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Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake

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Someone once asked me what would be the one cake I would always choose for my birthday. From all the cakes out there I would always choose Black Forest Gateau. The combination of dark chocolate with sweet-tart cherries and fluffy cream is just irresistible. If you haven't tried the dark chocolate-cherry combo, you don't know what you're missing!

Traditional Black Forest Gateau is not guilt-free but it didn't take long to figure out how to make mine low-carb and gluten-free. Some of you may argue it's not exactly keto or ultra low-carb but that depends on your carb tolerance. And let's not forget this is a treat for special occasions and not to be eaten every day.

If you are dairy-free, you could easily swap the cream-mascarpone layer for coconut cream and the butter for coconut oil or ghee. Just keep in mind this will add extra carbs from the coconut cream.

So what's the key ingredient in this healthy dessert recipe? My Low-Carb Cherry Amarenata! Although you could use any low-carb chia jam, Amarenata takes this decadent cake to the next level. It raises the carb count more than other options but it's almost irreplaceable.

I won't lie, this cake takes a lot of effort and it's not something I would make every Sunday but that's what birthdays are for, right? Mine happen to be at the end of October and this cake is already on my wish list 😉

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Here's what the process looks like so you know what to expect before you decide to give it a go — trust me, it's worth all the effort!

I made a batch of my Amarenata while I baked the cake base. Once the cake cooled down, I cut one of the thicker sponges in half so I ended up with 3 layers. I then used wooden skewers to poke a few holes in the crispy cake tops to allow the delicious vanilla & cinnamon flavoured Amarenata cherry syrup into the sponges. This made the brownie cake moist and infused it with even more flavour.

The Amarenata can be prepared with frozen cherries so you can make this healthy grain-free cake even when cherries are not in season. The fresh cherry topping is optional because it's not always possible to get fresh fruit. Instead, you can sprinkle it with grated dark chocolate which is ideal if you want to add candles, on top.

So there you go — this is my perfect birthday cake. Now I want to know about yours!

Note: Instead of cream of tartar and baking soda, you could use 4 teaspoons of gluten-free baking powder. 1 teaspoon of baking powder = 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar + 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. The remaining 1/4 in baking powders is usually made of anti-caking agents like corn starch or other starches. That's why I prefer using cream of tartar and baking soda.

Hands-on Overall

Serving size 1 slice

Allergy information for Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake

✔  Gluten free
✔  Nightshade free
✔  Pork free
✔  Avocado free
✔  Coconut free
✔  Fish free
✔  Shellfish free
✔  Beef free

Nutritional values (per serving, 1 slice)

Net carbs8.6 grams
Protein11.3 grams
Fat44.6 grams
Calories482 kcal
Calories from carbs 7%, protein 9%, fat 84%
Total carbs11.8 gramsFiber3.3 gramsSugars6.9 gramsSaturated fat24.6 gramsSodium147 mg(6% RDA)Magnesium72 mg(18% RDA)Potassium327 mg(16% EMR)

Ingredients (makes 16 servings)

Cake base:


  1. Start by making the Low-Carb Amarenata - follow these instructions. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  2. Depending on your palate, you may not need to use any sweeteners in the Amarenata. In this batch I skipped the arrowroot to keep the Amarenata syrup runny. Once ready, set aside (it will take about 30 minutes to cook). Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  3. While your Amarenata is cooking, prepare the chocolate brownie cake base. Preheat the oven to 160 °C/ 320 °F. Place a bowl over a pot of water and bring to boil. Keep on low heat and make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl (or use a double boiler). Place the dark chocolate into the bowl and let it melt gently.
  4. When melted, take off the heat. Add the butter cut into pieces and let it melt while stirring. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  5. In another bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, whey protein powder, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  6. In a third bowl, use a hand mixer or a hand whisk to mix the eggs, Erythritol, yogurt and vanilla extract. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  7. To the same bowl, add the melted dark chocolate and process until smooth and creamy. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  8. Add the dry ingredients and process until well combined.
  9. Place the brownie batter into a lined spring form. I used one spring form and one same sized baking dish (18 cm/ 7 inch in diameter each) and pour about two thirds of the batter in the spring form (this will be cut in half) and the remaining third in the lined baking dish. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until set and a wooden skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Time to bake depends on the thickness (the smaller sponge will take less time to bake). Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  11. When done, remove from the oven and let it cool down completely before cutting and assembling the cake. Once cooled, use a large sharp knife to cut the thicker cake base widthwise in half. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  12. In order for the Amarenata to get absorbed by the cake, use a wooden skewer to poke a few holes in the crispy top parts of the cake. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  13. To make the filling, in a bowl, beat the cream and mascarpone. Optionally, add sweetener to taste. I skipped sweetener in mine. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  14. Start assembling the cake (note: you have 3 chocolate cake layers, and you will need to divide the amarenata in 3 parts and the cream in 3 parts). Place the first cake layer, cut side up, on a cake tray. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the Amarenata syrup (without cherry pieces) on top and let it soak in. Add about a third of the mascarpone-cream topping. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  15. Top with about a third of the Amarenata. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  16. Add the second cake layer, cut side down and repeat the process: top with about 2 tablespoons of the Amarenata syrup, a third of the cream and a third of the Amarenata. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  17. Top with the third and last cake layer. Add the remaining Amarenata and let the syrup soak in. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  18. Spread the mascarpone-cream layer on top. Optionally, decorate with fresh cherries and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set before slicing. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  19. Slice and serve! Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake
  20. The cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Low-Carb Black Forest Chocolate Cake

