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Friday 1 August 2014

Let Her Eat Cake: Black Forest Gateau Cake

I was looking back through some of the amazing Domestic Sluttery cakey posts over the years (whilst cramming my face with cake and sobbing along to All By Myself) and was shocked, nay, DISMAYED to discover that the pinnacle of 80s desserts, the black forest gateau, had only featured in cookie form. We simply couldn't leave without honouring the kitschiest of puddings.

This is a beast of a cake. Two layers of vanilla sponge, two layers of kirsch-soaked chocolate cake, kirsch-and-jam-laden-fresh cherries, whipped cream, oh, and a dark chocolate cherry ganache as well. It's a beast of epic proportions and the final cake recipe. I will miss everything about DS, but the people most of all, so do come and say hello over @esthercrumpet or at

Black Forest Gateau Cake (serves absolutely everybody you know)
Preparation time: 2-3 hours
Baking time: 1 hour (for both cakes)

You will need:
The vanilla batter:
  • 400g butter, softened
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 400g self-raising flour
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 25ml milk
For the chocolate batter:
  • 150g good quality dark chocolate
  • 3 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
  • 175g butter
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp kirsch or cherry brandy
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp plain or Greek yoghurt 
For the dark chocolate ganache:
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 280ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp kirsch or cherry brandy
For the filling and decoration:
  • 200g fresh cherries, stoned
  • 5 tbsp berry jam
  • 3 tbsp kirsch
To decorate:
  • 600ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • A few drops of vanilla extract / seeds from a vanilla pod
  • White chocolate fingers
  • Fresh cherries
Make it!
The vanilla layers:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line four cake tins: I used 23cm one, a 22cm one, a 20cm one and an 18cm one. 
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, with a tablespoon of the flour and beat well. Repeat with rest of the eggs, beating well in between. 
  4. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Add the rest of the flour in thirds, folding in lightly in between until it is just incorporated and no streaks are showing.
  6. Add the milk in splashes, so that the cake has a dropping texture. (You might not need all of it).
  7. Dollop into the largest and second smallest tin (the 1st and the 3rd, counting from the bottom). 
  8. Smooth over the top and bake for around 35-40 minutes, or until it's golden and risen, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
The chocolate layers:
  1. Chop the chocolate roughly and place in a large bowl with the cocoa powder. 
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. 
  3. Pour the butter over the chocolate and cocoa, stirring until smooth and combined. (Give it a 10 second blast in the microwave if it hasn't all melted)
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar, then pour into the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Add the kirsch.
  5. Gently fold in the flour and baking soda, the stir in the yoghurt.
  6. Spoon into the cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes.
  7. Poke a few holes in the still warm cakes with a skewer, and drizzle over a few tablespoons of kirsch. 
The dark chocolate ganache:
  1. While the second lot of cakes are cooking, break the dark chocolate in small chunks and place in a bowl.
  2. Place the cream in a small saucepan and heat gently until it is almost at boiling point.
  3. Pour over the chocolate, stirring well until all the lumps have dissolved. 
  4. Add another tablespoon of kirsch here, if you want your cake extra boozy. You probably do. 
  5. Cover and set aside to cool. 
The cherry filling:
  1. Throw the cherries, jam and kirsch in a small saucepan and set over a low heat. 
  2. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced and sticky. Set aside.
  1. Place the cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whip until it reaches a stiff-ish, spreadable consistency. 
  2. Spread the bottom cake (vanilla) with a layer of the cherry filling, then spoon over a 1/4 of the ganache and finally a 1/4 of the cream. Sandwich the next layer (chocolate) and repeat the process until you have a TOWER of delicious. 
  3. Use the remaining cream to lightly frost the sides of the cake, to catch any crumbs. 
  4. Use white chocolate fingers to line the sides of the cake, before decorating the top with fresh cherries. 
  5. Eat in huge slices whilst sobbing loudly and unashamedly to our karaoke favourite, the 1984 Foreigner classic 'I wanna know what love isssss...'


  1. Black forest gateau is actually my favourite so I'm thrilled it was your choice for the final cake! Cherries and chocolate is the finest combination.

    1. Hurrah! So pleased that you approve. I agree - I'm now addicted to kirsch and dark chocolate. *drool*

    2. Wow. This week was the /worst/ time to give up sugar. I'll miss you all & your cakey triumphs.


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