Black Forest Gateau
Black Forest Gateau makes a lovely no-fuss dinner party dessert in the winter months. You can make the sponges in advance, wrap in cling film and freeze until needed. When it comes to defrosting them, leave to reach room temperature, then unwrap, or the condensation will make them soggy. Then simply layer the cakes with the whipped cream, jam and fruit an hour or two before you are ready to serve dessert.
The deep black cocoa powder is optional but imparts a lovely dark colour – you can replace this with normal cocoa powder if you prefer.
For the cake
450g self-raising flour
250g caster sugar
70g cocoa powder
2 tbs deep black cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
5 free-range eggs
375ml sunflower oil
300ml semi-skimmed milk
For the filling and decoration
450ml double cream
2 tbs icing sugar
460g jar black cherries in kirsch
Black cherry jam
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius fan (320 degrees Fahrenheit fan).
- Place a baking parchment circle into the bottom of each cake tin.
- Put the flour, sugar, both kinds of cocoa powder, bicarb and salt in the large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the eggs and oil in the medium mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Mix the egg and oil mixture into the dry ingredients – a wooden spoon works best for this.
- Bit by bit, incorporate the milk into the mixture until the mixture is glossy and fluid.
- Divide the cake mixture equally between the three tins – a soup ladle is brilliant for this.
- Bake for 20 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- When the cakes are cool, use the bread knife to cut off the domed peaks of each cake.
- Whip the cream into peaks (a hand-held mixer is the quickest way to do this).
- Place one cake on a cake stand, then spread 4 tablespoons of jam over the cut surface.
- Take around 15 of the kirsch-soaked cherries and cut them roughly in half and scatter over the jam. Cover thickly with whipped cream.
- Place the next cake on top and repeat the process.
- Flip over the last cake so that the flat side is uppermost, and place on top of the other cakes.
- Spread more jam over the top, then transfer the remaining cream into the piping bag and pipe ‘peaks’ all the way around the edge of the cake.
- Grate some dark chocolate and sprinkle it over the peaks.
- Top each peak with a whole kirsch cherry and serve!
Leftover cake – however unlikely – must be refrigerated or the cream will spoil.