The best white forest cake - taste the difference between white forest cake vs black forest cake, and how I do my white forest cake design. This 6-inch layer cake is perfect for any celebration! And if you love this white forest cake recipe, you'll love my Vanilla Cake with Strawberries, my Brownie Mix Cookies with White Chocolate, Cherries and Pistachios, and my Cherry Coffee Cake!
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What is white forest cake made of?
This white forest cake is a six-inch layer cake made of white cake layered between cherry filling and a white chocolate whipped cream frosting. Top it with white chocolate shavings and you have the ultimate celebration dessert!
White Forest Cake vs Black Forest Cake
So what is the difference between white forest cake and Black Forest Cake? Well, like its older sister black forest cake (also known as black forest gâteau), this white forest cake features a whipped cream frosting and cherries in a syrup spiked with kirschwasser. Kirschwasser (or just kirsch) is a spirit distilled from sour cherries. It adds a distinct kick to this cherry syrup that is so good!
This cake differs from a traditional black forest cake in one way: no chocolate! We replace the traditional chocolate cake layers with white vanilla cake, and add white chocolate to the whipped cream frosting!
White Forest Cake Ingredients
- cake flour - using cake flour in this white forest cake keeps the layers light and fluffy. If you don't have cake flour on hand, see below for a trick to make your own at home! To make sure your measurement is accurate, your flour should be measured by weight using a kitchen scale, or measured by volume using the spoon-and-level method.
- granulated sugar - adds the perfect amount of sweetness to our white cake layers!
- baking powder & baking soda - these leavening agents provide a light, fluffy texture.
- salt - balances out the sweetness and brings our the vanilla flavor in our cake layers.
- butter - I often use salted butter in my baking, but for this recipe we'll use unsalted butter. It should be room temperature, so take it out about an hour or two before you plan to make your cake, or check below for a tip to bring it to room temperature quickly!
- vegetable oil - this is a great way to achieve a moist texture in our cake layers!
- buttermilk - make sure your buttermilk is room temperature. Also, if you don't have any buttermilk on hand, check below for a tip to make your own substitute!
- egg whites - using egg whites instead of whole eggs helps to achieve the pure white look of our cake layers. I would suggest separating your eggs while they're still cold, and then be sure to let your egg whites come fully to room temperature before adding them to the batter.
- vanilla extract - be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients! You can also use a clear vanilla extract to maintain the whiteness of the cake layers, but I prefer the flavor of pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
Then to make the cherry-kirsch filling, you'll need:
- pitted dark sweet cherries - you can use fresh or frozen. You'll need about one 16-oz bag of frozen cherries.
- granulated sugar - brings out the sweetness of our cherries.
- cornstarch - helps to thicken up our filling a bit.
- fresh lemon juice - adds a bright tartness to this cherry filling.
- kirsch (kirschwasser) - kirsch is a spirit distilled from tart cherries. If you can't get your hands on it, you can use brandy, rum, or cognac. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can use unsweetened cherry juice, but cut the sugar in the filling to ½ cup.
Then we'll be making a light, fluffy white chocolate whipped cream topping that's SO easy!
- white baking chocolate - I usually use Ghirardelli white baking bars.
- heavy cream - often called "heavy whipping cream" on store shelves.
- white chocolate instant pudding mix - this is optional (I didn't use it for the cake pictured on this page), but instant pudding mix can add a bit of stability to help the whipped cream stand up better to the cake layers.
- white chocolate shavings - also optional, but it adds a nice elegant touch to the finished cake!
You'll need an electric mixer for this recipe -- I used a stand mixer for the cake batter and a hand mixer with a whisk attachment for the whipped cream frosting. You'll also need a saucepan to make your cherry filling, and I always recommend a kitchen scale for measuring your flour accurately. Check the recipe card below for more tools you might need!
How to Make White Forest Cake Recipe
- I recommend making the cherry-kirsch filling first, up to a day ahead of time. It should cool completely before you assemble your cake. Just bring all the filling ingredients to a boil and reduce heat and simmer, about 10 minutes, or until thickened. Let cool and then place in fridge to chill, covered.
