Black Forest pannacotta cake

Catherine Fulvio's decadent cake is a heavenly mix of sponge, chocolate, cherries, liqueur and creamy custard
By Catherine Fulvio
Black Forest pannacotta cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes plus 6 hours chilling time
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the glaze

  • 330 g canned cherries, drained and de-seeded
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp arrowroot

For the cake

  • 175 g plain flour
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 165 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the pannacotta

  • 6 leaves gelatine
  • 370 ml double cream
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 500 g natural yogurt
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped
  • 10 tbsp kirsch

For the ganache

  • 250 ml double cream
  • 20 g butter
  • 430 g white chocolate

To decorate

  • 200 g canned cherries, drained, halved, de-seeded and soaked in 100ml kirsch
  • kirsch, for brushing and mixing
  • white chocolate, cigarillos
  • crystallized fresh cherries


1. For the glaze: put the cherries and caster sugar in a saucepan and heat gently for about 5 minutes until the sugar melts, bringing to a simmer. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a sieve. Halve the cherries and set them aside.

2. Return the liquid to the hob and put over a low heat. Mix the arrowroot with one tablespoon of water and add to the saucepan, stir thoroughly and remove from the heat. Set aside to cool.

3. For the cake: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter the sides of a 23cm springform cake pan and line the base with baking paper.

4. Combine the flour, caster sugar, bicarbonate of soda and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth and creamy.

5. Put the cocoa into a small bowl, pour over 175ml boiling water and stir until smooth. Stir about three-quarters of this mixture into the butter and flour mixture.

6. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and stir in the remaining cocoa mixture and vanilla extract. (This tempers the eggs and prevents them from curdling while mixing.)

7. Slowly stream the egg, cocoa and vanilla mix into the rest of the cake mixture, in 3-4 batches, beating well after each addition.

8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until springy to the touch in the centre. Remove the cake from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool. Clean the pan, for re-use when assembling the cake.

9. For the pannacotta: soak the gelatine in cold water until soft.

10. Put the cream and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved, then just bring to a simmering point before removing from the heat.

11. Squeeze out the excess water from the softened gelatine, drop the gelatine into the hot cream mixture and whisk until dissolved. Add the yogurt, vanilla seeds and 1-2 tbsp kirsch and whisk until smooth, then transfer to a jug for ease of pouring.

12. Cut the cooled cake in half horizontally, into 2 discs of equal thickness. Grease the cleaned springform pan with a little butter, then place one of the cakes back in the pan.

13. Mix 4 tablespoons of the cherry glaze with 8 tablespoons of kirsch. Brush the cake in the pan liberally with the cherry and kirsch liquid. Arrange half the halved cherries on the cake and pour over half of the pannacotta mixture. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour to settle a little.

14. Remove the cake from the fridge, top with the remaining sponge disc, then brush with more cherry and kirsch liquid. Scatter over the remaining halved cherries and top with the remaining pannacotta.

15. Return the cake to the fridge and leave to set for at least 4 hours before decorating.

16. For the ganache: bring the cream and the butter to simmering point in a saucepan before stirring in the chopped chocolate. Continue to stir until all the chocolate has melted, then set aside to cool.

17. Remove the cake from the fridge and gently run a knife around the inside of the pan before releasing the pan and removing the cake.

18. Spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache around the outside, allowing the ganache to set a little before sticking the white chocolate cigarillos around the cake. Finish the top with a final layer of the remaining cherry glaze.

19. Decorate with crystallized fresh cherries.

Rate This Recipe