Why you’ll love it
Even with the homemade cherry sauce, this black forest ice cream recipe is so easy to make. It has the creamiest vanilla ice cream base, flavoured and swirled with that cherry sauce and chocolate in two forms. It’s decadent and totally irresistible.
- The vanilla ice cream base: This no churn base is a favourite of mine. It’s creamy, rich, eggless and very easy to make.
- The cherry sauce: Also very easy, the cherry sauce is made with fresh cherries, though you can use frozen.
- Chocolate in two forms: This ice cream has both shaved chocolate and chocolate cake pieces.
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I dabbled with just adding chopped cherries, chocolate and chocolate cake to the ice cream base and, while lovely, it didn’t give a true cherry flavour and hence wasn’t black foresty enough for my liking. By turning cherries into a cherry sauce, the flavour is distributed through the whole ice cream and gives it a gorgeous colour at the same time.
This black forest ice cream contains all the essential components of the perfect black forest gateau: chocolate cake, creamy filling, chocolate shavings and syrupy cherries.
Full ingredients and instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Cherries: I use fresh cherries here, simply because they were in season and beautiful when I made it. Frozen cherries work just as well and I often use them whenever I make my simple cherry sauce.
Sugar: There is a little sugar added to the cherry sauce to sweeten but also to enhance the natural flavour of the cherries. Don’t skip it.
Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds just a little zing to the cherries.
Cornflour / cornstarch: This ingredient can be confusing as the term cornflour can be different things in different countries. Cornflour (in Australia) is the same as cornstarch in the US. It’s that very fine flour often used to thicken sauces.
Sweetened condensed milk: This makes up part of the ice cream base. Don’t worry – the ice cream does not taste like condensed milk (due to the ratios of this and cream) but it does add just the right amount of sweetness without making the ice cream too sweet.
Cream: Your after thickened cream, whipping cream or heavy cream here, depending on what it’s called in your country. You want a cream of at least 35% milk fat so that it will whip.
Chocolate: You can use dark chocolate or milk chocolate here. I use dark chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate), just a 50% cocoa. Just grab a block of chocolate at room temperature and run a vegetable peeler down the edge to get big shavings. If you want to use chocolate chips, stick to mini chocolate chips as large chunks of chocolate are too hard and crunchy in the ice cream.
Chocolate cake: You can use just a shop-bought or homemade chocolate cake or even brownies. Make sure to chop it quite finely so that the ice cream is still easy to scoop.
How to make black forest ice cream
Turning the classic black forest cake into a black forest ice cream is fairly easy, though you will obviously need some patience while it sets. The cherry sauce takes 10-15 minutes then you’ll need to cool that which you can do quickly in the fridge. Making the ice cream itself and folding all the add-ins in only takes about 10 minutes so you can have this in the freezer and chilling in under 45 minutes (including the cooling time).
1. The cherry sauce
Pit and chop the cherries into small pieces then add them to a pan with sugar and lemon juice (photo 1). Cook them down, simmering for about 10 minutes (photo 2) and give it a mash with a potato masher (photo 3) before adding a cornflour slurry to thicken it up (photo 4).
Now let it cool – you can speed this up in the fridge or freezer and it just needs to get to room temperature before adding to your ice cream base.
2. The vanilla ice cream base
- In a large bowl, beat the cream until it reaches soft peak stage.
- Gradually fold in the sweetened condensed milk (photo 5) and vanilla. Done! (photo 6).
- Now fold in the chocolate and chocolate cake (photo 7). Then fold in most of the cherry sauce (photo 8).
3. Assembling the black forest ice cream
- Pour half of the mixture into a freezer-safe container then swirl over half of the remaining cherry sauce (photo 9). Repeat that step then scatter over some chocolate shavings to finish (photo 10).
- Freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight is best.
Now you have the most creamy chocolate and cherry ice cream just waiting for you to devour.
Tips and tricks
- Use cold cream: The cream must be cold for it to whip properly.
- Chill the sauce: The cherry sauce must be no warmer than room temperature when you add it to the cream or it will melt the cream.
- Don’t overwhip the cream: Cream will become grainy if you overbeat it so be careful and check regularly as it thickens.
- Fold gently: When you fold the different components into the whipped cream, do so very gently so you don’t knock out all the air you beat into it.
I store my ice cream most often in these glass loaf pans.
These disposable ice cream cups are great if you want to freeze your ice cream in smaller portions or to give some away.
As for serving, let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly before trying to scoop with a spoon. Warm the spoon slightly in a cup of warm water first.
The vanilla ice cream portion of this black forest ice cream recipe is the perfect ice cream base to add any of your own flavours so have at it.
Try replacing the cherry compote with any of my compote / fruit sauce recipes for a different flavour.
You can use any chocolate cake you like in this, or leave it out completely. You could use store-bought or homemade or even use brownies and if you want to keep this ice cream gluten-free, just make sure to use a gluten-free cake.
Did you try this black forest ice cream recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
FOR THE CHERRY SAUCE
- 450 g fresh cherries, pitted & roughly chopped (1lb)
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (note 1)
- 2 teaspoons cornflour (US cornstarch)
FOR THE ICE CREAM
- 1 tin sweetened condensed milk (395g / 14oz)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups thickened cream (heavy whipping cream) (600ml)
- 1 cup shaved dark chocolate or milk chocolate
- ¾ cup finely chopped chocolate cake
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- MAKE THE CHERRY SAUCE:In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, lemon juice and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down so the mixture is just simmering.
- Simmer stirring every so often for about 10 minutes until the cherries have softened and the liquid has doubled. Use a spoon to skim off froth as it’s cooking.
- Make a slurry using the cornflour and 3 teaspoons of water. Slowly dribble the slurry into the cherries while stirring constantly so that it doesn’t turn lumpy. Do this slowly and stop when you’re happy with the thickness. It will thicken a little more on cooling.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Pour half of the sweetened condensed milk into the cream and fold gently together. Be careful not to knock all the air out of the cream. Repeat with the remaining condensed milk and the vanilla and fold gently again.
- Add the chocolate cake pieces and all but a handful of the shaved chocolate. Fold through carefully. Now, add ¾ of the cherry sauce leaving the rest behind for swirling later and gently fold that through too.
- Pour half the ice cream into a freezer safe container with lid. Add half the remaining cherry sauce and swirl with the spatula then sprinkle over a little of the reserved chocolate. Repeat the layers again (remaining ice cream mixture followed by remaining cherry sauce and swirl, remaining chocolate).
- Cover with a lid or tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
- The amount of sugar you use in your cherry sauce will depend on how tart your cherries are. If it isn’t sweet enough to your liking after 2 Tbsp, add another tablespoon and dissolve it in.
- Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
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