No-Bake Black Forest Cake (vegan & gluten-free)

Shot of No-Bake Black Forest Cake, showing slice of chocolate-flavoured raw cake with layers of cherry jam and coconut cream. The cake is decorated with a whole cherry and chocolate shavings. It is placed on a white plate on a white marble countertop, and is surrounded by silver cutlery, a cake slice, cherries and more chocolate shavings.


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I first shared the recipe for this No-Bake Black Forest Cake exclusively with my newsletter subscribers several months ago. It was a recipe I was really pleased with (I’m obsessed with anything Black Forest flavoured) and I had some good feedback, so decided I couldn’t just leave it to languish in peoples’ inboxes. A few weeks later, I posted it on my Instagram. And the post EXPLODED. I’ve never had so much interest in one post before, and the recipe was even featured by Best of Vegan.

This No-Bake Black Forest Cake quickly became my most popular Instagram post ever, and much to my surprise gained me quite a few new followers. However, I still felt that the recipe deserved a permanent home, so am finally sharing it with you here! If you love traditional Black Forest Gateau, why not give this no-bake version a try? It’s a little healthier but is still completely delicious. The flavour combination of chocolate, cherry and cream is one of my all-time favourites, and I hope you’ll see why here.

No-Bake Black Forest Cake – The Recipe


This recipe combines the traditional Black Forest flavours of cherry, chocolate and cream to create a delicious dessert, but there are differences to the traditional version. The most obvious being that this is, essentially, a raw cake (except for the cooked cherry filling). Whilst it is delicious (really, I’m not just saying that), I can’t deny that it tastes different to a baked cake because of this. So don’t expect a fluffy sponge!

Raw cakes are also very nutrient-dense so you’ll likely find that this cake is very filling! Personally, I love desserts like this because I don’t ever get a sugar crash after eating them. You may however want to make your portions slightly smaller for this reason. You’ll probably find you need less of it to feel satisfied.

No-Bake Black Forest Cake (vegan & gluten-free)

For a deliciously decadent but nutritious dessert, try this No-Bake Black Forest Cake, featuring chocolate, cherries and whipped coconut cream. It will leave you feeling satisfied without the sugar slump!
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cooling Time For Cherry Filling1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: gluten-free, healthy, vegan
Keyword: black forest gateau, cake, cherry, chocolate, raw
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Raw Cake

  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 16 small dates
  • ½ cup raw cacao powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt

Cherry Filling

  • 2 cups cherries, halved and with stones removed
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Cream

  • 1 492ml can full fat coconut milk (stored in the fridge overnight)

Decoration

  • 8 squares your favourite dark chocolate, grated or roughly chopped with a knife
  • Several fresh cherries, halved

Instructions

To make the cake

  • Line two 5-6" round cake tins with baking parchment. If you don't have two cake tins of this size, you can line two similar-sized square or rectangular plastic food containers with baking parchment. 
  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until a sticky dough forms.
  • (If you don't have a food processor, add the walnuts to a blender and process until they form a flour. Remove from the blender and blend the dates the same way until they are broken into small pieces. Add the walnut flour, date pieces and all other cake ingredients to a large bowl and mix together with your hands until a dough forms.)
  • Divide the dough between the two cake tins and press it down flat with your fingers until smooth.
  • Put the cake tins in the freezer while you complete the next step.

To make the cherry filling

  • Add the cherries to a small saucepan and simmer on a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until they have partially broken down. 
  • Place in a blender and blend for 10 seconds or until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  • Pour into a bowl and stir in the chia seeds and maple syrup (if using).
  • Allow the mixture to cool, then store it in the fridge for one hour to firm up.

To make the cream

  • Remove the can of coconut milk from the fridge and open it. Scrape out the hardened coconut cream that has solidified in the top half of the can into a large bowl. (The leftover coconut water isn't needed for this recipe. You can use it in smoothies or on cereal, or just drink it!)
  • Using an electric whisk, beat the cream for 3-5 minutes, until it is lump-free and fluffy. It should have roughly the same consistency as whipped cream. Store in the fridge until needed to keep the cream firm.
  • Once the cherry filling has firmed up, remove the cakes from the freezer and remove them from their tins, being careful not to break them.

To assemble

  • Add a thick layer of the cherry filling to the top of one cake, followed by a layer of cream.
  • Sandwich the other cake on top of this, and repeat the process of adding a layer of cherries and cream to the top. 
  • Decorate with the cherry halves and grated dark chocolate, and serve immediately!
  • (If you find this cake tricky to slice, simply wait a few minutes for the layers to soften slightly.)

Notes

If making the cherry filling is too much of a time commitment, you can substitute your favourite cherry jam instead. 
You can also substitute berries in this recipe if you don't have any cherries, you just might need to add more maple syrup to ensure the berries are sweet enough.

Love raw dessert recipes? Why not try my Avocado Chocolate Mousse, Raw Walnut Brownies or my Coconut Goji Energy Bites?

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