Jamie Oliver's Cracking Christmas: Beautiful Black Forest Gateau

Not your average Black Forest cake, this chocolate-cherry stunner leaves a lasting impression.

Not your average Black Forest cake, this chocolate-cherry stunner leaves a lasting impression

(Credit: David Loftus)

"Without doubt this is one of the most indulgent and famous desserts of the '70s and '80s. So this is our opportunity to take this wonderful Germanic dessert from the Black Forest region and let it relive its original glory with gorgeous fluffy sponge, Chantilly cream, chocolate ganache and smacks of cherry, all of which will seduce you into a chocolate gateau coma. This is a big, bold, fun, special occasion dessert." - Jamie Oliver

Beautiful Black Forest Gateau

By Jamie Oliver



  • 185 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 150 g quality dark chocolate (70%)
  • 125 mL semi-skimmed milk
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 225 g golden caster sugar
  • 150 g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 75 mL buttermilk

Fillings & Toppings:

  • 75 mL buttermilk
  • 25 mL Kirsch
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 100 g quality dark chocolate (70%), plus extra to serve
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 75 g shelled hazelnuts
  • 1 x 370 g pack of quality all-natural cherry pie filling
  • 1 packet of popping candy


Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas 2. Grease and line a deep 20 cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Snap the chocolate into a medium pan, then add the butter, milk and a pinch of sea salt. Place over a low heat until melted together, then remove and leave to cool slightly while you mix the flour, sugars and cocoa powder together in a large bowl, then beat in the eggs, one-by-one. Beat the buttermilk into the melted chocolate mixture, then stir that into the egg mixture. Pour into your prepared cake tin, using a spatula to smooth out the top. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

To check, poke a skewer into the middle — if it comes out clean it’s cooked. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the ganache. Put 200 mL of cream, the Kirsch and honey into a pan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Snap the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Pour the creamy mixture over the chocolate, whisking until smooth and shiny. For the Chantilly cream, pour the remaining cream into a bowl. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds and add them to the cream. Sift in the icing sugar, then whisk to soft peaks and leave in the fridge until needed. Toast the hazelnuts in a pan on a medium heat until golden, then lightly crush in a pestle and mortar.

Cut the sponge horizontally into 3 rounds (check out for guidance). Brush the base sponge with a few tablespoons of cherry pie filling, then spread over half the ganache and one third of the Chantilly cream. Drizzle over a few more tablespoons of cherry pie filling, then sprinkle with a little popping candy and one third of the crushed hazelnuts. Repeat these layers again, place the remaining sponge on top, then pipe or spoon on the rest of the cream. Scatter with the rest of the hazelnuts, drizzle with some of the cherry pie filling juice, if you like, then shave and scatter over some chocolate (there’s a video on to show you how to do this). This is really nice served with fridge-cold, super-ripe fresh cherries, whenever they’re in season.

Yield: Makes 12 servings

This recipe originally appeared on Jamie’s Cracking Christmas © 2014 Jamie Oliver, taken from Jamie’s Comfort Food, published by Michael Joseph. Visit or follow him at @jamieoliver. Photography by David Loftus Copyright © 2014.


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