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Easy Black Forest Bars (Black Forest Cheesecake Bars)

If you love the combination of cherries and chocolate I’ve got an amazing and simple recipe for you! These delicious Black Forest Bars are quick and easy! Best of all, they start with a box of cake mix. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

What is a Black Forest Cake? 

Black Forest cake, (which is known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in German), is a very popular dessert originating from the Black Forest region in Germany, which is known for its dense forests and cherries. This delicious cake is rich and decadent.

The original version has several layers of chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream, cherries, and chocolate shavings. (Are you drooling yet?) It’s also enhanced with a clear cherry liqueur. The layers are then filled with whipped cream and cherries, both in whole or pureed form.

The cake is often decorated with even more whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. (Talk about an overload of flavors!) The chocolate shavings are sometimes made from dark chocolate to complement the rich flavor of the cake.

These Easy Black Forest Bars have the flavors of Black Forest cake without the trouble. They come together so quickly and easily!

Black Forest Bar Ingredients

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need to make these bars, which some might call Black Forest Brownies. You might have some of these simple ingredients in your pantry or fridge right now. 

  • dark chocolate cake mix (or brownie mix)
  • room temperature egg
  • room temperature butter
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • cream cheese (not pictured)
  • chocolate chips (plus a few more to decorate)
  • cherry pie filling

How to Make Black Forest Bars

These are so simple y’all. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prepared your 9×13-inch baking dish. (I don’t recommend a square pan. Rectangular is best for this recipe.)

Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment paper cross-wise (as you see in the photo). Spray lightly with non-stick spray. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Make the crust: Place cake mix, butter, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a large mixing bowl and electric mixer. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

It will have a cookie dough consistency.

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Spoon batter into prepared baking down and press into the bottom until level and as smooth as possible.

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in preheated oven and bake for ten minutes. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

While it’s baking, whip up your softened cream cheese and mix in the sweetened condensed milk.

Remove brownies from oven and pour cream cheese/condensed milk mixture over top of the brownie batter.

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Sprinkle with semi sweet chocolate chips

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place cherry pie filling on in dollops. Don’t worry about spread it out. Just get the best coverage you can. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place back in oven and bake for 30 minutes. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Remove and sprinkle with a few more chocolate chips. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Allow to cool at room temperature for a full hour. 

Place in the refrigerator and continue to chill for another hour. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Slice into squares and serve. This recipe should make 24 bars. 

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream if you like. (Yum!) A dollop of Cool Whip would be nice, as well.

Store leftovers in refrigerator in airtight container. They should stay fresh 4-5 days. 

I don’t recommend freezing these bars. 

What to Expect from these Luscious Black Forest Squares

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

As I implied in the heading, they are luscious! This decadent dessert is rich and gooey with so many different flavors popping out at you! 

That delicious chocolate crust is absolutely divine – light a combination of a brownie and a cookie crust. 

The sweetened condense milk with chocolate chips adds extra sweetness. 

And can we just talk about that cherry pie filling? It’s delicious on its own, but sitting atop the other ingredients, it’s absolutely divine! 

I’m a fan of the chocolate and cherry combination, no bones about it! This is one of those great recipes you’ll use again and again, and not just on special occasions.

Questions People are Asking about these Black Forest Brownie Bars:

Easy Black Forest Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Can I use maraschino cherries or fresh cherries? 

Absolutely, but don’t use the juice! Just plop the maraschino cherries down into the sweetened condensed milk. As for fresh cherries, just make sure they’re all pitted first! You don’t want anyone choking!

Can I replace the cream cheese mixture with anything else?

Use a can of chocolate frosting in place of the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese mixture. You’ll end up with a richer chocolatey flavor!

Is there a big difference between a brownie mix and a chocolate cake mix? 

No, actually! I often use a box of cake mix to make brownies because they’re basically the same thing. It’s just that brownies call for less additions than a cake mix. (They’re not as wet.) So in this case you could either use a chocolate cake mix or a (plain) brownie mix, so long as you only add in butter and one egg. 

Can I add anything else to the crust? 

