When it comes to baking showstopper cakes I turn to Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food cookbook. Do you remember the Hummingbird Cake I made for my birthday in January? It was just as beautiful as it was delicious to eat! A few weeks ago I was looking for summer cake ideas for my baking club (Band of Bakers) for which I wanted to use cherries which are ripe and lovely at this time of the year.

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The Black Forest Gâteau was exactly what I was looking for to create a beautiful cake that would stands out on a dessert table.

A Black Forest Gâteau is a German layered cake (its original name is Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) made with chocolate, rich cream, cherries and kirsch – a clear brandy traditionally made from double distillation of morello cherries.

What I love about Jamie Oliver’s recipe is the soft and rich chocolate sponge, so good that I will use the same recipe to make a simple chocolate cake in the future.

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The traditional way of preparing a Black Forest Cake is to stack up two or three sponge cakes with layers of whipped cream and sweet black cherries (or sour cherries). This cake is meant to have rich flavours and an alcohol punch, but it shouldn’t be too sweet. In Jamie’s recipe there is an extra layer of chocolate ganache with roasted hazelnuts scattered over it, though they are not required in a traditional Black Forest cake.

I didn’t use kirsch at all, but I later found a recipe that substitutes liquor with cherry juice, so that’s an idea if you want to keep your cake alcohol-free. Also, Jamie’s recipe listed “cherry pie filling” as one of the ingredients, but I replaced it with a few tablespoons of Morello Cherry Conserve.

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Here is my adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s black forest cake recipe:

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 185g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 140g dark chocolate
  • 120ml milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 80g Greek yoghurt

For the filling and topping

  • 240 double cream
  • 2-3 tsp of Kirsch de Cuisine Liquor (or cherry juice)
  • 40g dark chocolate (plus extra to shave on top)
  • 240ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 5-6 tbsp black cherry jam
  • 1 small punnet of fresh cherries

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease and line two 23cm round cake tins.

Break the chocolate into a small pan over low heat, add the butter, milk and a pinch of salt. Stir the ingredients until they are melted, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Mix the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl, then beat in the eggs one by one. Add the yoghurt to the chocolate mixture, then stir that into the egg mixture.

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Divide the cake batter into the cake tins and bake for about 60-70 minutes, or until cooked through. Leave the cake to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool down completely.

To make the ganache, mix 240ml of cream and kirsch in a small pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the chocolate and whisk until you get a smooth cream.

In the large bowl of a food processor, mix the remaining cream (240ml) with sifted icing sugar. Whisk to soft peaks and leave in the fridge until needed.

To build the cake, brush the base sponge with a few tablespoons of jam, then spread over the chocolate ganache and half of the whipped cream using a spatula. Place the remaining sponge on top, then pipe on the rest of the cream. Decorate with fresh cherries and chocolate shavings.

Keep the cake in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.

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  • Giulia, this is absolutely gorgeous!!! Black Forest Cake is one of my all time favorites.

    • Thanks, it’s a great recipe!

    • Thank you! It’s a great recipe and it’s a fun cake to decorate!

  • Yum! This looks and sounds delicious!

  • ami@naivecookcooks

    This looks so good!!

  • Vanessa Baked

    What a beautiful cake!

  • Cake! I love cake. I could live off cake. Forever and always. And not the dry butter cake…but the ones with whipped cream, pudding oranother kind of cream! Being from Germany I looovvvee Black Forest cake. There can never be enough cherries or cream on it.

    Now I crave cake!

    • I always crave cake! I need to make make sure I taste Black Forest cake next time I’m in Germany…you know, for comparisons’ sake! ;)

      • I would join you. To make sure you are not ripped off!

  • Mamabear

    Doesn’t look like anyone has tried the recipe, which I recommend before you get all excited about it. The cakes were rather flat ( flatter than in pics) so I suggest you reexamine your recipe. I come to this suggestion because your ganache recipe is waaaaay off so perhaps here are other recipe errors or typos? This proportion of chocolate to cream basically makes hot chocolate ( the drink) Your basic loose spreadable ganache is about 1:1 chocolate to cream. So I anticipate the finished product to be a tad flat. Though I expect still very tasty because it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate cream cake and cherries.

  • Needtoread

    I love this recipe. The cake is so moist, almost like a cross between cake and torte. Someone commented below about the ganache but it worked fine for me- just keep whipping and let it cool before spreading. I didn’t use nearly as much whipped cream – that is a lot in the recipe! I also didn’t add icing sugar to the cream as there’s already plenty to keep it sweet. I used the pie filling instead of jam and morello flavoured glace cherries for the top. Didn’t bother with cherry juice or liquer either. This is a massive hit in my family, thanks

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