A classic recipe for a Dark Forest Gateau (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)

Typically I am not a cake person but there are definitely exceptions. The Dark Forest Gateau (German: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, literally “Black Forest Cherry Cake”) definitely falls into those exceptions! A wonderful mix of chocolate, cherries and rich cream is a great ending to any traditional meal from Baden-Württemberg (especially Maultaschen or Spätzle). You can find it across Germany but it is almost guaranteed in Braustübl and other traditional restaurants in Baden-Würrtemberg. When I lived there, I loved visiting these places when I had a chance and a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was often used to round out a fine meal. In honour of this, I have decided to present a recipe for this beloved dessert.

The following recipe comes from “Einfach Backen” and was created by Anna-Lena, who describes herself as a hobby baker and food stylist. At the current time of writing, her recipe for Dark Forest Gateau has a rating of 4.8 stars based on 55 reviews. Here is her description of the recipe:

A Dark Forest Gateau (gateau = a rich cake typically containing layers of cream and/or fruit) is one of the most popular classical recipes. We have made a very simple and guaranteed recipe for this classic, with which you can magic up a perfect Dark Forest Gateau.

– Lena-Anna, EINFACH BACKEN

The credit for all images used in this article go to: MARIA PANZER / EINFACH BACKEN. The following recipe is a translation found on the site (link above). I have removed the affiliate links to Amazon and other sites, which are specific for Germany. If you are in Germany and would like to support her or the EINFACH BACKEN website, please visit the original recipe to see these affiliate links.

Preparation time: 60 Min.

Baking time: 20 Min.

Standing time: 45 Min.

Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients

For 1 gateau:

For the sponge cake

  • 6 Eggs
  • 200 g Sugar
  • 200 g Flour
  • 50 g Starch/cornflour/cornstarch
  • 50 g Cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp Baking powder

Some butter for the baking mould

For the filling

  • 1 glass Morello cherries (Drained net weight: 350g/~12.34 oz)
  • 2 tbsp Starch/cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 litre cream
  • 5 packs (1 pack for 200/250 mL of cream) Cream stiffener
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 9 tbsp Cherry brandy
  • 100 g Chocolate shavings

Step 1:

  • Eggs
  • 200 g Sugar
  • 200 g Flour
  • 50 g Starch/cornflour/cornstarch
  • 50 g Cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp Baking powder

For the sponge cake base, mix the 6 eggs and the sugars along with 6 tbsp of water in a bowl using a mixer for 5 minutes on the highest setting until the mass approximately doubles in volume. At the same time, mix the flour, starch, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a bowl. Gradually sieve the flour mixture into the egg mixture, gently folding as you go. Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F (convection oven: 160°C/320°F).

Our tip

Be sure to sieve the dry ingredients!

Be sure to sieve the dry ingredients before you mix them in. If you then add them gradually to the egg and sugar mixture, you can fold them in much more easily and no lumps will form. This keeps the dough airy and makes it rise better in the oven.

Step 2:

  • Some butter for the baking mould
  • 1 glass Morello cherries (Drained net weight 350g)
  • 2 tbsp Starch/cornflour/cornstarch

Grease and lightly flour the bottom of a springform pan (diameter 26 cm/~10.2 inches). Add the sponge cake mixture and smooth. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Let it sit to cool completely. For the filling, drain the morello cherries using the sieve, making sure to catch the juice. Mix the starch with 2 tbsp of the juice. Bring the remaining cherry juice to the boil and stir in the starch-cherry juice mixture. Boil briefly while stirring, then remove from direct heat.

Step 3:

PHOTO: MARIA PANZER / EINFACH BACKEN
  • 1 litre Cream
  • 5 packs (1 pack for 200/250 mL of cream) Cream stiffener
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Cherry brandy

Set aside 16 morello cherries for decoration. Fold the remaining morello cherries into the starch-cherry mixture. Cut the cake base twice horizontally to make three layers. Drizzle the first 3 tbsp of the cherry brandy. Spread the cherry mixture completely over the top and smooth it out. Let cool. Whip the cream with the cream stiffener and sugar until stiff. Using a spoon or palette knife, spread about 3 tbsp of cream thinly over the cherry mixture. 

Step 4:

PHOTO: MARIA PANZER / EINFACH BACKEN
  • 6 tbsp  Cherry brandy
  • 100 g Chocolate shavings

Place about 4 tbsp of the cream in an icing bag fitted with a star nozzle and set aside. Place the second cake layer on top, pressing down slightly. Drizzle 3 more tbsp of cherry brandy on the layer, then spread half of the remaining cream on the layer. Place the last sponge cake base layer on top, drizzle the rest of the cherry brandy on top and then cover the entire cake with the rest of the cream. Use the icing bag to add 16 cream puffs onto the cake. Set the cherries on top and sprinkle the chocolate shavings over the top and edges. Chill until ready to serve.

And there you have it! One tasty Dark Forest Gateau for your comfort and enjoyment! A classic southern German end to a gastronomic adventure. Thank you very much to Lena-Anna for providing the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!


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