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Black Forest Gateau


  • For the chocolate cake

  • 85g (3 oz) good quality dark chocolate

  • 115g (4 oz) unsalted butter

  • 85g (3 oz) soft dark brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp golden syrup

  • 175g (6 oz) self-raising flour

  • 25g (1 oz) cocoa

  • 2 free range eggs, beaten

  • 150ml (¼ pt) full fat milk

  • For the filling

  • 2 cans black cherries in syrup

  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch or brandy

  • For the icing

  • 200ml (7 fl oz) double cream

  • 200g (7 oz) good quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

  • To assemble

  • 400ml (14 fl oz) double cream

  • Grated chocolate


  • 1.

    Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Prepare an 8-inch, loose-bottomed cake tin by lightly buttering and then dusting the tin with a little plain flour (shaking off any excess) and then line the tin with greaseproof paper.

  • 2.

    Place chocolate, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and gently heat until everything has melted and combined.  Allow to cool slightly.

  • 3.

    With the whisk attachment connected, whisk the eggs and milk together in a mixer then add the chocolate mixture and the sifted flour and cocoa. Mix on a slow speed until brought together (don’t overbeat).

  • 4.

    Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the surface with a knife and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes until firm and springy.  To test to see if the cake is done insert a clean skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean then the cake is ready.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.

  • 5.

    Drain the cherries, reserving 200ml (7 fl oz) of the cherry syrup.  Add the Kirsch to the syrup.

  • 6.

    Slice the cake into three equally sized rounds (use a large serrated knife to do this).  If your cake hasn’t risen quite enough for three rounds slice it into two rounds instead - it will still taste delicious.

  • 7.

    Place each round on a chopping board and spoon the cherry syrup evenly over each disc and leave to soak in.

  • 8.

    For the icing put the chocolate, cream and sugar in a small saucepan and cook together until the chocolate and sugar is melted and fully combined with the cream. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator, to thicken slightly.

  • 9.

    Whip 400ml (14 fl oz) double cream until thick.  Spread one of the discs with half of it, cover with half of the cherries, press them in lightly, top with the second disc of sponge and repeat this process.  Finish with the third disc on top and then gently press the whole cake together with the palms of your hands.

  • 10.

    Remove the melted chocolate from the refrigerator. Give it a quick stir and then using a palette knife thickly spread the top and sides of the cake with the mixture.  Start by covering the top first, so if the chocolate oozes down the sides of the cake it won’t matter.  Sprinkle the top with grated chocolate then leave the cake to set in a cool place.  Slice into large wedges and serve.

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