A staple of dinner parties in the 70s, Black Forest Gateau has lost none of its retro charm and is an indulgent bake that combines the timeless flavours of cherries and chocolate. You can spice this recipe up with the addition of some kirsch liqueur or keep it alcohol-free.
- 175g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 200g of good quality dark chocolate broken into squares
- 300g plain flour
- 375g golden caster sugar
- 25g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch of salt
- 100ml boiling water
- 2 eggs
- 200g buttermilk (or milk with a squeeze of lemon juice)
- 425g pitted cherries and 2 tbsp of juice from the tin
- 100f morello cherry jam
- 4 tbsp kirsch (or extra cherry juice from the tin if you prefer)
- 500ml double cream
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- Fresh cherries 9optional) for decoration
1. Heat your oven to 180c (160c for fan ovens) and grease 3 x 20cm cake tins with butter (you can also use baking paper). In a pan over a bowl of water, heat 75g of the chocolate with the butter, stirring until fully melted.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk (or milk and lemon substitute) then add into the dry mix along with the melted butter and chocolate. Add the boiling water and use a hand whisk or electric mixer until the batter is lump-free.
3. Divide the batter between the three tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer emerges clean.
4. Prick the cakes with a skewer and leave to cool. Mix the cherry juice and kirsch (or more juice) and drizzle over the cakes.
5. Mix the tinned cherries with the jam then heat 200 ml of the double cream to a gentle simmer, then add the rest of the chocolate to the hot cream. Stir until melted and set aside until it becomes spreadable.
6. Whisk the remaining double cream with the icing sugar until it forms soft peaks. Spread over two of the cakes then top with the jammy cherries. Stack the cakes together, spreading the chocolate cream over the top layer of the three tiers. Top with fresh cherries and serve.