Black Forest Cake vs. Red Velvet Cake: Differences & Which Is Better

Black Forest Cake vs. Red Velvet Cake
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Have you ever been asked which cake you would choose between Red Velvet and Black Forest? I remember being stuck in this delicious dilemma before! Even though it’s a dilemma, it’s quite easy to solve it. These cakes are so popular that it’s no surprise people often wonder: what sets them apart from one another? So, what’s the difference between Black Forest cake and Red Velvet cake?

Black Forest cake features delicate layers of chocolate cake and whipped cream swirled with cherries, and it has a much richer flavor than Red Velvet cake. On the other hand, Red Velvet cake has a milder taste, but it’s often dressed up with cream cheese frosting, making it much sweeter.

As you can see, there are some key differences that make each one special when comparing the two different types of cake. Today, I will talk about the differences between Red Velvet and Black Forest cakes, as well as look at their varieties and popularity. Best of all, we’ll top it off with which of the two is better? So, let’s take a look at them more thoroughly!

Ingredients and Preparation

The devil truly is in the details when it comes to Black Forest cake. The classic cake version typically contains rich chocolate sponge cake layers brushed with kirsch liqueur, a clear cherry brandy. It is then filled with whipped cream and sour cherries, with more cream and additional cherries stacked around it for decoration.

Red Velvet cake is made from standard cake ingredients like flour, sugar, vegetable oil, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Beets or red food dye are used to give it its signature red-hued color, while buttermilk is usually added to bring out a deeper flavor. The cake is traditionally baked in a round layer cake pan and cut into wedges upon serving.

Regarding preparation, Black Forest cake can generally be divided into two main steps: first, you make the cake layers; next, you make the filling and assemble your cake. 


While both desserts are baked in round layers, there’s no mistaking the distinct look of a slice of Black Forest cake. This chocolatey marvel is usually crowned with a mountain of sweetened whipped cream and cherries, making for an eye-catching centerpiece at any gathering.

The appearance of a Red Velvet cake is traditionally a dark red color with white cream cheese frosting. The depth of this red color has caused a lot of speculation over the years about its origin – but ultimately, the cause seems to be a combination of cocoa powder and acidity from vinegar or buttermilk in the cake batter.



One of the main differences between Black Forest cake and Red Velvet cake is the taste. Black Forest cake is sweet but not overly so, and with its lightly whipped cream frosting, chocolate shavings, and maraschino cherries on top, it’s highly flavorful.

Meanwhile, Red Velvet cake has cocoa powder giving it a distinctive flavor, along with vinegar that gives it a slight tang. While it also has frosting that adds sweetness to offset the tangy taste, overall, this dessert generally isn’t as sweet as Black Forest cake.


When it comes to varieties of Black Forest cake, you can find numerous options at a bakery. The classic recipe calls for layers of chocolate cake, whipped cream, and cherries. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change the recipe with different flavors or ingredients.

For example, you can swap out the chocolate cake for white or yellow cake, choose other fruits like strawberries or raspberries instead of cherries, make your frosting vanilla instead of whipped cream, or add other toppings like crumbled Oreo cookies for an extra indulgent treat.

There are many different flavors when it comes to varieties of Red Velvet cake. Depending on the baker’s skill and preferences, you can have a classic Red Velvet cake or one adapted to include any variety of filling, frosting, or other add-ins.

Common adaptations may include using cream cheese frosting instead of regular buttercream, adding espresso powder to enhance the flavor, or spiking it with liqueur for a boozy version.

Other versions include combining it with chocolate chips for a double-chocolate flavor, adding vanilla beans for a mildly sweet option, or maybe creating an orange-flavored version with orange zest and juice.


Having a look at the popularity of both cakes, I often find myself being asked, “Which one is better?” While opinions may differ on that matter, it is interesting to note that Black Forest cake is more popularly known in many countries compared to Red Velvet cake.

In some countries, traditional Black Forest cake has its own variants, like Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, which refers to adding Kirsch liqueur to it and sometimes topped with whipped cream. This variation has made its way around Europe and is popular in restaurants there.

So, even though both cakes are widely appreciated throughout the world, Black Forest cake is slightly more popular because of the unique flavor combinations and variety of flavors available. Still, I more often find myself choosing Red Velvet, whenever I’m presented with the opportunity to choose between the two — is this just a preference, or is it something more?

Which Is Better: Black Forest Cake or Red Velvet Cake?

If we look at the ingredients, Black Forest cake is made up of chocolate sponge, thick cream, and cherries; Red Velvet cake is made up of cocoa powder and buttermilk in the batter and cream cheese frosting. In preparation, Black Forest cake requires more time because of the extra steps involved in layering the chocolate sponge, cream, and cherries. So, Red Velvet is a quicker-to-make option.

When it comes to appearance, Black Forest cake looks like a tower of layered chocolate sponges with frosting between each layer for added flavor. Red Velvet cake has a deep red color from adding cocoa powder or food coloring in the batter; plus, it’s topped with an iconic white cream cheese frosting that offsets the color perfectly. Here, the result is tied, at least for me — both can look luxurious in their own rights.

Taste-wise, both cakes offer very different palettes — the signature combination of ingredients in Black Forest cake makes for a rich, delicious taste. In contrast, Red Velvet cakes often have milder or lighter flavors due to their ingredients, like cocoa powder and buttermilk that don’t overpower other flavors too much. So, if you like a richer taste, go for Black Forest, and if that’s not really your jam, Red Velvet is the one for you!

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