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No-Bake Vegan Black Forest Cake (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.

The perfect indulgent but healthy dessert: this No-bake Vegan Black Forest Cake is surprisingly easy to make but looks and tastes incredible!

One slice of No-Bake Black Forest Cake sits on a white plate, surrounded by flakes of chocolate, some cherries and a silver fork. The cake is decorated with white coconut whipped cream and a single cherry.

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 my 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.

One slice of No-Bake Black Forest Cake sits on a white plate to the left of the image, surrounded by flakes of chocolate, some cherries and a silver fork. The cake is decorated with white coconut whipped cream and a single cherry.

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!)

A single slice of cake is on a white plate on a white marble background, surrounded by cutlery and cherries. The slice is decorated with coconut whipped cream, a single cherry and dark chocolate flakes.
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.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

No-Bake Vegan Black Forest Cake (gluten-free)

The perfectly indulgent but healthy dessert: this No-bake Vegan Black Forest Cake is surprisingly easy to make but looks and tastes incredible!
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cooling Time For Cherry Filling1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: gluten-free, healthy, vegan
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Cherry Filling

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

Raw Cake

  • 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

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 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 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.

To assemble

  • 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 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, 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.)

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, just add a bit more maple syrup to ensure the berries are sweet enough.
 
 - For the cake base, feel free to use a mix of sunflower seeds and walnuts if you want to make it more cost-effective. 2 cups walnuts and 1 cup sunflower seeds works well as a substitute - you might need to add a little more coconut oil to make the mixture stick together.
 
- If you're struggling with making the cream filling, just follow my step-by-step guide on how to make coconut whipped cream here

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

A single slice of cake is on a white plate on a white marble background, surrounded by cutlery and cherries. The slice is decorated with coconut whipped cream, a single cherry and dark chocolate flakes.This No-Bake Black Forest Cake is one rich and decadent cake. Homemade raw chocolate cake, cherry jam filling, and topped with whipped coconut cream. The best part? You'll have most of the ingredients in your pantry already so it's the perfect store cupboard recipe! #blackforest #cake #coconut #vegan

Comments 6

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      That’s great Ronak! Thanks so much for your comment. It’s a favourite recipe of mine so I’m really glad it worked out for you. 🙂

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