Black Forest gateau recipe

(330 ratings)

Our Black Forest gateau has a rich, luxurious chocolate sponge sandwiched with freshly whipped cream and topped with sweet cherries...

Black Forest gateau
(Image credit: Getty)
  • healthy
Preparation Time45 mins
Cooking Time18 mins
Total Time1 hours 3 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories287 Kcal14%
Sugar29.4 g33%
Fat14.6 g21%
Saturated Fat7.5 g38%
Salt0.3 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Salt0.3 gRow 5 - Cell 2

Serving 10, this impressive Black Forest gateau is perfect for special occasions or family gatherings. 

The rich chocolate sponge is infused with dark chocolate and high-quality cocoa powder. Sandwiched and topped with fresh cream as well as black and fresh cherries. The cherry jam adds a zing of flavour to every bite. Prep in just 45 minutes. A surprising 287 calories per portion. 


  • Butter, for greasing
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 50g good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 1 x 425g tin pitted black cherries in fruit juice
  • 2tbsp kirsch or cassis
  • 2tbsp good-quality black cherry jam
  • 200ml whipping cream
  • Handful fresh cherries to decorate, if available




  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly butter 2 x 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins and line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk for 3–4 minutes, until pale and slightly thickened. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the cocoa powder and 25g chocolate, roughly chopped.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add 1 spoonful to the chocolate mixture to loosen slightly, then carefully fold in the rest using a large metal spoon. Divide the chocolate mix between the cake tins and bake in the middle of the oven for 18 minutes, until the sponges are no longer wobbly in the middle when you shake the tins gently. They will be puffed up when you take them out of the oven and will sink a little during cooling.
  4. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins, then slide a palette knife around the outside of each to ease from the tins. Discard the baking parchment and place 1 cake on a serving plate.
  5. Drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Mix 2 tablespoons cherry juice with the kirsch or cassis and drizzle over the cake on the plate. Evenly spread the jam on top. Softly whip the cream and spread half of it over the jam. Cut two-thirds of the cherries in half and place on the cream. Finely grate the remaining 25g chocolate and sprinkle half over the cherries.
  6. Top with the second cake and spread the rest of the cream on top. Place the reserved whole cherries around the top edge. Scatter the remaining chocolate in the middle and arrange the fresh cherries in the centre.

Top tips for making Black Forest gateau

Kirsch is a German cherry water - its used in lots of baking recipes so if you buy a bottle you'll definitely use it up, especially if you plan on making this classic Black Forest gateau often. 

What is the difference between Black Forest gateau and cake?

A gateau is a much more complex cake with a traditionally light sponge and several layers. Cakes are much denser and are often a couple of layers at most. Black Forest gateau sandwiched and iced with fresh cream whereas often cake is made with buttercream or a ganache. Gateau also takes much longer to make and set. 

How many layers should a Black Forest gateau have?

Our Black Forest gateau has two layers - but you can make this gateau with four layers if preferred by slicing each sponge into two. Once cooled, put the cake onto a board and using a bread knife slice the sponge cakes in half horizontally. Layer with cream and cherries. 

We've decorated our cake with whipped cream. You can add shards of chocolate, pipe cream swirls on top with cherries or cover the edges with grated chocolate. The choice is yours. 

You might also like...

Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 11 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies