Proper Black Forest Gateau
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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