Layers of chocolate sponge soaked with cherry liqueur and spread with tart cherry jam, then layered with whole cherries and whipped cream and topped off with dark chocolate shavings.
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For the chocolate cake:
- 340g/12oz caster sugar
- 340g/12oz unsalted butter, softened
- 5 eggs
- 240g/8½oz self raising flour, sifted
- 100g/3½oz cocoa, sifted
For the filling:
- 1 (340g) jar Morello or black cherry jam
- 1 tin pitted Morello or black cherries in syrup
- 2 tbsp kirsch liqueur
- 500ml/17½fl oz double cream
- 50g/2oz good quality dark chocolate, shaved
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line the bottom of a 20cm (8in) round springform cake tin with parchment paper, grease and flour the sides.
- Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, making sure to scrape down the side of the bowl between each addition, until thoroughly combined and mixture is pale and thick. Carefully fold in the flour and cocoa powder.
- Spoon batter in to the prepared baking tin, smooth the surface with a spatula or back of a spoon. Place on middle shelf in preheated oven, reduce heat to 170°C/325°F/gas 3 and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes - 1 hour 45 minutes until cake is firm and a knife inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and leave cake to cool completely on a wire rack before assembling.
- To assemble, drain the tin of cherries, reserve the syrup and combine syrup with the kirsch. Use a long serrated knife to cut the chocolate cake horizontally into three equal rounds. Place the bottom cake round on a serving plate, the other two on a large chopping board. Spoon or brush the cherry syrup evenly over each round, leave to soak for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, lightly beat double cream with a whisk or electric mixer until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Spread one third of the cherry jam on each cake layer then lightly spread one third of the whipped cream on the bottom cake layer, strew with one third of the drained cherries. Carefully place the second cake layer on top, jam side up, and repeat with one third of the whipped cream and cherries. Place the last cake layer on top, jam side up, and lightly spread with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate with shaved chocolate and remaining cherries.
- When in season, use fresh stalked cherries to decorate the top of the cake.
- Chocolate cake can be baked a day ahead and stored in an airtight container once completely cooled. Once assembled, cake should be kept chilled and eaten on the same day.