, inherited the book and the original recipe and has thus been able to carry on making Josef Keller’s original.

From Cafe Shaeffer

Renate Helm was kind enough to send me this picture of having a nice piece of Schwatzwalder Kirschtorte in Cafe Schaffer.

Erwin Hildenbrand of Cafe Walz 1930
Tübingen, Germany

Town archivist of Tübingen, Germany Udo Rauch uncovered a picture showing pastry chef Erwin Hildenbrand of Cafe Walz in Tübingen making a Black Forest cake.

Tübingen, Germany in the Black Forest

Photo or JM Erich Weber

1934 Black Forest Cake was first mentioned in writing ("250 Cake - Specialty and how they are created" by JM Erich Weber, Dresden, 1934).

At this time it was mainly in Berlin. and was still not very well known. Today however it is perhaps the most well known cake in Germany


There is a Festival celebrating this cake in Germany in Todtnauberg, Germany in the Black Forest. This will be held on June 13, 2010.

Many recipes for this cake use soaked cherries in Kirschwasser.

Probably before the debut of the Black Forest Cherry torte. Sour cherries from the
Black Forest were soaked in Kirschwasser and then served simply with whipped cream.

Did you know that
March 28 National Black Forest Cake Day in America

How to make Black Forest Cherry Torte
with step by step pictures.

Related topics

what is a torte ?
a torte is actually a cake that is made with ground nuts instead of flour.
Most recipes I have seen for Black Forest Cherry Torte don't have nuts in the cake batter,
Although the first recipes may have.

What is Kirschwässer
German for “cherry water", is a clear, colorless fruit brandy
traditionally made from double-distillation of Morello cherries,
a dark-colored cultivar of the sour cherry. However,
the beverage is now also made from other kinds of cherries.

Does this cake have a future or will it die out?

There have been many recipes over the years that die out for one reason or another.
In medieval times they use to bake live blackbirds in pies, that has lost it's glitz.
With a focus on healthier foods some recipes are shunned or somtimes or put off for special

Several versions of this cake exist using an angel food cake, which is fat free.
To also reduce fat several different fillings can be used. Non fat whipped cream
is not always acceptable to some but can be used.


http://www.forsthaus-auerhahn. de/en/übingen





Search for Food History Articles

Would love to hear your comments on our
Facebook site

Follow us at the
Food History Cafe on Twitter



100% Pure Vanilla Products the Best Ever

Premium Extracts

Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Pure Ground Vanilla


Morello Cherries imported from
The Black Forest in Germany

My Cooking Essentials

magic Bullet

Magic Bullet MBR-1701 17-Piece Express Mixing Set



Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Piece Knife Set with Block  


Microplane 40020 Grater/Zester  



Oxo Dough Scraper

One of the most versitale tools in the kitchen, for scraping flour off the counter after making bread, to lifting up lots of crumbs, and loosening up stuck on food.

Oxo 73281 OXO Good Grips Pastry Scraper  





Other Recomended Books

Food History Course
5 free E-Lessons

Come Explore with me..
The History of Food

Have you ever wondered as I have.....

Who invented the first "Caesar Salad"?

How about the first salad or what was the first salad dressing?

How did Salad get the name Salad?

We explore different topics like famous restaurant dishes, famous fun foods like popcorn, famous Menus like Elvis's wedding reception, and popular food dishes that were invented by accident. Also tools and resources, that you can use to find information on different food and their origins

Just sign up here and you will get your first lesson instantly.

Click here to sign up

  ( We keep your address private )

 The Kitchen Project | History Project | Contact Us | About Us | Free Food History Course | Food History Search


Food History Newsletter

Get weekly updates in your mail box with new interesting food history articles

Just sign your name and email address and click the submit button

Full Name :
Email :