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving, 1 slice)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Extra dark chocolate (99-100%)
0.8 g1.3 g4.7 g41 kcal
Butter, unsalted, grass-fed
0 g0.1 g6.3 g56 kcal
Almond flour (blanched ground almonds, almond meal)
1.1 g2.7 g6.6 g74 kcal
Coconut flour, organic
0.4 g0.7 g0.6 g14 kcal
Whey protein powder (protein isolate, Jay Robb)
0 g1.2 g0 g5 kcal
Cocoa powder, raw (cacao)
0.3 g0.3 g0.2 g3 kcal
Cream of tartar, raising agent
0.1 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Baking soda, raising agent (bicarbonate of soda)
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Salt, sea salt
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Egg, whole, fresh, raw (free-range or organic eggs)
0.1 g2.4 g1.8 g27 kcal
Erythritol (natural low-carb sweetener)
0.9 g0 g0 g4 kcal
Yogurt (10% fat)
0.3 g0.6 g0.8 g10 kcal
Vanilla extract, sugar-free, alcohol-based
0 g0 g0 g2 kcal
Amarenata Cherry Sauce, homemade (KetoDiet blog)
3 g0.2 g0 g15 kcal
Cream, heavy whipping, pouring, full-fat (30-40% fat)
1.2 g0.9 g17.1 g165 kcal
Mascarpone cheese
0.3 g1.1 g6.6 g66 kcal
Total per serving, 1 slice
8.6 g11.3 g44.6 g482 kcal

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Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (21)

I only have 2x 8inch springform pans. How can I adjust the baking time or the recipe qty to achieve the same final result please?

Hi Nandhini, you could use the same recipe, using the same approach - put 2/3 of the dough in one and 1/3 of the dough in the second form. The cake will be thinner but you should still be able to cut the thicker sponge in half.

I made this cake for my birthday dinner with my family. The only change I made was whipping the egg whites and folding them in. This was crazy good. I will be using it again. Thank you.

Thank you so much, I'm happy you enjoyed! 😊

Hi, my Black Forest cake didn’t rise at all and was a dense fudge type although I followed the recipe and ingredients specifically. Any thoughts as to why and how to fix as the cherries and cream were perfect. Thanks

I'm sorry to hear that Francine! I wish I could help but I can't see why it wouldn't rise and be dense. The ingredients that help the cake rise are eggs, baking soda, cream of tartar and whey protein powder. How about the temperature, did you use the same setting?

Wow, what a disappointment. We had such high hopes. The cake was dry and crumbly, there was way too much cinnamon in the cherries, and the cream filling was way too wet and didn’t hold up. So sad 😞

Did you bake it for too long maybe? It was the best chocolate sponge I've tried so far. The cherry filling is amarena cherry and that has quite a bit of cinnamon in it... even the traditional sugary recipe as far as I can remember because I grew up in Italy. You may just need to add it last if you don't like too much cinnamon. The cream filling is just whipped HWC with even thicker mascarpone so if it didn't hold then you didn't use HWC but maybe lower fat cream or you added it to a warm sponge?

I'm so sorry to hear that! The cake should be moist, especially after it sets in the fridge with the cherry sauce and cream. Could it be that you may have used the low-fat, fine type of almond flour? The cake should not be crumbly and I made it several times with different fillings so there is definitely no error in the recipe - I would have found out by now. If your cream filling was runny then maybe it had less than 35-40% fat? Or could it be that it needed more beating? The cream-mascarpone filling should be stiff and rich (see image in step 14).

This looks amazing! Can you tell me if it can be made without nut flour? (Allergic to almonds but can have coconut flour. )

Can you use something else for the mascarpone? Cream cheese?

Absolutely! Thanks for the suggestion, I'll add it to the ingredients 😊

Just curios as in Canada we can’t find 10% fat young art only 5 % what can we use instead.

That won't be an issue. Any full-fat yogurt will work, ideally at least 5% but even 3.5% yogurt will be a good alternative.

This looks amazing! Is there any way to substitute for the whey protein powder?

Thank you! You could use egg white protein powder. Collagen might be a good option too. It will work even if you want to avoid it completely and just swap the 1/4 cup whey protein powder with 1/4 cup almond flour. The protein powder works as a replacement for gluten and improves the texture but it is not essential.

Great, thank you! 😊

Yay for cherries on a low-carb diet!! They are still low in sugar I think even lower than blueberries. This cake looks scrumptious 😊

You are my hero!!! This is my favorite cake too!!🤩🤩🤩 I don't think I'll be able to find fresh cherries but will swap for frozen cherries for the filling and grated sugar-free chocolate on top 👌 Thanks for the great winter friendly suggestion!

A Masterpiece!

Thank you Jo!