black forest ice cream cake

Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

black forest ice cream cake | A Brown Table

This week marks the four year anniversary of this blog. It’s been one amazing journey and I’m grateful for all the friendships and opportunities it has brought along the way. The start of this week also marked an important “holiday” one that I hold dear to my heart,  National Ice cream day and though, I’m two days late, an ice cream cake seemed the perfect way to celebrate. And of course, I’ll do anything to stay cool in this hot weather.

This black forest cake, is an ice cream version and it uses the cherry labneh kefir ice cream I shared last week. I took a lot of liberty with the flavor combinations so it’s not one hundred percent a black forest cake by definition. At first I was tempted to layer the cake with chocolate ice cream and throw in some chopped cherries but that would overwhelm the strong chocolate flavor of the cake and it would be flat. But with this flavor combination you can taste the chocolate and cherry flavor in every bite… and the ice cream has chunks of chocolate.

The buttermilk based chocolate layer cake recipe is from one of my favorite baking books, The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book. The cake has a soft crumb and is very moist and is a great recipe to use when making other chocolate layer cakes. This cake is also loaded with a good amount of chocolate flavor and the best part, it’s relatively easy to make at home.

In other news, I’m also writing a new column at Food52 on easy Indian cooking at home and besides recipes, I will also share tips and hints on what you need to have in your kitchen to cook a tasty Indian meal.

black forest ice cream cake | A Brown Table

black forest ice cream cake | A Brown Table

black forest ice cream cake | A Brown Table

black forest ice cream cake | A Brown Table

black forest ice cream cake | A Brown Table

black forest ice cream cake | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake;

  • Both the cakes and the ice cream can be made a day in advance. If you assemble the ice cream cake the morning of and then let it sit in the freezer to set for several hours before serving.
  • I didn’t do this but you can spray the chocolate cakes with a little kirsch to bump up the cherry flavor. There is no need for simple syrup to moisten the cake as it will crystallize
  • This chocolate buttermilk cake has a very tender crumb but it is also easy to handle. For an even layer trim the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife to create a flat surface.
  • You can also fold 1/2 cup of chopped maraschino cherries into the ice cream to add more fruit.

Here are some other recipes you might like:

black forest ice cream cake | A Brown Table

black forest ice cream cake

yields: one 9 inch layer cake

cherry labneh kefir ice cream – one batch

chocolate buttermilk layer cake (from The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book)

yields: 2 x 9 inch cakes


4 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate chips (65% cacao)

1/4 cup (21.26gm/ 3/4 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 cup boiling hot water

1 3/4 cups (347.28gm/ 12 1/4 ounces) fine-grain sugar

1 3/4 cups (248.06gm/ 8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon fine-grain salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon kirsch

4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, room temperature

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Place a wire rack at mid level in the oven and preheat to 350F. Grease and line two 9 inch circular cake pans with parchment paper, keep aside until ready to use. 

2. Place the chocolate and cocoa in a medium-size mixing bowl. Pour the boiling hot water into the bowl and stir with whisk until all the chocolate has melted. Add 1/2 cup sugar to the melted chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Keep aside until cool.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, dry whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir the buttermilk, vanilla and kirsch together. 

4. Add the eggs and yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium-low speed until just combined for around 10 seconds. Pour in the remaining sugar and increase the speed to high. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy but pale yellow, for about 3 minutes. Remove the whisk and replace with the paddle attachment. 

5. Add the cooled chocolate mixture from step 1 into the bowl and mix on medium-low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed with a silicone spatula. Then add the butter, one teaspoon at a time and mix for 10 seconds after each addition.

6. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk mix in the last two additions. Mix at medium-low speed until completely combined and no visible flecks of flour can be seen. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and bake them in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, rotating them halfway through the baking process. The cakes are done when a skewer comes out clean from the center after insertion. 

7. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the cakes from the pan by running a knife along the edges of the cake. Cool completely for at least two hours. Wrap the cakes individually in parchment paper and then aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 4 hours before using.

To assemble the cake:

1. Leave the ice cream outside to soften for at least 10 minutes. It should be soft enough to manipulate but not runny.

2. Line a 9 inch springform cake pan on the bottom and sides with parchment paper. You can also use an acetate sheet cut to size to get a smoother finish. Unwrap one of the frozen cakes and place it at the bottom of the springform pan. Layer the surface with about 2 cups of the softened ice cream. Quickly place the second cake over the ice cream and repeat the layer of ice cream. Smoothen the layers of ice cream using an offset spatula. Cover the entire cake with aluminum foil and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving. Store in the freezer.

3. Pop the springform mechanism to release the cake and peel the parchment paper off. Decorate the cake with fresh cherries and semisweet dark chocolate shavings. The cones are optional. 

21 Responses

  1. blackforest cake (the Indian version) is one of my favorite recipes…hoping you will share that someday so i can make it in my kitchen too 🙂 and this cake looks so freaking good. congratulations Nik on your anniversary,,you are a major inspiration to many of us 🙂

  2. Your cakes are always perfection. they always make me tempted to try a layer cake myself, even if they seem super intimidating and complicated haha.

    Congratulations, Nik! On both the 4 years and the Food52 column. I can’t wait to learn more about Indian food :). So lovely to meet you last week. Rendezvous again this winter!

  3. your photography is amazing.. looks so beautiful. so that’s how you make ice-cream cake, never knew.

  4. This cake is amazing. These photos are amazing. And your new column is.. I think you know where I’m going with this. 🙂 So excited to properly stock my pantry and cook up some traditional Indian dishes. HIP HIP! xo

  5. Shoot. I just realized I never commented on this. It’s totally been on my mind all week… I mean, who could forget such a gorgeous creation?

    Happy happy blog anniversary!!!! And congrats on your new feature! I’ll be following along!

  6. A super super belated YAYYYY for your four-year blogiversary and this crazy amazing cake, Nik!! We’re so lucky to have your creations grace the blogosphere, this not the least of them. Thanks for sharing all that you do, friend 🙂

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