No-Bake Black Forest Cake

gf vegan black forest cake recipe

When it comes to delicious classic cakes, black forest is right up there among my favorites. Hard to beat a lush and rich cherry, chocolate, and whip cream combo, isn't it?

This no-bake approach to a black forest cake turned out to be a winner around here. No baking, no fuss. Tons of flavor. It's a nice way to keep things cool while enjoying this classic combo in warmer weather, especially when cherries are in season. If you've been wondering how to make a black forest cake without an oven, this recipe is totally for you :)

vegan no-bake black forest cake

Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser / Black Forest Cherry Torte

The chocolate cake part here is made of a layer of no-bake "flourless" chocolate cake (similar to this classic oldie blog favorite), which is naturally gluten-free and grain-free, and is infused with some delicious cherry flavor inside for good measure.

Traditional black forest cakes are typically also flavored with alcohol. That's actually where the cake's name comes from: a liquor called Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser (or Black Forest Kirsch), which is a type Brandy made from black morello cherries. The cake originated in Germany, with this tart cherry kirsch being a signature cake component. Apparently in Bavaria it's not even legal to call a cake "Black Forest" without the liquor in it!

Well, in typical unconventional style (what else is new... ;) ), besides making this particular black forest cake vegan, no-bake, and gluten/grain-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, etc., I also didn't have any liquor on hand while making this recipe so I skipped that part. I found it very flavorful as is, so no regrets.

However, I usually make the flourless chocolate cake mentioned above with a tiny bit of Kahlua (1 tsp) or rum and it does the trick for me, so if you're feeling a nudge in that direction, go for it.

Just note: unlike with a baked cake, a tiny amount of liquor goes a long way as a flavor enhancer. The original isn't meant to be an overly alcoholic cake anyhow -- rather a subtle addition that pairs well with the chocolate and cherry cake profile.

slice of no-bake black forest cake

Cherry Jam for Black Forest Cake

For the jam, you can use a ready made cherry jam of your choice. Use a thick and chunky variety, as you don't want it to be too thin/runny for spreading. St. Dalfour black cherry jam works well.

Or if you're a DIY all the way kind of a person, this refined sugar-free cherry jam recipe works great (make a double batch so you've got plenty of jam to work with).

gluten-free vegan chocolate cherry cake

Vegan Whipped Cream for Topping the Cherry Chocolate Cake

For the vegan whipped cream topping in this cake I used a simple coconut whipped cream. I put the directions on how to make it in the notes below the recipe, but wanted to share a few additional tips here:

  • I recommend frosting the cake with the whipped cream (and other toppings) right before serving.
  • This type of whipped cream topping works best if you're planning on serving and finishing the cake off in one go (i.e. for a party, etc.). Otherwise the whip can soften after a while as it sits so if you're saving leftovers (especially if you freeze and defrost the cake) for later, the whip can get a bit more runny / unruly and therefore won't be as graceful-looking for serving (though still totally delicious).
  • As a workaround, if you want the whip to hold its shape better regardless of freezing / defrosting, you can add a few tablespoon of melted coconut butter (manna) to it as you're whipping it up. Once the cake is frosted and decorated, chill it for 10-15 mins and the whipped cream will solidify more and will retain its shape better for future serving (so long as it's not super hot where you are, as naturally the fats within the coconut cream and butter will liquefy in very hot conditions). Adding a bit of coconut manna to the whipped cream will also enable you to keep the cake refrigerated (instead of frozen), which is an added bonus since you won't have to wait for it to thaw out to dig in.
  • Note: if adding the coconut manna in (as per previous point), warm it up gently first so that it's runny / very soft. Once you add it to the whipped coconut cream mix it in right away (as it will start to solidify again when it comes into contact with the whipped coconut cream). Frost with this mixture right away. It helps if your cake is frozen or thoroughly chilled ahead of time to help the whipped cream frosting to set faster.
  • If you've never made it before, vegan coconut whipped cream is one of the easiest and quickest things, once you get the hang of it. Just wanted to note that you need to start the process a day ahead as the coconut milk (the central component of the whip) has to be chilled overnight in the fridge. See notes in the recipe for further details.

no-bake vegan black forest cake topped with fresh whipped cream cherries and chocolate

P.S. If you love desserts made with fresh cherries, here are a couple more recipes you might enjoy:

No bake black forest cake (vegan recipe)

No-Bake Black Forest Cake

  • Author: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: Dessert


A no-bake, gluten-free vegan spin on a classic black forest cake recipe. A delicious layer of rich chocolate cake, topped with cherry jam and vegan whip.


Chocolate Base


  • ¾ cup cherry jam*
  • ¾ cup coconut whipped cream**
  • fresh cherries
  • dark chocolate shavings (non-dairy)


1. Process all chocolate cake ingredients in a food processor into a fudge-brownie consistency. Transfer into a 7" tart pan with a removable bottom, and press down to compress and smooth out the mixture along the base, and slightly going up around the edges. Top with an even layer of cherry jam. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours.

2. Un-mold the cake (you might need to thaw it on the counter for a few minutes first to get it out of the mold). Top with an even layer of coconut whipped cream. Decorate with some fresh cherries and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Enjoy!**


*For the cherry jam, feel free to use a chunky/thicker cherry jam of your choice (St. Dalfour jam works well here) or can make your own using this recipe.

**Coconut whipped cream can be made at home from a can of full fat coconut milk -- I like the Thai Kitchen brand best for this purpose (the "premium" milk, and not the "lite"), and for this recipe I used the one large 400ml can. Chill the can in the fridge overnight, which will cause the cream to separate in the can and firm up near the top (when you open the can you'll see firm firm white stuff gathered at the top -- you should get about ¾ cup of it). You want to scoop out this solid white cream only into a mixing bowl, taking care not to scoop any of the coconut water along with it (as it will make your whip runny and not stiff). Whip that mixture with a hand mixed until fluffy, then add in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and whip again to create the whipped cream. Note that it’s very important for the full fat coconut milk can to be chilled first so it separates. If the solids aren’t this thick when you open the can, the whip isn’t going to work as well and will be too liquid:

coconut cream layer

**Note: I recommend keeping any leftovers frozen as the whipped cream will begin to get runny after a while if in hot weather. Alternatively, you can add some melted coconut butter (a few tbsp) to the whipped cream, and once the cake is frosted with it, chill it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Afterwards you can keep the cake in the fridge instead of in the freezer, as the whipped cream layer will remain a little firmer.

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