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Old Fashioned Black Forest Gateau Recipe

When I was about 12 years old, I started working weekends and summer in a bakery here in Donegal Town that was called the Oven Door. It was a great learning place for a young fella who liked to cook and bake, and under the tough but fair tutelage of master baker Patsy Margey, I eventually decided to become a chef!

Every Saturday morning in the bakery, one of my jobs was to make 24 Black Forest Gateaux (along with 24 square chocolate cakes, 24 round chocolate cakes, 24 square coffee cakes and 24 round coffee cakes!) The Black Forest was a great seller in the Oven Door cake shop and Patsy's version also had a biscuit layer, like a cheese cake base, on the bottom!

I thought about this stage of my life one day last week and as I hadn't seen a Black Forest Gateau for years, I suddenly decided to make one! The classic Black Forest was flavoured with Kirsch, which is a clear brandy traditionally made from double distillation of black Morello cherries.

You can use any Cherry Brandy or a non-alcoholic Cherry flavoured drink if you wish. I didn't make a biscuit base for this one. Maybe next time. You can make the chocolate cake the day before if you wish and keep it covered with a cloth until ready to assemble.

It is quite easy, so, here's the recipe and method for a Black Forest Gateaux:

The Cake:
6oz/150g Butter
6oz/150g Caster Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
8oz/200g Plain Flour
3oz/75g Drinking Chocolate
4 Large Eggs
2 level tsp Baking Powder
A papered and greased 10"/25cm Cake Tin

The Filling:
50 ml Kirsch, Cherry Brandy, or Cherry Cordial
1x 425g tin of pitted Black Cherries
3 tablespoons Cornflour mixed in a little water

The Cream:
500ml Whipping Cream
50g Caster Sugar
Dash of Vanilla Extract

The Sides:
200g Grated Chocolate of your choice

1. Cream the Butter, Sugar and Vanilla essence together, until light and fluffy.
2. Slowly add the eggs to mixture while still beating (add a little flour with each egg if it looks like it is starting to curdle).  Mix together the rest of the flour with the drinking chocolate and baking powder and gently add this to the cake mixture.
3. Pour into the cake tin and Bake at 175*C Fan Oven for 35 minutes. Test the centre with a skewer.
4. Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely. Turn it out for preparation.

The Black Forest Gateaux:

1. Take 12 cherries out of the tin and leave aside for decoration.

2. Empty the rest of the tin of black cherries into a small pot. Add a dash of your Kirsch/Cherry Brandy and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Mix the cornflour into the water and add half of this to the hot cherry mix. This will thicken up the juice. Add a little more if you need, to get it to the consistence of a hot Jam mixture. Take it off the heat, pour into a cold bowl and leave in the fridge to cool down completely.

3. Whip 500ml cream together with 50g caster sugar and a dash of Vanilla Extract, until quite stiff.

4. Cut the cake into 3 even layers. Divide the remaining Kirsch/Cherry Brandy over the three layers of cake by sprinkling it equally over each. Then spread some Cream onto each cake layer.

5. Spoon half of the cooled Black Cherry mix onto the first layer of cake. Spread it evenly and place a second layer of cake on top of the first. Repeat with a spread of whipped cream and the other half of the black cherry mix. Top off with the third layer of chocolate cake.

6. Cover the complete cake with whipped cream (keeping some back for decorating the top) and use a scraper or spatula to smooth it off around the sides and the top.

7. Gently cover the sides of the cake with the grated chocolate. Work this quickly so that it doesn't start to melt and stick to your fingers. Tidy up your service plate around the edges of the cake.

8. Pipe or spoon 12 rosettes of cream around the edge of the gateau to portion it and pop the extra black cherries on top of each. Sprinkle some more grated chocolate into the centre of the cake to finish.

Now, see how long it will last!! Enjoy your Black Forest Gateau!


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