Black Forest gâteau

A magnificent chocolate gâteau from James Martin, filled with whipped cream and luscious black cherries. Perfect for a celebration
By James Martin
Black Forest gâteau
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 10-12
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • oil, for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 125 g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

For the filling and topping:

  • 1.2 kg tinned cherries, in syrup
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 750 ml double cream, whipped
  • good dash of kirsch

For the chocolate shards:

  • 3-4 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint essence
  • 350 g dark chocolate, broken in pieces


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 30cm diameter deep cake tin. Line a baking tray with cling film.

2. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and beat well for about 5 minutes until very light and fluffy.

3. Carefully fold in the sifted flour and the cocoa powder.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes until springy and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

5. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

6. Drain the cans of cherries in a sieve set over a saucepan. Put the cherries in a bowl. Heat the juice until it comes to the boil.

7. While the juice is heating, put the cornflour in a small bowl and mix with a little water to slacken to a paste. Whisk the paste into the juice when it boils. Strain through a sieve onto the cherries.

8. To make the chocolate shards, mix the Demerara sugar with the peppermint essence. Melt the chocolate and mix with sugar and essence mixture.

9. Using a palette knife, spread the mixture thinly onto the cling film-lined baking try. Put in the fridge to set.

10. Cut the sponge in half horizontally, using a serrated knife.

11. Sandwich the halves together with the whipped cream and half the cherries.

12. Break the chilled chocolate into large shard-like pieces and arrange around the edge of the cake.

13. Arrange the rest of the cherries on top.

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