Proper Black Forest gateau
Serves 10 | prep 25 mins | total time
- 6 medium eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 100g plain flour
- 150g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
- 150g dark chocolate
- 3 tbsp raspberry preserve
- 40 pitted black cherries, fresh or tinned
For the syrup
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp kirsch
For the kirsch cream
- 750ml whipping cream
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp kirsch
Bake the cakes a day ahead and store in an airtight tin
- First, make the sponges. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease 3 x 22cm-diameter sandwich cake tins and line the bases with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla and sugar together using an electric hand whisk until thick and the whisk leaves a trail – it will take about 10 minutes. Sift the cocoa powder and flour together, then fold in. Stir in the melted butter.
- Divide the cake mixture between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a rack to cool completely.
- Shave the block of chocolate using a potato peeler or by scraping the blade of a kitchen knife across the surface. Chill the shavings.
- To make the syrup, put 200ml water and the sugar in a pan; bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Leave to cool; stir in the kirsch. To make 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, if necessary. Place a little kirsch cream on a serving plate and secure one of the sponges on top. Brush the sponge with some of the syrup; spread over the raspberry preserve.
- Sandwich together with a second sponge and brush again with the syrup. Spread over a layer of the kirsch cream, about 1cm (½in) deep. Cover with the cherries, reserving 8.
- Spread a little more cream over the cherries, then top with the final sponge, upside down, to give an even, flat top. Brush with syrup (you may have a little syrup left).
- Spoon a quarter of the remaining cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle; set aside. Using a palette knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the cream.
- Stick the chocolate shavings over the sides of the cake with your palm. Pipe around the edge of the cake and 8 swirls in the middle; place the reserved cherries on the swirls.