Easy Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau Recipe

Last updated on April 23, 2024

Easy Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 45 Mins Cook Time: 26 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 11 Mins

Delia Smith’s Black Forest Gateau is a classic dessert combining chocolate, cherries, and whipped cream. It’s great for any event, from big parties to family weekends. This recipe serves 8-10 people and takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to make.

In this guide, I will walk you through the process of creating Delia Smith’s iconic Black Forest Gateau from scratch, offering practical tips and insights to ensure your dessert turns out perfect.

What is Delia Smith’s Black Forest Gateau?

Delia Smith’s Black Forest Gateau is a luxurious dessert that layers moist chocolate cake, sweet cherries, and light whipped cream to create a sumptuous treat. Its origins trace back to Germany, where it’s known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, named after the Black Forest region. Delia’s version brings this classic into your home kitchen, allowing you to recreate a masterpiece that’s both visually stunning and deliciously rewarding.

Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Decadent Flavors: The combination of chocolate, cherries, and cream is timeless and universally loved.
  • Showstopper Dessert: Its impressive layers and elegant presentation make it a perfect centerpiece for any gathering.
  • Versatile: While it shines as a festive treat, it’s also a delightful way to end any meal, from casual to formal.
  • Personal Achievement: There’s a special pride in mastering this classic cake, adding a gem to your baking repertoire.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith’s Black Forest Gateau

For the Chocolate Cake:

  • Dark chocolate (70% cocoa): 200 grams (7 ounces), finely chopped
  • Butter: 100 grams (3.5 ounces), plus extra for greasing
  • Granulated sugar: 250 grams (8.8 ounces)
  • Eggs: 4 large, at room temperature
  • All-purpose flour: 85 grams (3 ounces)
  • Cocoa powder: 30 grams (1 ounce), sifted
  • Baking powder: 1 teaspoon

For the Filling and Topping:

  • Cherries: 600 grams (1.3 pounds), pitted (fresh or canned)
  • Kirsch (cherry brandy): 50 ml (2 ounces)
  • Heavy cream: 500 ml (1 pint), chilled
  • Powdered sugar: 3 tablespoons
  • Vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon

To Assemble:

  • Whole cherries: reserved from the 600 grams for decoration
  • Grated chocolate: for garnish

Useful Equipment

  • Two 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins
  • Baking paper
  • Electric mixer or whisk
  • Spatula
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Serrated knife for slicing the cake layers
  • Piping bag (optional, for decorative cream application)

Instructions to Make Delia Smith’s Black Forest Gateau

Step 1: Prepare the Cake Layers

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease your cake pans and line them with parchment paper.
  • Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler, then let the mixture cool slightly.
  • Whisk eggs and sugar until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Gently fold into the egg and chocolate mixture until just combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pans on a wire rack.

Step 2: Prepare the Cherry Filling

  • Simmer half the cherries in a small saucepan with 50 grams of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water for about 10 minutes until syrupy. Add Kirsch after removing from heat.
  • Reserve remaining whole cherries for decorating the top of the gateau.

Step 3: Make the Whipped Cream

  • Whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks.

Step 4: Assemble the Gateau

  • Remove the cake layers from the pans and slice each layer horizontally to create four thin layers.
  • Drizzle each cake layer with cherry syrup, then spread with a layer of whipped cream and a spoonful of cooked cherry mixture.
  • Stack the layers, ending with a layer of whipped cream on the top and sides.
  • Decorate with reserved whole cherries and grated chocolate.

Step 5: Chill the Gateau

  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, which allows the flavors to meld beautifully.

Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau Recipe

What To Serve With Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau

Pairing the right accompaniments with Delia Smith’s Black Forest Gateau can enhance the flavors and elevate the overall dining experience.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Classic Coffee: Serve a robust coffee to cut through the sweetness of the gateau.
  • Sweet Riesling: A glass of sweet Riesling complements the cherries and chocolate beautifully.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: A scoop of vanilla ice cream adds a cool contrast to the rich, warm flavors of the cake.
  • Whipped Cream: Extra whipped cream on the side for those who love a creamier dessert.

Expert Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau

Achieving perfection in making Black Forest Gateau involves attention to detail and some insider tips:

  • Ingredient Temperature: Ensure all your ingredients, especially eggs and cream, are at room temperature before you begin.
  • Cherry Quality: Opt for sour cherries for a more authentic taste and better balance with the sweet chocolate.
  • Do Not Overmix: When folding the flour into the chocolate mixture, be gentle to keep the batter airy.
  • Cake Cooling: Allow the cake layers to cool completely before slicing and assembling to prevent them from crumbling.

Variations of Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau

  • With Espresso: Add a shot of espresso to the cake batter for a coffee-chocolate flavor.
  • Cherry Liqueur: Use cherry liqueur instead of kirsch for a different twist.
  • Nutty Crunch: Add chopped walnuts or almonds between the layers for texture.
  • White Chocolate: Drizzle melted white chocolate over the top for a visual contrast.
  • Fruit Filling: Experiment with different fruit fillings like raspberry or blackberry.

How To Store Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau Leftovers

Storing your Black Forest Gateau properly will ensure it retains its flavor and texture for enjoying at a later time.

Here’s how to keep your gateau fresh:

  • Refrigerate Promptly: Place any leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of serving.
  • Airtight Container: Use an airtight container to prevent the cake from absorbing odors and drying out.
  • Separate Layers: If possible, store layers separately with parchment paper between them to keep the cream from making the cake soggy.

How To Reheat Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau Leftovers

Typically, Black Forest Gateau is enjoyed cold, but if you need to refresh the cake slightly, here are some gentle reheating tips:

  • Room Temperature: Allow the gateau to sit out until it reaches room temperature for the best flavor and texture.
  • Microwave Briefly: If you prefer your cake slightly warm, microwave a slice for just 10-15 seconds.
  • Oven Method: For a drier texture, warm slices in a preheated oven at 100°C (212°F) for about 10 minutes.

Nutrition Value (per slice):

  • Calories: Approximately 450 kcal
  • Fat: 28g
  • Saturated Fat: 17g
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Sugar: 32g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Sodium: 85mg
  • Cholesterol: 145mg


Can I Make Delia Smith Black Forest Gateau Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can prepare this gateau a day in advance. Assemble and refrigerate it, covered lightly. This not only enhances the flavors but also stabilizes the cream, making slicing easier.

What Can I Use Instead of Kirsch in the Gateau?

If you prefer not to use alcohol or can’t find kirsch, cherry syrup or a non-alcoholic cherry liqueur are excellent alternatives. These provide the cherry flavor without the alcohol content.

How Do I Get Even Cake Layers?

For even cake layers, use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion. Alternatively, you can use cake layer-slicing tools available in baking stores. Ensure the cakes are completely cool before slicing to avoid crumbs and breakage.

Is It Possible to Freeze the Black Forest Gateau?

Yes, the gateau can be frozen without its whipped cream decoration. Wrap the cake layers individually in cling film and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and add fresh whipped cream and decorations before serving.

Final Words

Delia Smith’s Black Forest Gateau is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of flavors and textures that come together to create a memorable end to any meal. While it requires a bit of time and patience, the result is undoubtedly worth it. Whether you’re commemorating a special occasion or simply indulging in a weekend baking project, this gateau is sure to impress. Happy baking, and enjoy the sweet rewards of your effort!

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