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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1st Sep, 2015
This cake is officially award winning - got the 1st prize for it in work's bake-off. The only deviations my cake had were: large eggs, Ready made Princess cherry filling to substitute for the jam, kirsch and pitted cherries and I used about 225g of dark chocolate for the ganache as with the suggested amount it was too pale and runny (my chocolate had 50% cocoa solids). The cakes were a bit fragile as the other comment suggested, but leave to cool them in the cake tins and you should be fine.
27th Aug, 2015
This took me four hours and forty eight minutes, not the one hour as specified. My "ganache" turned out like chocolate whipped cream which is an incredibly annoying thing. The cake is too heavy or something because the cream runs down the sides with the cherries, forming a creamy mess at the bottom of the plate and making the cake look horrendous. Tinned cherries impossible to find, had to use fresh cherries instead. Today is my mothers birthday so I made this for her & it looks terrible because of the running cream. I'm very embarrassed but unfortunately I have no choice but to serve it because of how long it took me. All in all, for me, it was a complete nightmare.
goosegirl123's picture
6th Aug, 2015
I made this some time ago. It turned out really well. I didn't add Kirsch as children were eating it too but still very good
4th Aug, 2015
I've made this cake several times. The cakes need careful handling but do firm up when they've cooled. I leave them to cool in the tin and tend to make only 2 layers of sponge. I agree with others - you only need about half of the chocolate topping, although I add a thin coat of the chocolate to all layers as it stops the whipped cream seeping into the cake. I stabilise the cream with agar agar and it lasts for a good couple of days in the fridge.
4th Aug, 2015
Love this cake!
3rd Aug, 2015
I have made this recipe several times and it's a firm favourite with my family. The cakes are very delicate when hot/warm but if you leave them to cool in the tin they do firm up (but still need gentle handling). I have started to make these with 2 instead of 3 layers of sponge which gives a slightly more manageable cake, though 3 layers looks more impressive. I agree with previous posts, you only need about half of the ganache, although I also add a thin layer of the ganache to the lower sponge layer(s) which helps to stop the whipped cream seeping into the cake below. I also stabilise the whipped cream with agar agar powder and find the cake keeps much better, not that I have to worry about leftovers very often! For anyone struggling with the cakes falling apart, make sure you let them cool fully before you try and move them anywhere, and when getting them out of the tin use clean greaseproof paper to protect to top which can get a bit sticky.
12th Jul, 2015
Unfortunately I ignored previous comments about the cake being too soft, well, all my three cakes fell apart not only in the middle but the sides too. It was really tricky to layer with several bits falling off. I think the recipe lacks a combiner? Maybe adding more egg? I wouldn't use this recipe for a sponge again . We're calling ours a 'deconstructed Black Forest Gateau'. There was enough chocolate ganache to cover 3 cakes, recipe totally wrong, what a waste of good quality chocolate and cream however It did taste good. My son thought it was hilarious when it started to fall part once assembled.
11th Jul, 2015
5 stars for taste!
14th Jun, 2015
Made this for my boyfriends birthday and it was a big hit! I had no problem with the cakes rising, as other reviewers have mentioned. I recommend whisking the egg/buttermilk mixture well, check you your oven isn't too hot, and resist the temptation to swap the tins around on the shelves too early. Seeing the issues some people have had with making the chocolate topping, I used extra-thick double cream. I made the topping whilst the cakes were in the oven and then left it to cool with the cakes, so by the time I was ready to assemble it was a good spreadable consistency and not runny at all. Hope this helps others!
6th Jun, 2015
This recipe makes a really delicious cake! I followed the recipe exactly, and the sponges turned out perfect - they rose fine. A word of warning though- the cake is very large! It cuts cuts very well, though it is quite hard to cut a "small" piece! The cream and cherry filling offset the richness of the chocolate topping and the chocolate sponge very well. The cake was easier to make than I anticipated. I highly recommend this recipe.


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