- Then you can start your white chocolate whipped cream frosting, because the first step is to melt your white chocolate in the microwave and whisk it with your heavy cream to combine. Then you can cover that mixture and place it in the fridge to chill as well.
- Now you can make your cake layers! We're using a reverse creaming method for this cake, similar to my orange rosemary olive oil cake. It helps to produce a deliciously light and moist texture! Just mix together your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then we'll add our butter, followed by vegetable oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. Finally, mix in your egg whites and you're ready to bake!
- Bake your cake layers in three six-inch cake pans (or double the recipe to bake in three 9-inch cake pans) until a toothpick entered into the center of each layer comes out clean.
- When your cake layers are cool, whip your chilled white chocolate-heavy cream mixture until it reaches stiff peaks, and you can assemble your cake! Start with a cake layer, then add some cherry filling, then whipped cream frosting, and repeat! End with the final cake layer, more whipped cream, and more cherry filling! You can also add some white chocolate shavings for an elegant touch.
Tips and F.A.Q.
This white forest cake is made with layers of white cake, which is largely similar to a regular vanilla cake, but is made without egg yolks. Using just the whites of the eggs helps to produce a brighter white color in the cake layers.
So what does white forest cake taste like? Well, the flavors that characterize this cake are vanilla, white chocolate, sweet cherries, and a little kick from the kirsch!
Yes you can! A double batch of this cake works in three 9-inch cake pans -- just watch your bake time after 15 minutes and be sure not to overbake!
You can make a cake flour substitute using all-purpose flour and cornstarch! Just use your kitchen scale to measure out 164g of all-purpose flour and sift it with 24 grams of cornstarch. Or if you don't have a kitchen scale, measure out 1 ½ cups of flour using the spoon-and-level method, then remove 3 tablespoons of it and replace it with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift them together and add to your dry ingredients as usual!
If you're in a rush, soften your butter in seconds by popping it in the microwave! Heat your stick of butter on high for about 20 seconds, rotating every few seconds.
If you don’t have buttermilk, feel free to use whole milk, replacing 2 teaspoons of the milk with vinegar. This will create the acidic effect of buttermilk to help your white cake layers come out even more moist and tender.
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
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Equipment you may need
White Cake Layers
- baking spray
- 1 ½ cup cake flour - sifted; measured using a kitchen scale or with the spoon and level method
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter - room temperature
- 5 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ⅔ cup full-fat buttermilk - room temperature
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites - room temperature
Prepare Cherry-Kirsch Filling
- Add the filling ingredients to a saucepan and stir to combine.3 cups pitted dark sweet cherries, 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon kirsch (kirschwasser), ⅔ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- Bring to a boil, stirring, and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until thickened.
- Let cool and chill, covered, in refrigerator until ready to assemble cake.
Prepare Cake Layers
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper or silicone liners and spray with baking spray.baking spray
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.1 ½ cup cake flour, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Add in butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, mix in oil.4 tablespoon unsalted butter, 5 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Add buttermilk and mix until smooth, then add vanilla.⅔ cup full-fat buttermilk, 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Keep mixer running on low and gradually add egg whites, scraping sides as necessary. Mix until batter is smooth.3 egg whites
- Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick entered into the center of each layer comes out clean.
- Let cake layers cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare White Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting
- Heat chopped white chocolate and 1 cup of heavy cream in microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until white chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.4 oz white baking chocolate, 2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Stir in remaining cup of heavy cream until smooth. Place in fridge to chill until cold (you can do these first two steps up to a day ahead).
- When chilled, use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the mixture until fluffy. At this point you can add a tablespoon of white chocolate pudding mix to help stabilize the whipped cream frosting.1 tablespoon white chocolate instant pudding mix
- Continue beating mixture until stiff peaks form, then use to frost cake.
- Lay one cake layer on a parchment-lined cake stand or turntable. Top with about ½ cup of cherry filling, then with ⅔ cup of whipped cream frosting. Repeat with second layer.
- Add third layer and then add more whipped cream frosting on top and sides of cake. Top with more cherry filling and shave white chocolate, if desired.shaved white chocolate