The perfect cross between rich, fudgy brownies, and a classic Black Forest Cake, these black forest brownies are a fun twist on the classics! With both fresh sweet cherries, and tart dried cherries, these brownies have the perfect combo of flavor and sweetness.
What is Black Forest Cherry Cake?
Black forest cake or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is a chocolate layer cake with whipped cream and cherries. It originates from the Black Forest region of Germany.
Dutch processed Cocoa vs. Natural Cocoa Powder?
Both dutch processed and natural cocoa powder will work in these brownies.
Can these be made in advance?
Yes, they definitely can be! I would recommend making the brownies in advance and storing in an airtight container and then adding the whipped cream and cherries on top, right before serving.
How to cut these brownies?
If you add whipped cream, I recommend to cutting the brownies first and then piping or spreading the whipped cream on to each one. You can also add the whipped cream onto the brownies before cutting them and then chill for an hour to help the whipped cream set up. To cut through the brownies, use a long sharp knife, dip it in hot water and then briefly dry off before each cut is made.
Additional Recipes to try:
Tips for making Black Forest Cherry Brownies
- Be sure to soak the dried cherries for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the brownies. This helps prevent them from drying out and adds a little moisture to the brownies.
- Fresh or frozen sweet cherries will work but if they’re frozen I recommend letting them defrost and draining off the extra moisture first.
- Melt the butter carefully, it can be done in a microwave or a sauce pot. If melting in the microwave, do so in 10-15 second increments. Once melted add in the sugar, whisk together, and heat again in increments until it is shiny.
- Don’t over bake the brownies, if you do they will become dry and brittle.
- To make thick and smooth whipped cream, go low and slow. Whip the cream on medium speed and keep an eye on it to ensure you don’t over whip it. I have walked away 1 too many times and been left with grainy looking (but not tasting) whipped cream.
- Butter: Butter creates that rich dense chocolate fudginess. It does not need to be at room temperature since it gets melted but it is helpful to cut it into 1″ slices so help the butter melt evenly.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is whisked into the melted butter to create the shiny crinkle top.
- Egg: 3 eggs are used in this brownie recipe. I use standard large eggs from the grocery store. It is important that the eggs are at room temperature so that they blend with the melted butter and remaining ingredients.
- Cocoa Powder: This recipe will work with either Dutch processed or natural cocoa powder.
- Espresso Powder: Espresso Powder is optional but it does help emphasize the chocolate flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla enhances the chocolate flavor of the brownies.
- Salt: Salt balances out the sweetness.
- Baking Powder: Baking Powder gives the brownies a little extra rise.
- Dried Tart Cherries: The Cherries add in the key cherry flavor to these brownies. It is important to use tart cherries to balance out the sweetness of the brownies.
- Fresh Dark Sweet Cherries: These are a new addition to this recipe but I’ll never go back. The fresh cherries add extra flavor and moisture to the brownies and a couple extra on top look pretty!
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate chips or chunks are mixed into the brownie batter to add in extra chocolate fudginess.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour should work for this Chocolate Pear Cake! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream needs to be cold to whip into stiff peaks to top the brownies with.
How to make Chocolate Cherry Brownies
Make the Brownies
- Pit and slice the fresh cherries.
- Add the dried cherries into a microwave safe bowl. Pour water over the cherries until they are fully submerged. Microwave for 30 seconds then remove from the microwave and cover the bowl with a lid or foil. Set aside while preparing the brownies.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- Line a 9″x9″ metal pan with parchment paper or spray with a baking spray that has flour in it.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Then whisk in the sugar and heat again for 30 seconds, and whisk again to combine.
- Add in the cocoa powder, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Stir again to combine. Whisk in the eggs one at a time.
- Pour the flour, baking powder, chocolate chips/chunks, fresh cherries, and soaked and drained dried cherries into the bowl.
- Use a rubber spatula to fold the flour, chocolate, and cherries into the wet ingredients. Pour the brownie batter into the lined pan and place on the middle rack in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan 180º and bake for another 15-20 until the top is shiny and a toothpick comes out clean – it’s ok if it has a little chocolate residue just not raw batter.
Assemble the brownies
- Once baked, allow the brownies to cool fully.
- Remove the brownies from the pan and cut into 16 squares.
- *Optionally top with whipped cream
- Whip the cold cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
- Scoop the whipped cream into a piping bag and pipe or spread the whipped cream onto the brownies.
- I have chosen to top it with fresh cherries, but I recommend pitting the cherries first or using jarred sour cherries instead.
Black Forest Brownies
- Stand Mixer
- 100 grams dried tart cherries
- 200 grams dark sweet cherries 180 grams pitted, more for topping
- 200 grams butter melted
- 350 grams granulated sugar
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 100 grams cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Espresso Powder
- 120 grams all purpose flour
- 300 grams semisweet chocolate chips
- 250 milliliters heavy cream cold
- 50 grams powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Line a 9" x 9" metal baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pit and slice the fresh cherries in half.
- Place the dried cherries in a microwave bowl and cover with water.
- Microwave for 1 minute, then cover with a lid or foil and set aside.
- In a separate large, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in 10-15 second increments.
- Pour the granulated sugar into the melted butter and whisk together.
- Microwave again for 30 seconds and whisk once more.
- Add the cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, and vanilla, into the butter and sugar mixture and whisk together.
- Add the eggs one at a time into the batter and whisk until fully combined
- Pour the flour, baking powder, strained dried cherries, fresh cherries, and chocolate chips into the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Use a rubber spatula to mix together.
- Pour the brownie batter into the lined baking pan. Bake on the center rack in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then rotate 180º and bake for another 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out with no batter stuck to it.
- Once baked, remove the brownies from the oven and leave to cool fully.
Assemble the Brownies
- Once the brownies have cooled, remove them from the pan with the parchment paper.
- Use a long sharp knife to cut the brownies into 16 pieces.
- Whip the cold cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
- Pipe or spread the whipped cream onto the brownies and optionally top with fresh or jarred cherries.