Proper Black Forest Gateau

Proper Black Forest Gateau
Serves 6


6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g (8oz) golden caster sugar

50g (2oz) cocoa powder

100g (3½oz) plain flour

150g (5oz) unsalted butter

150g (5oz) block of dark chocolate

3 tbsp raspberry preserve

40 black cherries, pitted

Icing sugar, for dusting

For the syrup

200ml (7fl oz) water

175g (6oz) golden caster sugar

2 tbsp kirsch

For the kirsch cream

750ml (1¼ pints) whipping cream

75g (3oz) golden caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp kirsch

Method for the sponge 

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas 4. Grease three x 22cm (8½ in) sandwich cake tins and line the bases with baking paper.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla and sugar together with an electric hand whisk until thick. Sift the cocoa powder and flour together, fold and stir in the melted butter.

Divide the cake mixture between the tins and bake for 20–25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Shave the chocolate using a potato peeler or a large kitchen knife. Leave the shavings in the refrigerator until required.

To make the syrup Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil – then keep it boiling for 5 minutes. Leave to cool, then you can add the kirsch.

For the the kirsch cream Whip the cream and sugar to firm peaks, then fold in the vanilla and kirsch.

To assemble the cake Level the tops of the sponges, using a sharp knife. Brush the sponge with the syrup, then spread over the raspberry preserve. Sandwich together with the second sponge and add more syrup.

Spread over a thick layer of the kirsch cream and cover with cherries, keeping 8 for decoration. Smooth more cream over the cherries to secure them, top with the final sponge and brush with syrup. 

Spoon a quarter of the cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Using a palette knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining cream and stick the chocolate shavings to the sides of the cake. Pipe icing around the edge of the cake and 8 swirls in the middle, place the final cherries on top of the swirls. Dust with icing sugar. 

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