Tuesday, 24 September 2013

If you go down to the woods today...

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But when life gives you a tin of cherries which you've opened by mistake what do you do? No second thoughts required: make Black Forest gateau!

Black Forest gateau on a white cake stand
Black Forest gateau

A simple fat-free chocolate sponge sprinkled with Kirsch, then laden with cherry jam, cherries and whipped cream, all topped with a glossy, rich chocolate ganache. Sounds a lot of fuss, but you know I wouldn't have made it if it was. 

I served this for pudding at a recent dinner party. I'd invited several opinionated food-loving friends and as the date grew closer so I grew more terrified about cooking for them. I eventually decided to serve a 70's meal - starting with Snowballs and mushroom vol au vents followed by prawn cocktail, coq au vin, Black Forest gateau and Matchmakers with coffee. 

Black Forest gateau

3 large eggs
175g caster sugar
175g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons hot water
350ml double cream
450g tin pitted black cherries, drained
4 tablespoons Kirsch*
3 tablespoons cherry jam (I used St Dalfour no sugar added
100g dark chocolate

Pre-heat oven to 190/gas 5. 

Make the sponge: Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. When the mixture is pale and thick and you can just see the trail of the whisk, remove it from the heat and whisk for another 2 minutes. Sift and fold in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and hot water. Transfer to a 23cm cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. Slice it in 2 when the sponge is cool. 

Assembly: Sprinkle each cut side with 2 tablespoons Kirsch, then spread the bottom piece with jam, 300ml whipped cream and cherries. Sandwich the cakes together.

The icing on the cake: Bring the remaining 50ml cream to the boil, then remove from the heat and stir in 100g chocolate. Allow it to cool a little and spread over the top of the cake. Decorate with a few reserved cherries and some icing sugar.

*For a non-alcoholic version use cherry juice

Slice of Black Forest gateau on a plate
One slice or two?


  1. Ooh retro, love it! Why don't we see these around, they're so nice. Give me a cake fork.... : )

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

  2. Everyone loves a bit of nostalgia, especially when it's covered in chocolate! Let me know how you get on if you decide to make it.