The perfect indulgent but healthy dessert: this No-bake Vegan Black Forest Cake is surprisingly easy to make but looks and tastes incredible!
I first shared the recipe for this No-Bake Vegan 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 great feedback, so decided I couldn't just leave it to languish in peoples' inboxes.
A few weeks later, I posted it on Instagram. And the post EXPLODED. I've never had so much interest in one post before, and it was even featured by Best of Vegan. Suffice to say, it's a recipe you guys seem to love, and that makes me so happy because I love it too!
This vegan 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 on the blog!
If you love traditional Black Forest Gateau, why not give this no-bake version a try? It's a little healthier and more protein-rich but is still utterly delicious. The flavour combination of chocolate, cherry and cream is one of my all-time favourites, and I hope you'll feel the same way after trying it.
No-Bake Vegan 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 from the original.
The most obvious being that this is, essentially, a raw cake (except for the lightly cooked cherry filling). Whilst it is delicious (really, I'm not just saying that!), it naturally tastes a bit different to a baked cake because of this. So don't expect a fluffy sponge!
Raw cakes are also very nutrient-dense and high in protein 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 want to make your portions slightly smaller for this reason though. You'll probably find you need less to feel satisfied!
(See my notes below the recipe for tips and substitutions.)
1) Does this no bake cake taste the same as a regular Black Forest Cake?
Not exactly! Because the base is made from nuts, dates and cacao, it tastes more like a really chocolatey energy ball or raw brownie. Lots of nutritious ingredients but with a definite indulgent feel.
2) Is it important to scatter some fresh cherry pieces over the filling?
Yes! The cake base itself is quite solid, so if you don't do this, as soon as you cut into it the cake base will squash the cherry/cream filling down and it'll splurge out the side! The fresh cherry pieces add a bit of structure to the cake to stop this happening.
3) Where does Black Forest Cake come from?
Black Forest Gateau takes its name from the sour cherries of the Black Forest in Germany. A kirsch alcohol made from these cherries was used in a chocolate layer cake decorated with cherries and whipped cream, and was popularized in Germany and Switzerland. For a more in depth explanation - check out this article.
No-Bake Vegan Black Forest Cake (gluten-free)
- 1½ cups cherries, halved and with stones removed
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
- 3 cups walnuts (see note below for substitutions)
- 16 small dates
- ½ cup raw cacao powder
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 492ml can full fat coconut milk (stored in the fridge overnight)
- 8 squares your favourite dark chocolate, grated or roughly chopped with a knife
- 12 fresh cherries, halved
To make the cherry filling
- Add the 1½ cups 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 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 for a square cake.
- 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 for 30 minutes to set.
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 and cakes have set, remove them from the fridge and freezer. Remove the cakes from their tins, being careful not to break them.
- Add a thick layer of the cherry filling (about half the amount) to the top of one cake, followed by a layer of coconut cream (about half the cream).
- Slice 6 of your decorative set-aside cherry halves into quarters, and scatter evenly over the cream (this will help stop the cream/jam from splurging out of the cake when you cut it later - it gives it a bit more structural integrity!).
- Sandwich the other cake on top of this, and repeat the process of adding a layer of cherry filling and cream to the top.
- Decorate with the remaining cherry halves and grated dark chocolate, and serve immediately!
- (If you find this cake tricky to slice, wait a few minutes for the layers to soften slightly. The fillings are naturally pretty messy and will splurge out as your slice it - embrace this! It's part of the fun.)