I almost stirred in half a cup of mini chocolate chips into the crust but decided against it at the last minute because this is a brand new recipe and I didn’t want to mess is up. You can try it if you like. 

Can I use a half portion of the brownie mixture on bottom and put the rest on top?

Sure! Just pinch off small pieces of the dough on top before baking.

What if I want to add crust on top? 

You can hold back about a third of the crust and sprinkle it in little blobs on top of the cherry mixture if you like. That way you’ll have chocolate crust on top and bottom. 

Can I use a chocolate cheesecake filling?

Yes, just add a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder to the cream cheese mixture.

Can I use an Oreo cookie crust?

Absolutely! Crush and combine crumbs with half a cup of melted butter. Press into the bottom of the pan.

Other cherry favorites from Out of the Box Baking

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies: If you love the combination of chocolate and cherries, have I got a treat for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies. You’re going to love these easy cookies!

Cherry Pie Bars (aka Cherry Cobbler Bars): If you’re looking for a bar with a soft sugar cookie crust, cake-like in texture, with a rich almond and cherry flavor, have I got a treat for you! These Simple Cherry Pie Bars (Cherry Cobbler Bars) are gooey, soft, and absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious! 

Cherry Cream Cheese Cobbler: If you’re in the mood for a luscious cherry cobbler, laced with a crunchy crust, have I got a recipe for you! This rich cobbler is packed full of flavor and topped with a crisp layer of almonds.

Easy Cherry Almond Bars: If you love the flavor of a traditional cherry pie but prefer the simplicity of a cookie bar, then this is the recipe for you! This luscious sweet treat has a shortbread base, cherry preserves in the center, and sliced almonds on top. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to bake!

Easy Cake Mix Cherry Pies: These Easy Cake Mix Cherry Pies are perfect for patriotic celebrations, holiday gatherings, desserts, parties, or even as a mid-afternoon snack! They’re simple to make but filled with flavor and texture. Best of all, they start with a white cake mix!

No Bake Cherry Cheesecake Pie: This luscious No Bake Cherry Cheesecake Pie is one of the tastiest–and easiest–things I’ve ever made! You’re going to love the combination of sweet and tart, creamy and crunch. Best of all, you won’t have to bake a thing!


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe. 

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday

About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Easy Black Forest Bars

Easy Black Forest Bars

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

If you love the combination of cherries and chocolate I’ve got an amazing and simple recipe for you! These delicious Black Forest Bars are quick and easy! Best of all, they start with a box of cake mix.

Ingredients

  • 1 box dark chocolate cake (or brownie mix)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick room temperature butter
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 block (one cup) room temperature cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips (plus a few more to decorate)
  • 1 can cherry pie filling

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepared your 9x13-inch baking dish.
  3. Spray with non-stick spray. Place a piece of parchment paper cross-wise (as you see in the photo). Spray lightly with non-stick spray.
  4. Make the crust: Place cake mix, butter, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a large mixing bowl and electric mixer.
  5. Place in preheated oven and bake for ten minutes.
  6. Whip cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the sweetened condensed milk.
  7. Remove from oven and pour sweetened condensed milk mixture on top.
    Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  8. Place cherry pie filling on in dollops. Don’t worry about spread it out. Just get the best coverage you can.
  9. Place back in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove and sprinkle with a few more chocolate chips.
  11. Allow to cool at room temperature for a full hour.
  12. Place in the refrigerator and continue to chill for another hour.
  13. Slice into squares and serve. This recipe should make 24 bars.
  14. Serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream if you like. (Yum!)
  15. Store leftovers in refrigerator in airtight container. They should stay fresh 4-5 days.
  16. I don’t recommend freezing these bars.

Gina

Friday 22nd of December 2023

I don’t see cream cheese on the recipe card, but it’s referred to several times. How much softened cream cheese goes with the sweetened condensed milk?

booksbyjanice

Saturday 23rd of December 2023

Hi Gina! I apologize that I left it off. When I made these bars I didn't use cream cheese but decided after-the-fact that they would have been better WITH it, which is why I mentioned it. You'll need one block (one cup) room temperature cream cheese. Hope it's not too late!

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