Black Forest gateau

Black Forest gateau

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(66 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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19th Feb, 2015
If you look through the older comments several people have had problems with this cake failing to rise and so did I. I just wish I had heeded the negative reviews instead of ignoring them. I have been cooking for thirty years and this has never happened to me before. This is a crumbly, dense brownie recipe and not a sponge recipe. Apart from the recipe for the sponge being wrong, other ideas in the recipe are good. Also, those cherries in kirsch in a glass jar are nice to use for this. I also used Lidl cherry brandy for its cherry flavour.
14th Aug, 2014
Made this for my Mums birthday, followed instructions exactly and it was fab, cakes did rise, perfect amount of cream. I agree with others, didn't use all the chocolate topping, next time might dribble it down the sides more.
13th Aug, 2014
I thought this recipe sounded quite complex but found it very easy. I have just made this cake for my dads birthday. I bought cherries in kirsch to use which gave the cake a sweet but alcoholic kick (adding a handful of canned black cherries so it wasn't too strong with alcohol). I agree that there is way too much chocolate for the top of the cake, saying that I just poured the entire mixture over the cake so it ran down the sides of the cake too. This made the cake look quite messy and gooey but made it extra delicious :) after all it is all about the taste. I love this recipe you can alter it to make it sweeter or boozier :) And everyone loves it.
17th Jun, 2014
Made this cake at the weekend for the family - they all absolutely loved it - I was begged to make it again! I must say, when building the layers, I thought there was too much cream so I left 1/2 ... however when eating it, it could have done with a bit more cream - so don't scrimp like I did! Lovely cake, will definitely make again
6th Jun, 2014
I've made this cake twice now and both times it turned out perfectly and was very well received by my guests. The cake does have a few stages, but all are very easy. I couldn't find kirsch so substituted with cherry brandy which was perfect, the second time I made the cake I only used cherry juice and it just wasn't quite as tasty! I agree that there is too much chocolate/cream for the topping. Perhaps 2/3 or even 1/2 of the quantity would be plenty. The cake is VERY big - I served it to nine people and still had over a third of a cake left.
marmiteetponpon's picture
13th Mar, 2014
check this amazing black forest recipe from marmite et ponpon
10th Feb, 2014
I made this cake like a victoria sponge with only the two cakes. I used 225g of both butter and caster sugar, 4 med eggs then add 175g of self raising flour and 50g of cocoa sifted. With a dash of milk. Then add to two lined 8inch cake tins. Bake as per this recipe. Then i used normal tinned cherries. I pricked the sponges and just dotted some of the juice from the tin around. Next mix the cherries with the jam. I used half the amount of jam recommended by this recipe but still used almost all the cherries. I used a 100g bar of dark chocolate with 160ml of cream. That gives you more than enough (actually still too much)... I then used a fair amount of the cream that was left to whip up and add to the bottom sponge. Add the cherry mix on top.. Then add the top sponge and when the cream/choc mixture is fairly thick and spreadable spread that on top. We really enjoyed it made this way. The sponges came out nice and thick and it was really delicious. X
19th Nov, 2013
beast best one out there
4th Nov, 2013
I made this cake for our second anniversary and it was a complete hit! everything about it was absolutely perfect. I was a bit concerned after reading all the comments on how the cakes would not rise well but decided to give it a try anyways and thank goodness i did! This is the perfect cake for a very special occasion and I am never letting go of this recipe! Thanks :)
17th Oct, 2013
Really enjoyed this cake but had to make a few changes- the cakes themselves worked really well definitely rich and dense as I remember Black Forest gateau tasting (circa 1975!). The super market didn't have tinned cherries so I bought cherries with kirsch and used the juice to pour into the cake. I mixed these cherries with the cherry jam to form the compote. I agree with the other review which said the chocolate was a bit too runny and also far too much dark chocolate even for this cake I ended up with over half left over. I'll use this recipe again for the cake part. Thanks


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