Black Forest Gateau

Nigel Kirkup brings back this 1960's classic, layers of chocolate sponge sandwiched together with chocolate mousse, and cherries before being smothered in cream and topped with chocolate shavings
Black Forest Gateau
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the cake

  • 225 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200 g self-raising white flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder

For the filling

  • 2 heaped tsp arrowroot
  • 400 g tin pitted morello cherries, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 litre double cream, lightly whipped
  • 175 g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • little kirsch, optional


1. For the cake: preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4, and grease and flour two 20 cm sandwich cake tins. Beat the butter and caster sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.

2. Sieve the flour and cocoa into the bowl and fold them in gently until everything is fully combined. Divide the mixture between the 2 prepared cake tins and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cakes spring back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave them to cool for a few minutes in the tins before turning them out and letting them cool completely on a wire rack.

3. For the filling: stir the arrowroot into a little of the juice from the cherries, then add it to the remaining juice. Transfer to a small pan and warm over a gentle heat until the sauce thickens, then leave it to cool. Beat the cream until it forms soft peaks, and coarsely grate 60 g of the chocolate; set aside.

4. Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (or in the microwave, but keep a close eye on it). Once it has melted completely, remove the bowl from the heat and beat the egg yolks into the chocolate. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat 1 tablespoon of them into the melted chocolate. Beat in 1 tablespoon of the cream as well, to loosen the mixture, before folding in the remaining egg whites.

5. Slice the cooled cakes in half horizontally, sprinkle a little of the kirsch on to each one and sandwich them together with the chocolate mixture. Pipe or spoon a 4 cm band of cream around the top of one of the two cakes and fill the 'cavity' with the cherries (reserving about 8 for decoration). Pour the thickened juice over them and then gently place the other cake on top. Cover the whole cake, top and side, with a layer of cream and coat the side with the grated chocolate until it is speckled with chocolate shavings. Pipe rosettes of cream around the top and top each alternative one with a cherry. Fill the centre of the circle with more grated chocolate.

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