Gordon Ramsay's Black Forest cake recipe

(1035 ratings)

Gordon Ramsay's Black Forest cake. Find out more recipes at www.goodtoknow.co.uk

Preparation Time1 hours 30 mins
Cooking Time50 mins
Total Time2 hours 20 mins

Gordon Ramsay’s black forest cake, inspired by the traditional German dessert, is a chocolate-lovers’ dream. 

This Black Forest cake combines dark chocolate, cherries and espresso coffee to create a deliciously rich and velvety cake. Topped with double cream, cherry compote and brandy to give it that extra special touch, this cake is a seriously decadent treat. Gordon Ramsay is famed for his exceptionally high standards, so you can be assured that this Black Forest gateau cake recipe is truly one of the best.


For the chocolate sponge:

  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cooled espresso or strong coffee
  • 100g dark chocolate (minimum 65% cocoa solids), melted in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water

For the filling and topping:

  • 500g ripe cherries
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 75ml kirsch or cherry brandy
  • 550ml double cream
  • 1-2 tbsp icing sugar, to taste
  • 4-5 tbsp good-quality cherry compote
  • Grated chocolate, to garnish




  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/Gas 2. Butter, line and butter again the base and sides of a 23cm cake tin. Sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder together and set aside.
  2. In a large grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks using an electric beater. Beat the butter and sugar in another mixing bowl until pale and light. Beat in the yolks one at a time, then fold the espresso through, followed by the melted chocolate.
  3. In several batches, fold the sifted flour mixture and the beaten egg whites alternately into the butter mixture. Spread the combined batter over the base of the prepared tin and level with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake emerges clean. Cool for 5 minutes and then turn out on to a wire rack. Peel off the baking parchment.
  5. Remove the stems and pit three-quarters of the cherries, leaving the stems on the remaining cherries to garnish. Put all the cherries, the sugar and kirsch in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the cherries are just soft, giving them an occasional stir. Tip the cherries and kirsch syrup into a bowl and leave to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk the cream and icing sugar into soft peaks.
  7. Using a long, sharp knife, halve the cake horizontally. Drizzle each half with the kirsch syrup from the cherries to moisten. Place the bottom half on a cake stand and spread over half the whipped cream. Arrange the stemmed and pitted cherries over the cream, then spoon over a layer of cherry compote. Top with the upper half of the cake. Spread the remaining cream on top. Sprinkle over a little grated chocolate, then garnish with the whole stemmed cherries.

Tips for making Gordon Ramsay's Black Forest cake:

Fresh stemmed cherries are the perfect garnish for the assembled cake, but if they're not available, use a large jar of marinated cherries in kirsch.

Why do they call it Black Forest cake?

Black Forest cake gets its name from the speciality liquor made in the Black Forest mountain range in Germany. It's called Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser, which translates to Black Forest kirsch water. Made from distilled tart cherries, its flavour is very similar to the cake we know today.

What’s the difference between chocolate cake and Black Forest cake?

The difference between chocolate cake and black forest cake is the cherries. Traditional chocolate cake doesn’t contain cherries but Black Forest cake has cherry liqueur between the layers of the chocolate cake and chopped up cherries in the cream filling. 

You might also like…

Black Forest cupcakes (opens in new tab)
Mary Berry’s chocolate cake
(opens in new tab)
Chocolate cake with strawberries (opens in new tab)

Gordon Ramsay is a celebrity multi-Michelin starred chef. Born who in Scotland, he has restaurants all over the world including the UK, France, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States. He’s a proud father-of-five (opens in new tab) and many of his recipes are particularly suited to if you’re entertaining for your family or a group of friends. He trained with some of the world’s most renowned chefs including Albert Roux, Marco Pierre White and Guy Savoy and opened his first restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, in 1998.