Upside Down Cherry-Topped Black Forest Cakes (Gluten-Free) SRC

Upside Down Cherry-Topped Black Forest Cakes (Gluten-Free) SRC

This entry is part 240 of 249 in the series Chocolate Mondays

Welcome to this month’s Secret Recipe Club, another opportunity to discover a new-to-you blogger! This month I was assigned Mellissa’s A Fit and Spicy Life, a very fun blog with tons of great recipes, wine recommendations on Wednesdays, and ways to offset our indulgences with exercise.

Mellissa’s philosophy is to enjoy a lot of cooking, a little wine, and balance it all with workouts. She and I would certainly have a lot of fun baking and cooking together, chatting about traveling, and enjoying our creations with a glass or two of wine. Then I would sit back, sipping on wine and playing with her two pups, and watch as she worked out, LOL!

Cherries packed tightly in the baking pan before topping with the cake batter

Today’s recipe is sure to please everyone and is perfect for holidays and special occasions. Upside down cakes are always a treat, but this one is reminiscent of a European classic, Black Forest cake with the sinfully good combination of chocolate and cherries. If you’ve never had one, you are in for a real treat!

The cake most likely originated in the Black Forest region of Germany in the late 1500s. The area is also known for Kirsch or Kirschwasser, a brandy made from sour Morello cherries so it isn’t surprising that chefs combined their passion for chocolate desserts with the local sour cherries. The modern version appears to have been created around 1920 and has become one of Germany’s most famous desserts.

The classic version is usually a 4-layer cake that is quite time consuming and challenging for beginning cooks. By using the same flavor profiles and simplifying the method, anyone can create these amazing desserts. One of the tricks to this dessert is to use jarred sour cherries. They’ve got a little added sugar but still maintain the tartness that balances the sweetness. Montmorency is a common type of cherries grown in this country and they make the best pies and desserts like these cakes.

Once these come out of the oven, let them cool for about 15 minutes. Then you can easily get the cakes out of the pans. If you let them cool too much you may have a struggle getting them out without ruining the top.

If you don’t already have Silpats, you should put them on your holiday wish list. They come in handy for so many applications and today was no exception. I used one on my baking sheet to help keep the mini springform pans from slipping around as I moved them in and out of the oven. But I quickly learned why the original recipe called for ramekins. I didn’t think they needed to be wrapped in foil, but I was wrong. The caramel leaked out and was all over the baking sheet. But because I had the Silpat on there, there was no hassle with clean up. I pulled it off the baking sheet, put it under running water in the sink and the caramel slipped right off! It would have taken an hour of soaking if the pad wasn’t there!

This recipe is designed for an intimate dinner for two, but you can easily double the recipe to feed four. If you have more people coming to dinner, I would recommend you make two recipes for four. Doubling again rarely works with baked goods. Something always seems to go haywire. It’s better to be safe and make one batch, then whip up the second one while the first four cakes bake. Just about the time the second set are ready to come out of the oven, the first round will be ready to unmold. If you have a second pair of hands available, that would probably help a lot.

The sweet chocolate cake and whipped cream are offset by the tart cherries, a balance you will love! Whether you are having a romantic dinner for you and your love, you are looking for a beautiful dessert for the holidays, or if you want to make something special for your Valentine, these little cakes are the perfect choice!

Thank you Mellissa for a delightful and delicious new recipe. I can’t wait to spend more time on your blog! And folks, make sure you head over to A Fit and Spicy Life for lots more incredible foods to make. And there are a few dozen more recipes below in the blog hop. It’s a great Chocolate Monday!

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

Because this is an upside down cake, remember that what faces the bottom of the pan will become the top of the cake. You want the roundest, prettiest cherries facing down. They will get squished while baking, but they will still be pretty.

Most cooked cherries are a pink color. If you want a more vibrant red, you can add some red food coloring to the cherries while they are in the juice and let them macerate for a while to pick up the color. You can also brush them with a little watered down red food coloring with a small paintbrush if you prefer.

Gluten-Free Tips:

Use a gluten-free flour blend (preferably with xanthan or other gum in it) in place of the regular flour. As always, read the labels of all your ingredients and contact the manufacturer if you have any questions.

Kitchen Skill: Inverting Desserts

When a recipe calls for inverting onto a serving plate, it means that you are going to be serving the recipe with the bottom on top. The easiest way to do this is to hold the cake pan on one palm, set the serving plate on top and holding the two together, quickly flip it over. If you’re lucky you won’t get too much movement or liquid on the plate (depending on what you are making). If the baking pan is still hot, make sure you use hot pads, preferably that are no-slip and be very careful!

Black Forest Upside Down Cakes (Gluten-Free) SRC

Original Recipe by Mellissa from A Fit and Spicy Life

Yield: 2 servings


  • Cherry Topping
  • 1-1/2 cups (14.5 oz) sour cherries, drained over a bowl; reserving the juices (use either canned or jarred)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp reserved cherry juice
  • Cake
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or Gluten-Free flour blend
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (gluten-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk or half and half
  • Whipped Cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kirsch, cassis, red wine, or reserved cherry juice, optional
Read the whole recipe on The Heritage Cook