Black Forest Inspired Chocolate Cherry Semolina Cake

As the title suggests, the idea for this cake comes from the German Black Forest Cake, a cake that contains several chocolate layers, cherries, whipped cream and some kind of cherry liquor I have never heard of.

Black Forrest Inspired CakeCocoa semolina layers, cherries and cherry jelly, whipped cream and chocolate flakes…

It was some kind of experiment, but I am really pleased with the outcome. This recipe does not require sugar and even though there’s a lot of whipped cream and chocolate involved the whole cake has only ca. 1900 kcals.

And I am not ashamed to admit that two people ate the whole cake in just one afternoon! 🙂

Ok, so here’s how it’s done:


  • put whipped cream in the fridge
  • grease a 16-cm springform pan with margarine
  • preheat oven to 180°C/350°F


two cocoa semolina layers, each containing

  • 80g semolina
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10g cocoa
  • 80g applesauce
  • 80g cherry juice (I used the liquid in which the cherries were pickled)
  • sweetener of choice to taste (optional)
  • margarine for greasing the springform pan

for filling and decoration

  • 200-300g pickled sweet cherries
  • 200 ml cherry juice
  • 10-15 g pectin
  • 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
  • 300 ml whipped cream (I used Soyatoo)
  • 2 packages whipped cream stabilizer (16g)
  • 40g chopped dark chocolate


  • in a bowl mix semolina, baking soda and cocoa
  • add applesauce and cherry juice
  • add sweetener (optional)
  • stir thoroughly, then pour dough into a greased springform pan, shake a little until surface is even
  • let semolina soak for 10 minutes

black forest inspired cakethe dough of the first layer before baking

  • put the springform pan in the preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes (do the toothpick test do check if cake is done)
  • once the cake is done, remove it from the oven, let cool off for a couple of minutes and then take it out of the pan and put it on a plate
  • clean the springform pan, grease it again and bake the second cake layer just the same way

black forrest inspired cake

the second layer after baking

  • after removing the second cake from the springform pan, put the springform pan on the first cake, which should have cooled off completely by now (don’t use the bottom of the pan, only the round thing – we need it to keep the jelly from flowing off); I flipped the cake layer upside down, as the bottom side was tighter towards the edge
  • cut the cherries in half; cover the top of the first layer that is now inside the springform with the cherries

black forrest inspired cake
the upside-down cake layer inside the springform pan, coverd with cherries

  • put 200ml cherry juice in a pot, stir in pectin and citric acid
  • boil up and let simmer for a couple of minutes
  • remove pot from the oven and let cool off for just a little – don’t let the jelly get firm though
  • pour cherry juice jelly over the cherries in the springform pan
  • let cool off, then put in the fridge until the jelly is firm

black forrest inspired cake
the first cake layer with cherries and cherry jelly

  • in the meantime, whip cream and add two packages of whipped cream stabilizer
  • put the whipped cream in the fridge  for at least two hours
  • then take the cake with the firm cherry jelly and the whipped cream out of the fridge
  • put the second cake layer on top of the cherry jelly
  • now remove the springform pan
  • cover the whole cake with whipped cream

black forrest inspired caketwo cake layers with cherries an cherry jelly in between, whipped soy cream about to cover it

  • sprinkle cake with plenty of chopped chocolate
  • put some cherries on top for decoration
  • if you are patient, put the cake in the fridge for an hour, if not… eat right away 🙂

black forrest inspired cakeok, so I am apparently not good at decorating cakes… but I swear, it was delicious!

If you cut this cake into 8 pieces, it’s only 240 kcals for a piece, which is not that bad if you consider all the whipped cream and chocolate.

And did I mention we ate the whole cake in one afternoon?

black forrest inspired cakeVery yummy!

Valentine’s Day Punch Hearts

For this recipe I took inspiration from an Austrian pastry called Punschkrapfen.

They usually have the shape of squares, but I thought it would be nice to make heart shaped ones for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts

Sweet Punch Heart for Valentine’s Day

My first attempt yesterday didn’t turn out as I had planned: the cake was to high for the cookie cutter, so the hearts all were somewhat uneven. Also, the filling was too soft for being used with a cookie cutter. I had to place the cutter on top of a heart shaped cookie, fill it with the way too soft filling, put another cookie on top of it and then carefully pull the cookie cutter up without destroying the whole thing. I still managed to get them in shape, but it was very, very messy and time-consuming, I really don’t recommend that method.

