Traditional Black Forest Gateau – My Family Ties

Indulgent, rich and fruity the Black Forest Gateau which I saw last week on The Great British Bake Off looked a little technical for me but I thought I would give it go as both my girls wanted to see what a home made version would taste like. What a gorgeous tasting cake if a little tricky as it has a few components to master, one of the hardest was getting the shaved chocolate to ‘stick’ to the sides of the cake without melting it on your hands! The result was a huge winner in our family and worth the trouble it takes to make.

If you have a special occasion coming up this is a real treat for the table, the tiers of cake are dense and rich balanced well with cherries and cream, and it serves 10 so is great for a family get-together. It may seem a little kitsch to serve a Black Forest Gateau but this is a recipe that has the wow factor and is a perfect end to any meal.

Black Forest gateau recipe

Black Forest gateau recipe

Black Forest gateau recipe


  • 6 eggs – at room temperature
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 150g unsalted butter melted
  • 155g dark chocolate
  • 3-4 tablespoons raspberry jam/preserve 
  • Canned or fresh cherries, pitted enough for the centre and 8 for the top of the cake

For The Cream

  • 700ml whipping cream
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons sieved icing sugar


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C / Gas mark 4 and grease and line 3 8.5 inch/22 cm cake tins.
  • Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla to a food mixer and whisk until light and the whisk leaves a trail when it is lifted above the mixture.
  • Sieve the cocoa powder and flour together then fold into the mixture until combined.
  • Carefully stir in the melted butter.
  • Once combined add to the prepared tins evenly and bake for 20-25 minutes or until springy. 
  • Once baked remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Assembly and Decoration

  • First take the block of chocolate and using a vegetable peeler or sharp small knife, shave the chocolate to create the decorative shavings for the side of the gateau.
  • Once complete, set aside into the fridge to keep cool.
  • Next make sure you warm through your jam/preserve and sieve if it has any seeds in.
  • Add the cream to a food mixer and whisk until soft then add the icing sugar and vanilla extract until it resembles firm peaks,  be careful not to over-whip.
  • Get everything ready by removing the chocolate from the fridge and adding the cream to a piping bag with a large star nozzle.
  • Secure the first chocolate tier with a little cream and brush the top with some of the warmed preserve/jam, add the second tier of chocolate cake and brush with the preserve/jam.
  • Spread the cream onto the second tier to roughly 1.5cm thickness, then cover with the cherries. Once the cherries are all in place cover them with a second layer of cream to secure them.
  • Top with the remaining tier, brush with some of the warmed preserve/jam and cover the top and sides with cream. Once a smooth look has been achieved use a palette knife dipped in hot water to give a final smooth finish.
  • Carefully add the shaved chocolate to the sides of the gateau by using the palm of your hand. You have to do this quickly as the heat from your skin will melt the chocolate. 
  • Pipe around the edge of the cake, the bottom of the cake and also eight – ten swirls within the circle of the cake and then add your reserved cherries to the swirls. Dust the cherries with a little icing sugar.
Black Forest gateau recipe

Black Forest gateau recipe

Serve and Enjoy! 

I found the most tricky part was the chocolate work, you have to be so quick as the chocolate shavings melt really fast, and to get a professional looking gateau you must try to get this done as fast as you. If you have a cake turn-table it would really help with the decoration too. The only addition I would try for next time is to make a kirsch syrup to add to each tier of the chocolate cake to add to the flavour.

My bake wasn’t perfect, I managed to over-whip the cream a little (and tried to get it back with some extra un whipped cream!) also the cherry mixture in the layers could have been a little more generous, but that’s what I like about home baking, you bake and you learn. It is all trial and error and next time I bake this recipe I will remember my mistakes and improve. I did really like the process though and both my daughters want me to make it again soon! 

I am linking this up withe the #CakeClub challenge over at Kerry Cooks blog head over to get lots of inspiration for delicious cakes!

Thank you for reading, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my recipe for Black Forest Gateau. If you like what you read, subscribe to my blog by adding your e-mail address to the box on the right.  You will be the first to hear of my updates.

Mummy Mishaps


  1. August 13, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    wowed this looks very impressive – you even added all of the chocolate sprinkles all around the cake ! it looks gorgeous x

    • August 16, 2015 / 10:44 pm

      Thank you so much Jenny, it was very tricky with the chocolate shavings and took some time! Great to try out this recipe though and it was a real treat for the family too 🙂

  2. August 13, 2015 / 5:04 pm

    I love BFG but I'm all fingers and thumbs so not very goods with fiddly things but the good news is I'm excellent at eating cake, it comes from all the practice!

    • August 16, 2015 / 10:46 pm

      It has taken me some practice but I am slowly getting better at baking and the tasting of the bakes is my families favourite part! 🙂

  3. August 13, 2015 / 6:43 pm

    Worth the effort – it looks fab – well done!

  4. August 14, 2015 / 11:36 am

    I adore Black Forest Gateau but have never considered making it myself as I'm more of a loaf cake kinda girl but, after watching GBBO and seeing your recipe, I might give it a go.

    • August 16, 2015 / 10:47 pm

      It's worth the effort Ali as it's so tasty and different too, let me know how you get on 🙂

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