Black Forest gateau

Black Forest gateau

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(75 ratings)

Cook: 40 mins Prep 1 hr plus cooling


Serves 8 - 10

Impress your guests with this chocolate cherry layered cream cake - a revamped version of a retro classic

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (10)

  • kcal859
  • fat48.9g
  • saturates29.9g
  • carbs93.7g
  • sugars73.6g
  • fibre2.6g
  • protein7.2g
  • salt0.7g
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  • 175g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g bar dark chocolate
    Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

    Dark chocolate

    dahk chok-o-let

    Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

  • 300g plain flour
  • 375g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 200g buttermilk or natural yoghurt
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

To assemble

  • 425g can pitted cherry, 2 tbsp juice reserved, rest drained



    One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavour…

  • 100g morello cherry jam



    One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavour…

  • 4 tbsp kirsch (or more juice from a can if you want it to be non-alcoholic)



    Produced in mainly in Germany, but also in Switzerland and the Alsace region of France, Kirsch…

  • 500ml tub double cream
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 small punnet fresh cherries (optional)



    One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavour…


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base of 3 x 20cm cake tins. Boil the kettle. Put the butter and 75g chocolate broken into chunks in a small pan and gently heat, stirring, until completely melted.

  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda with a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs and buttermilk or yogurt together. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, add 100ml boiling water and whizz briefly with an electric whisk until the cake batter is lump free.

  3. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25 mins, swapping the tins round after 20 mins if they’re on different shelves. To test they're done, push in a skewer and check that it comes out clean.

  4. Prick the cakes a few times with a skewer. Mix together the 2 tbsp reserved cherry juice and the kirsch (or more juice) and drizzle over the cakes. Cool the cakes.

  5. Mix together the remaining drained cherries and jam. Tip 200ml of the cream into a small pan and heat until just below simmering point. Chop the remaining chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl, pour over the hot cream and stir until melted. Set aside until spreadable.

  6. When the cakes are cool whisk the remaining cream and the icing sugar together until softly whipped. Spread over two of the cakes, then spoon over the jammy cherries. Stack the cakes together. Spread the chocolate cream over the third cake and sit on top of the other cakes. Pile the fresh cherries in and around the cake and serve

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Comments, questions and tips

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Mellani Georgiou's picture
Mellani Georgiou
21st Jun, 2020
Didnt have any problems with rising at all. Ive made this cake a few times and although the sponges are quite fragile, if you handle them carefully and dont put too much juice into each layer, its absolutely fine. You need to follow the instructions exactly to the letter and it should be fine. I also used yoghurt as i couldn't get hold of buttermilk and had no issues. Make sure you're not using expired bicarbonate as that could be a reason your cake isnt rising. I always leave the cakes to cool in the tin before turning out onto greaseproof paper. I then leave covered overnight until the next day and decorate then. Much easier to handle. I find the recepie quite sweet so didnt add sugar to the cream - just a little vanilla extract. Came out great!
12th Mar, 2020
I have made this many times and it's really easy and fun to make and more importantly, really yummy
Danielle Lilley's picture
Danielle Lilley
4th Nov, 2019
Awesome cake, quite easy to make too! No issues with it rising, even trimmed the layers to flatten. Used the chocolate cream on each layer to boost the chocolatey-ness. Couldn't get morello cherry jam so used black cherry. Still lovely but perhaps didn't pack as much of a cherry punch as it would have? Would make again for sure.
16th Oct, 2019
Delicious - my pottery group all loved this cake. Using frozen cherries gives more flavour than tinned ones.
21st Apr, 2019
Lovely! Read the reviews, took advice. Using greaseproof to handle the sponges was a great tip. My sponges rose nicely using yoghurt. I used a thin layer of ganache on each layer. I also added extra jam to help with the cherriness plus cherries soaked in kirsch. The sponges were slightly fragile but leaving them to cool made it stable enough. Would definitely make again it was lovely.
elspethorourke's picture
26th Feb, 2019
Delicious! Made a 2/3 recipe as I thought two layers would be sufficient. Unfortunately didn't read the recipe properly and put all the chocolate in the cake mixture rather than reserving some for the icing...Doh! However, it tasted super yummy! Much nicer than a normal cake mixture. I just topped with whipped cream and some chocolate swirls.
5th Nov, 2018
Wow, this is a gorgeous recipe. Made this for my son's birthday and got high praise for it. Lovely and moist. Good tip I picked up from here... I put a layer of ganache on the bottom layer before the cherry layer, didn't sog the cake so much. I made two instead of three cakes, three would have been pretty thin. Tip: Don't open the oven door for the first 20 minutes, the cold air could make the cake flop. Will definitely make it again.
elenaiksar's picture
2nd Jul, 2018
Tried this lovely recipe this weekend! It was so delicious!!!
12th Feb, 2018
Delicious cake! I made the sponges the day before. I added a little more kirsch to the cherry and jam for some extra flavour and I left out the icing sugar from the cream as I thought it would be too sweet.
Kelly Petersen's picture
Kelly Petersen
5th Jan, 2018
The cakes rose beautifully, but they turned out very close-textured and dry with not very much chocolate flavor. I do love a black forest gateau though, so next time I make one I'll stick to my tried and true recipe for chocolate cake and will use this simply for the assembly method.


1st Dec, 2019
Can I assume the cakes will freeze (before filling)? Thanks.
lulu_grimes's picture
2nd Dec, 2019
Hello, Yes the cakes will freeze, you can spoon over the cherry juice once they have defrosted rather than opening the can ahead. I hope you enjoy the recipe.
12th Oct, 2019
I haven’t tried this recipe before and not bad at baking but not lots of technical experience. If I were to use an 18 cm tin instead of a 20cm would it make my sponge layers deeper?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Oct, 2019
Thanks for your question. The quantities and cooking times in this recipe have been specifically worked out for 20cm tins. If you're using sandwich tins, there's a likelihood the mixture will overflow. If using deeper tins, you'd need to increase the cooking time. We generally recommend people use the stated tin sizes to ensure the recipe works out well.
6th Jan, 2016
I'm new to baking but not entirely useless but wondered if any of you bakers could help me with this. Just reading the instructions "scrape the melted chocolate mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients". Its a little vague here as I am unsure if this is the same process as folding. Can anyone confirm if this is folding? Also do yih mix the chocolate into the egg mixture first before adding to the dry mixture? Do you wait for the chocolate mixture to cool to prevent the cooking of the eggs? It as states "add boiling water" is this gradually as my fear that the eggs will cook. Can anyone help here and elaborate as some buts appear a little sketchy ... Thank you all in advance x
14th Jun, 2014
So if I substitute plain flour for self raising do I use same qtnys? And just not bicarbonate? Thanks :)
1st Sep, 2013
I don't have a fridge. How long can I keep the Black Forest cake at room temperature without it losing its taste? What should be the ideal taste?
23rd Oct, 2015
I make this every year for my birthday and it's always gorgeous! Make the sponge bases at least the day before. They will be a lot firmer and easier to handle. I use frozen cherries mixed with a good quality cherry jam for the filling. Spread the jam on the sponges and put the cream on top - a lot easier! Whip the cream until its quite firm (not softly whipped) this stops it just running out the cake. Don't spread the jam/cream right to the edge-the weight of the cake will push it out! I'm always left with too much melted chocolate-use your common sense just put enough to make a nice circle on the top of the cake, too much and it will pour over the side! Any chocolate/cream mixture left gets put into the fridge and made into truffles. Assemble it and put it into the fridge to firm up before trying to slice it, it's one of those cakes that is better the next day!
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