It was so much work that I didn’t even bother to glaze them all, once I was finished. (They were really delicious though).

Valentine's Day Punch HeartsThe first attempt: somewhat messy production process, but very delicious outcome.

Today I made a second attempt: I used only half the amount of dough and a much larger baking tray. Unsurprisingly this time the cake turned out to be too flat 🙂

So I simply decided to turn this into a special feature of my very special Valentine’s Day Punch Hearts: instead of one filling between two cake layers they now contain two fillings between three cake layers.

Before I post the recipe just a couple of things in advance: making those Punch Hearts is a lot of work, it’s very messy and they are somewhat unhealthy, as they contain lots of sugar.

But hey, Valentine’s Day is only once a year, so it might as well be worth the effort and the extra calories on a special day and for a special person, and besides: I think they look really cute (and they taste great as well!).


for the dough:

  • 90g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 package of vanilla sugar (8g)
  • 120g flour
  • a bit of tumeric for a nice yellow colour (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 150ml water

additionally for the filling:

  • 55ml cherry liqueur rum (or regular rum)
  • 135g dark chocolate

for the glaze:

  • 200g powdered sugar
  • 50ml cherry liqueur rum (or regular rum)
  • red food dye


  • line a baking tray with parchment (the tray I used has a size of 37x26cm and the cake turned out very flat – I guess a smaller tray would be okay too)
  • preheat oven to 180°C/350°F


  • mix sugar, baking powder, flour and  vanilla sugar thoroughly (add a little tumeric if you want your dough to have a nice yellowish colour)
  • add oil and water, mix with a blender
  • pour the very liquid dough on the parchment paper that lies on your baking tray
  • shake the tray a little to make the dough spread evenly

Valentine's Day Punch HeartsThe dough in the tray before baking…

  • put the tray in the oven and bake for 10-15 minute; the time depends on the size of your tray (the surface should be of yellow/light golden colour, you can also do the toothpick test to find out the right moment for removing the tray from the oven)

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts… and after baking. Nice yellow colour.

  • let the cake cool off for at least 30 minutes
  • remove the parchment paper from the tray
  • now cut out hearts with a heart shaped cookie cutter; I cut out 27 cookies for 9 punch hearts

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…cutting out the hearts.

  • make sure there’s enough cake leftovers, because you will need those  for the filling; I weighted my cookies and leftovers: the cookies weighted about 60% of the original cake, the leftovers 40%

Valentine's Day Punch HeartsThe leftover cake parts.

  • now put the leftovers in a bowl and crumble into smaller pieces
  • add cherry liqueur rum, then mash the soft, soaked crumbles with a fork (maybe start with less than 55ml rum and add more if necessary)

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…soaked in rum and mashed.

  • melt dark chocolate in the microwave oven; it should be soft, but not too hot
  • mix the melted chocolate with the rum soaked cake mash

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…mixed with melted chocolate.

  • the consistency of the cake mash should be soft enough to be spread on the parchment, being cut with the cookie cutter and stick with the cookies, but not so soft that it will loose its shape or melt away – depending on the amount of cake leftovers you started with, the amount of rum and melted chocolate you are going to need may vary; also the cake mash will get a little harder once the chocolate has cooled off, so you may want to wait a little or put the filling in the fridge for some time
  • spread some of the filling on a piece of parchment paper and use the cookie cutter to cut out a heart; remove the heart (by carefully lifting it up with a knife, if it sticks to the parchment paper) and place it on a cookie

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…cutting the filling, layering the punch cakes

  • place another cookie on top, another filling on that one and a third cookie on top of it, so that each little cake has 5 layers (if your cookies turn out to be much higher than mine, you can stick with a three-layered cookie-filling-cookie)
  • now it’s time for the glazing; put the powdered sugar and rum in a bowl and mix thoroughly; I recommend not to start with the whole 200g sugar/50ml rum, but with maybe half of the amount, and then slowly add either more sugar if it’s too liquid or more rum if it’s too viscid
  • add as much red food dye as you like, for bright red or tender pink
  • place each cake on a fork, and pour the sugar glaze over it

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…glacing the little cakes with pink or red sugar icing.

  • place the cakes on a little paper muffin cup
  • eat and enjoy – but not all at once 🙂 I calculated that each of the 9 punch hearts I made has a little over 300kcals.

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…delicious!