The Washington Post

Black Forest Icebox Cake

Black Forest Icebox Cake 12.000

Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post

Aug 25, 2021

The classic Black Forest cake is a delightful combination of chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries and kirsch, a clear cherry brandy. Here, it gets turned into an icebox cake, perfect for the warmer parts of the year, by swapping out the chocolate cake for store-bought cookies. Instead of a plain whipped cream, this one includes cream cheese for a tart, more stable version. It is sweetened with cherry preserves and spiked with kirsch for extra cherry flavor. Kirsch is traditional in this dessert, but you could omit it to make this recipe alcohol-free, if desired.

Active time: 30 mins; Total time: 30 mins, plus at least 6 hours’ chilling

Make Ahead: The unsliced cake will keep loosely covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or frozen, after it has set up in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, for up to 1 month. Defrost the cake in the refrigerator overnight before you plan to serve it.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated, and are best within 1 day.

Where to Buy: Other options for thin chocolate cookies include Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, Tate's Bake Shop Double Chocolate Chip or Goya Maria Chocolate Cookies.

12 - 16

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12-16 servings

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups (720 milliliters) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (8 1/2 ounces/240 grams) cherry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch
  • 50 (7 ounces/200 grams) thin chocolate wafer cookies, such as 365 by Whole Foods Market Brownie Cookie Thins
  • 2 cups (11 ounces/310 grams) stemmed, pitted and halved sweet cherries, plus optional stem-on cherries for decorating


Grease the sides of a round 9-inch springform pan that is 3 inches deep with cooking spray. Line the sides with a strip of parchment.

Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Turn off the mixer, add the heavy cream, cherry preserves and kirsch and whisk on low until incorporated. Gradually increase the speed to medium-high and whisk the mixture until it holds stiff peaks, 1 to 2 minutes, making sure to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula so that it is fully incorporated.

Spread a layer of whipped cream (scant 2 cups/12 ounces) on the bottom of the pan and cover with a layer of cookies, filling any gaps with broken cookies (breaking them, if necessary). You want a reasonably solid layer where the pieces touch or overlap a little bit, but it doesn't need to be completely solid. Scatter 2/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces/100 grams) cherries on top of the cookies. Continue layering with the whipped cream, cookies and cherries two more times, ending with a final layer of cream.

Cover the top of the cake and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, and up to overnight. Crumble any remaining cookies and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To serve, remove the sides of the pan and peel away the parchment strip. Place the cake on a serving plate, sprinkle the top with the reserved crumbled cookies, garnish with whole cherries, if using, and slice as you would a layer cake.

NOTE: If you want to cut the cake into thin pieces to get 16 slices, it is best to freeze it for about 30 minutes first.

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Recipe Source

From Voraciously staff writer Aaron Hutcherson.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson and Becky Krystal.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 16): 336

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 26g 40%

Saturated Fat: 15g 75%

Cholesterol: 85mg 28%

Sodium: 171mg 7%

Total Carbohydrates: 24g 8%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 17g

Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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