Black Forest Poke Cake

A soft & moist chocolate cake, filled with milk chocolate ganache, topped with homemade cherry compote, mascarpone whipped cream then decorated with swirls of whipped cream, chocolate curls and some fresh cherries. It's a complete show-stopper!

1 hour
40 minutes
1 hour 40 minutes


  • 300 g (2 cups) Cherries, stoned, fresh or frozen
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar 
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp corn flour/corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • 100 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) Milk chocolate bar or chips
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) double cream/heavy cream
  • 260 g (2 cups) Plain flour/all-purpose flour 
  • 46 g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 g (1 3/4 tsp) Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 113 g (1/2 cup) Unsalted butter, softened 
  • 50 g (1/4cup) Vegetable oil 
  • 300 g (1 1/2 cup) granulated sugar 
  • 3 Eggs, Uk medium-sized or US large-sized (weight without shell = 152 g)
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) Sour cream
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) full-fat milk/whole milk
  • 1 tsp instant coffee 
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) hot water
  • 250 g (1 cup) Whipping cream/ double cream/heavy cream, Chilled
  • 125 g Mascarpone cheese, cold
  • 45 g (1/3 cup) Icing sugar/powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 150 g Dark chocolate (I used 54%)
  • Veggie peeler


  1. Add pitted fresh or frozen cherries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce heat and let it simmer until cherries are mushy and soft (about 15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Break up some of the cherries as you stir. 
  2. Mix 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water together until all the cornstarch has dissolved. Add into it and cook for a minute or until almost thick glossy sauce with a few chunks of cherries is ready. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely. Save a tbsp of cherry sauce from it to make swirls on top. Pop it in the fridge to cool completely. 
  1. Roughly chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-safe bowl. Place a bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water (only fill the saucepan with 1 or 2 inches of water). Make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. 
  2. When the chocolate melts, take room temperature double cream/heavy cream and add to the melted chocolate. Stir the ganache constantly and gently until it’s smooth. 
  3. Remove from the heat. Set aside to cool it slightly at room temperature. Stir it again and cover the ganache with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface to prevent the crust from forming. Leave it at room temperature until needed. 
  4. You can also make the chocolate ganache in the microwave. Place the chopped chocolate and room temperature double cream in a heat-safe bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds then at 25 seconds intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate has melted. The remaining steps are the same as mentioned above.
  1. Grease a 9x9 inch square pan with butter, and line it with baking paper leaving it to overhang on all sides. It’s important because it is easy to remove the cake safely from the pan. Preheat the Fan oven to 155C/311F (for conventional oven 175C/347F).
  2. In a medium bowl sift plain flour/all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk together and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar by using an electric beater on medium until light in colour and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add oil + vanilla extract and beat again to mix it well. Make sure to scrape the bowl down. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition (about 20 seconds after each egg addition).
  4. Add in the milk and sour cream, and whisk again until well incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients in two batches, and beat on low speed after each addition until just combined (avoid over mixing). Make sure to scrape down the bowl.
  6. Add one tsp instant coffee into the hot water and mix well until completely dissolved. Add in the hot water + coffee mixture very slowly little by little and gently mix after each addition until combined. Avoid adding the hot water at once otherwise, you will end up with scrambled eggs.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Tap the pan on the counter to remove the air bubbles.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and Let it rest for 30-40 minutes before removing it from the pan. Then remove from the pan using overhang baking paper and place on the wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting (for about 1-2 hours) or pop in the fridge to cool it quickly.
  1. Chill the mixing bowl. Pour chilled whipping cream into the chilled bowl, then add icing sugar and whip on medium until soft peaks form. 
  2. Take out the cold Mascarpone cheese straight from the fridge. Give it a good mix in a bowl with vanilla extract before adding to the whipped cream. Now add the mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form (A stiff peak means if you turn your bowl upside down, it will not fall out). It will happen quickly, so keep an eye on it. It is ready to use. Use it right away. You can pipe it as well to make flowers with any nozzle of your choice. I used 1 M nozzle here but it’s totally optional.
  1. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heat-safe bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (at low heat), and make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir gently and frequently while melting until it is free-flowing and smooth. It is ready to use. 
  2. Take a small container (square or oval), and place the parchment paper to cover all sides and the bottom of the container. Pour melted (tempered) chocolate in it and pop it in the freezer for 30-40 minutes or until it sets but not too hard.
  3. For bigger curls, use a veggie peeler. For smaller curls, use a grater.

*You can also make chocolate shavings with a chocolate bar using a grater.

  1. Once the cake has cooled completely, use the baking paper overhangs to place it over a serving board.
  2. poke holes on the top of the cake using the back of a disposable plastic spoon. Fill a piping bag with chocolate ganache and pipe it into the holes of the cake. You can slightly warm the ganache in the microwave for a few seconds if it has cooled too much. Spread the remaining ganache over the top and smooth it out with a spatula.
  3. Spread cherry compote evenly over the chocolate ganache. Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to settle.
  4. Frost the top of the cake with 2/3 of mascarpone whipped cream frosting, using an offset spatula. Drop dollops of cooled cherry sauce a few inches apart on the top of the frosting and make swirls, using the back of a spoon. Fill the remaining whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a 1M nozzle & make swirls. Decorate the top with chocolate curls and fresh cherries. Pop in the fridge to set.
  5. Make 9 or 16 slices, using a sharp knife. It is best served when cold, so pop it in the fridge before serving.