(Light) Black Forest Cake, less than 1/2 the Calories than the Average Recipe!

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Light Black Forest Cake with REAL Whipped Cream- HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com

My spin on the Black Forest Cake is light but not at all “diety”. (That’s a word.) It has a pure cherry compote using fresh or frozen fruit, layered over creamy whipped cream and a light chocolate cake. Don’t eat some synthetic, diet “dessert” with artificial (sugar free) sweeteners, canned “pie filling”, or ingredients you can’t pronounce. Make this cake with all real ingredients, real whipped cream, and real guilt-free satisfaction.

Light Black Forest Cake with REAL Whipped Cream- HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com

A Diet That Includes Cake

I don’t know about you, but I don’t do “diets”. If I did, they’d HAVE to include cake. Don’t think that’s possible? Well, this cakes proves you wrong. Most diets aren’t successful because they are overly restrictive, and therefore torturous. I truly believe that if one eats 80% good stuff, (whole grains, brightly colored fruits & veggies, good fats, and lots of water), 20% of what we eat can be naughty… or even downright despicable. (Yes doughnuts, I’m talking to you!)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a very unique mantra which is “dessert EVERY SINGLE night.” The reason I can do that is because my desserts have FAR less fat, sugar, and cholesterol than traditional cakes, cookies, and sweet treats at your local bakeries. Don’t get me wrong, I should have bought stock in Chicago’s Molly’s Cupcakes, New York’s Little Pie Company, and Cali’s Susie Cakes because I eat so many of their goodies. In fact the staff begins to recognize me. Although I’m not one to stray away from those full fat and fabulous cakes, I had to learn to make more acceptable treats.

Looking for more Guilt-Free Desserts?

Light & Sinless (St. Louis Style) Ooey Gooey Butter Cake; 1/2 the calories, less than 1/2 the fat!

Low Fat, Low Calorie *Southern Style Coconut Cake*; No Weird Diet Ingredients

Light Candied Pineapple & Coconut Cupcakes, around 300 Calories each!

No Special Baking Equipment Needed

Because I move every 3-6 months with my husband, the Travel Xray Tech, I can’t bring 90% of my professional baking equipment, nor just some basic home baker equipment. So my methods have to be stream-lined, easy, and do-able with minimal equipment and whatever cruddy pots and pans are provided in our temporary corporate apartments. So, there is no excuse for you to not try to make this impressive, guiltless, and decadent cake.

Light Black Forest Cake with REAL Whipped Cream- HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com

Trust Me, This is EASY to Make

Although looking at this recipe may lead you to believe that it has way too many tasks, and therefore must be really hard to make, the truth is it’s simple. The cake is made in a single bowl with a hand whisk, no mixer. The cherry filling is the same way in that you just put all the ingredients into one pot and let them simmer, more or less. The whipping cream is a tad bit more involved, but by tempering the gelatin with a smidgen of the cream, it simplifies the technique making it near fool-proof for those who’ve never done this method of stabilization. Once you master it, I promise you you’ll be serving more things with whipped cream without the fear of it melting!

My Light Black Forest Cake vs Traditional Cake

Light Black Forest Cake with REAL Whipped Cream



  • 1.5 cups AP Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 2/3 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup warm Water
  • 1 tsp Instant Espresso Powder
  • 3/4 cup Fat Free Milk (or cashew milk which is creamy)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp White Vinegar

Cherry Compote Filling:

  • 10 oz fresh (pitted) or frozen black cherries
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1.5 tbsp Luxardo Marschino liqueur, optional
  • 2-3 tsp agave or honey, depending on the sweetness of the cherries
  • 2 tsp organic cornstarch + 1 tbsp COLD water

Light Black Forest Cake with REAL Whipped Cream- HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com

Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • 1.5 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1.5 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar

Cake Method:

Preheat oven to 350⁰

  1. Line the bottom of a 10″ cake pan with parchment circle, and spray sides with baking spray. Set aside.Black Forest Cake- whisked dry ingredients-edited
  2. Sift flour and cocoa powder together. Add Sugar, Salt, and Baking Soda and whisk together. Create a well in the center and set aside.
  3. Measure the warm water in a liquid measuring cup, and stir in Espresso Powder until dissolved.  Pour the 3/4 milk over the Espresso, (it’ll read 1 cup on the measuring cup).
  4. Add Vanilla to the Milk Mixture, and pour into the well of the Flour mixture.  Do not mix yet.
  5. Measure oil into the measuring cup, and pour over milk mixture.  Add Vinegar on top of oil, and whisk together. Don’t over mix or you’ll get a dense cake.
  6. Pour into prepared pan, and bake 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. When finished cooking, remove from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then, invert directly onto the cooling rack, and cool completely.


Cherry Filling Method: Black Forest Cake- Cherry filling finished-edited

  1. Combine cherries, honey, and tbsp of water if needed and cover, and simmer 10 minutes on low. While that is cooking, combine the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Remove the lid and stir the cherries. Add in the liqueur and simmer another 10-20 minutes. (It’ll be shorter for frozen, longer for fresh.) You can mash them a little bit if you like. Pour in the slurry (cornstarch-water mixture) and stir until it thickens, a few minutes.
  3. Pour into a small bowl and allow to cool at room temp for 10 minutes. Refrigerate until chilled.


Stabilized Whipped Cream Method:

*It is really important to have all of your ingredients measured, sifted, and ready to go as this goes very quickly. Also have your mixer plugged in and ready to go.

  1. In a small saucepan, stir together the gelatin and cold water; let stand until thick, it should only take about 30 seconds.
  2. Place over low heat stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves. Again this will take less than a minute.
  3. Remove from the heat and temper the gelatin by immediately stirring in 2 tbsp of the heavy cream you’ve already measured out.
  4. whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to soft peaks. While now continuing to whip, slowly drip in the gelatin mixture. Whip to stiff peaks.


  1. Slice the cake into two layers.
  2. Remove the top layer and spread out a little more than half of the whipped cream.
  3. Spoon the cherry mixture over that, reserving a couple tbsp for the top, and spread evenly.
  4. Lay the top layer of cake over that. Spread the remaining whipped cream over top of that.
  5. Decorate with reserved cherry filling.

♦Keep refrigerated♦

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