Black Forest Cake – Grain, Starches, Dairy and Sugar Free

My first Black Forest cake recipe for this blog was created some time ago, when cacao powder, even in its raw organic form, was not on the list of allowed ingredients, and only honey was used as a sweetener. Since that time there were some positive developments that allowed  cacao powder and glucose powder (as a sweetener in a dry form) to appear on the ingredients list. With these two new ingredients I was able to create the recipe for grain, starches and dairy free chocolate sponge, based on apple puree, eggs, glucose powder, almond meal and cacao powder. This batter is flexible and versatile, chocolate sponge can be used to make different desserts, as well as cakes. But I was waiting for a cream recipe, to be an equal partner to chocolate almond sponge. When I made mango and coconut cream, one of my another accidental recipes, it became clear to me, that it can be paired with chocolate sponge. I offer you my second Black Forest cake recipe with all dietary restrictions of this blog.

The design of this cake is similar to gluten free Black Forrest cake, which I baked for our 2016 Christmas lunch. Sponge layers in gluten free cake were the same, but the cream was based on pastry cream mixed with whipped cream and thickened with leaf gelatin.

For the recipe below I couldn’t use commercial chocolate for cake decoration, so I used dried crumbs of chocolate sponge to replace it. Two sweeteners were used for this cake: honey for cream and candied cherries, and glucose powder for the chocolate sponge.

The cake has a strong and stable texture, resistant enough to have a clean-cut for a slice. It is also moist with several distinct flavours, that of bitter chocolate, sweet and sour cherry and mango/citrus cream. This combination of flavours may sound strange, but surprisingly works well together.



ingredients are given for 1 layer, I made the cake with 3 sponge layers, prepared and baked separately

  • 100g pure apple puree, I used SPC blended apple pie filling
  • 1 large egg (50-54g without shell)
  • 50g pure glucose powder
  • 60g almond meal
  • 20g organic pure cocoa powder
  • 3g baking soda


  • 500g frozen mango cubes, fully defrosted
  • 20g lemon juice
  • 180g honey
  • 30g chia seeds
  • 270-280g can of coconut cream, I used 28% fat

candied cherries

  • 500g pitted frozen cherries
  • 40ml lemon juice
  • 160g honey


  • coconut oil to grease the pan
  • fresh cherries for decoration


to accommodate different restrictions


Equivalent quantity of regular sugar can be used to replace glucose powder. For less intense chocolate flavour use 15g of cacao powder and 70g of almond meal.

Sponge layers for the cake can be baked in round shape. When 16cm springform pan is used, bake only 2 sponges, each sponge can be cut in 2 layers, thus making 4 thinner sponge layers. There will be enough cream to make 4 sponge layers round cake.


Leaf gelatin or corn starch could be used as alternative thickeners for the cream if completely homogeneous texture of the cream is desired and above mentioned ingredients are tolerated.


candied cherries and syrup

can be prepared in advance and stored refrigerated

  • defrost cherries in a sauce pan
  • add lemon juice and honey
  • cook on low heat up to a boiling point and 5 minutes after, rest until cooled down
  • repeat the process 2-3 times
  • finally cook until 2 serving spoons of syrup are left in the sauce pan
  • drain cooked cherries and collect the syrup in a separate glass jar/container
  • make sure you checked for pips, I have found 2
  • keep cherries separately, I usually spread them on a baking paper, measured to the size of the cake
  • cover spread cherries with baking paper, press it down to squeeze all air pockets
  • store in zipped plastic bag to prevent drying out


can be baked the day before making the cake, can be baked on the day as well

  • sponge batter preparation and baking with step by step photos can be found here.
  • prepare springform pan with greased sheet of baking paper fixed on the bottom
  • grease sides of the tin with coconut oil
  • mix all dry ingredients
  • beat eggs with apple puree and glucose until pale and double in volume
  • add dry ingredients to wet, mix them with a whisk
  • spoon/pour the batter into the pan
  • level the surface of the batter
  • bake in preheated fan forced oven 165C for 30 minutes
  • use collected cherry syrup on warm sponge, cut off to the size of the cake, warm up the syrup before use to make in runny

chocolate crumbs

  • turn baked sponge over to a baking paper, I cut both ends off to make rectangular layer 22cm on a long side
  • break sponge cut offs  into small pieces and bake them for 10-15 minutes in 130C oven until completely dry
  • when dry sponge pieces become room temperature use blender to make crumbs, I used 2 textures for the crumbs, fine for the sides of the cake and coarse to decorate the top of the cake


best prepared the day before assembling the cake

  • defrost mango cubes until they completely soft
  • blend mango cubes with a stick blender until fine texture is reached
  • add lemon juice and blend more
  • put mango lemon puree through a sieve (optional)
  • add coconut cream and honey and blend until fully combined
  • pour the mixture in a sauce pan, heat it constantly stirring until boiling point
  • add chia seeds
  • cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring
  • take from heat and let it rest for 20-30 minutes, can be left for 1-2 hours
  • heat the mixture again, stirring, cook 3-4 minutes after reaching boiling point
  • the mixture is thick, be careful and use low heat
  • transfer the cream into a bowl, handy for whisking cream later, when it is set
  • cover the bowl with glad wrap
  • refrigerate the cream after it reaches room temperature
  • whisk before use to loosen the cream, it will be set and reasonably solid

making the cake

  • prepare your working surface, use large chopping board lined with 2 sheets of baking paper (it will make the process much easier)
  • 2 sponge layers are treated with cherry syrup
  • the third layer is for candied cherries
  • apply cream to the third layer
  • place candied cherries on top
  • use cream on top of the cherries layer

  • use cream generously, it will be easy to collect side leaks and reuse cream again
  • place another sponge layer on top
  • repeat the process of applying cream

  • when all the cake is covered with cream, level the top surface and side of the cake
  • press the sheet of baking paper to the sides of the cake
  • use the second sheet of baking paper to place the cake inside springform pan, this will keep the correct shape of the cake
  • refrigerate the cake for 2-3 hours
  • I did not wait for the cream to set overnight, that is why I had to use a pause to allow the cream to become thicker, I finished cake assembly and decoration the next day (when the cream rests overnight this is not necessary and cake assembly can be done in one go
  • apply fine chocolate sponge crumbs to the side of the cake
  • place fresh cherries on top of the cream
  • use coarse crumbs to decorate the top of the cake
  • this cake have to be stored refrigerated

I made this cake was a birthday gift for our friend.

3 thoughts on “Black Forest Cake – Grain, Starches, Dairy and Sugar Free

  1. OH, my! I was looking for a chocolate cake recipe in preparation of my daughter’s graduation surprise party! This looks like THE recipe I needed. However, I do not wish to use glucose – may I ask you what you would suggest as a substitute? The same amount in cane sugar?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joelle,
      Any dry sugar will do nicely, my problem always was to find any dry sweetener that can be tolerated by a person for whom I create all these recipes. She can tolerate only honey, so I made an educated guess that she might tolerate pure glucose. It proved to be right. Now I can make anything having the dry sweetener option. Makes my life so much easier. But for those without any problems tolerating sugar any kind will work in the recipe.

      Liked by 1 person

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