Black Forest Gateau

My usual baking is pretty simple as I don’t like to spend hours on a cake and the washing up afterwards, but once in a while I have to go all out and make an effort and bake something a bit more special. Last week was such a day – a birthday – and I decided to make a cake that I have always loved (and the birthday boy, too). I have no idea why Black Forest Gateau these days is considered as being ‘retro’, I think I’ve mentioned before that I simply don’t understand this notion. I mean, here you have chocolate, cherries, cream, a bit of booze, the sour cherries mingling with the sweet cherry jam – what is not to like?

Your shopping list:

  • 175g sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 150g flour
  • 90g butter
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 1 jar of stoned Morello cherries (750g)
  • 100g sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 small jar of Morello cherry jam
  • 3 tablespoons of Kirsch (alcohol)
  • 750 ml whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar
  • 100g grated dark chocolate

And here are the instructions:

Preheat oven to 180C, fan oven to 160C, gas mark 4

Melt the butter over a small heat.

Melt the chocolate in a water bath (I usually use a sturdy mug in a sauce pan)

Separate the eggs into two bowls.

Add the sugar to the yolks and whisk in their bowl over a saucepan of hot water until thick and creamy. Remove from the saucepan.

Sift the flour on to the egg/butter mixture, but do not stir it in.

Now pour on the cooled down melted butter, but still don’t stir the mixture yet.

Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and mix one third of the egg whites with the yolk mixture.

Add the melted chocolate at this point.

Fold the rest of the beaten egg whites carefully into the sponge mixture.

Pour the mix in a greased cake tin and smooth the top.

Put the cake tin into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Make sure it has cooked trough. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least one hour.

Heat the Morello cherries and juice from the jar with the sugar and cinnamon and bring it to the boil. Mix the cornflour with the water and add to the cherries and, once again, bring to the boil. Take it of the hob and leave to cool.

Whip the cream with the vanilla sugar.

Cut the cake into three, or even four layers (I can only do three!).

Sprinkle the Kirsch over the sponge layers.

Spread the jam on to the bottom layer.

Place the second layer on the first and cover with the cherry mixture (keep some cherries for decoration) and spread some of the whipped cream on top (if you do have four layers, the cream goes separately on the third layer).

Place the last layer on top and cover the cake in the rest of the cream and decorate with the grated chocolate and cherries.

This is a cake that hugely benefits from being made early and refrigerated for a while to give all the different flavours a chance to mingle and soak through.

A wonderful cake and well worth the extra washing up.





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