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German Black Forest Cherry Gateau

Indulge in the decadent delight of a classic German Black Forest Cherry Gateau, a dessert that tantalizes the taste buds with layers of rich chocolate cake, luscious whipped cream, and tart cherries soaked in cherry brandy. This timeless recipe is a masterpiece of culinary artistry, originating from the picturesque Black Forest region of Germany, renowned for its abundance of cherries and traditional baking techniques. Perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a special celebration or a simple gathering with loved ones, this Black Forest Cake is sure to impress and delight all who taste it.

History: The origins of the Black Forest Cake, or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in German, can be traced back to the 16th century in the Black Forest region of southwestern Germany. This iconic dessert is named after the region’s famous Schwarzwalder Kirsch, a type of cherry known for its intense flavor and deep red color. Traditionally, the cake consists of layers of chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream, and cherries, with a hint of cherry brandy for added flavor. Over the years, the recipe has evolved and adapted, but its essence remains true to its roots, capturing the essence of the Black Forest in every decadent bite.

Ingredients: For the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water

For the Filling and Topping:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 jar (24 oz) sour cherries, drained with juice reserved
  • 1/4 cup kirsch (cherry brandy) or cherry syrup

For Decoration:

  • Chocolate shavings
  • Fresh cherries


1. Preparing the Cake Batter:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter or cooking spray. Dust them lightly with flour to prevent sticking.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder if using.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  • Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until a smooth batter forms.
  • Slowly pour in the hot water and mix until fully incorporated, ensuring there are no lumps in the batter.

2. Baking the Cake Layers:

  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula.
  • Place the pans in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

3. Preparing the Filling and Topping:

  • In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • Drain the sour cherries, reserving the juice. If using kirsch, mix it with the reserved cherry juice.
  • If the cake layers have domed, carefully trim the tops to create flat surfaces.

4. Assembling the Gateau:

  • Slice each cake layer horizontally to create a total of four layers.
  • Brush each layer generously with the kirsch and cherry juice mixture, allowing the flavors to soak into the cake.
  • Spread a layer of whipped cream onto the bottom cake layer, followed by a layer of cherries. Repeat this process with the remaining layers.
  • Once all the layers are stacked, cover the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream, ensuring it is evenly distributed.
  • Use a spatula to smooth the whipped cream on the sides and top of the cake, creating a clean and polished finish.

5. Decorating the Gateau:

  • Garnish the top of the cake with chocolate shavings, creating an eye-catching design.
  • Place fresh cherries on top of the cake for a pop of color and added flavor.
  • For an extra touch of elegance, you can pipe additional whipped cream around the edges of the cake using a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.

Conclusion: Indulge in the luxurious experience of savoring a slice of German Black Forest Cherry Gateau, a timeless dessert that epitomizes the art of baking. With its layers of moist chocolate cake, heavenly whipped cream, and tangy cherries, this gateau is a true masterpiece of culinary craftsmanship, perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re celebrating a special milestone or simply craving a delicious dessert, this Black Forest Cherry Gateau is sure to impress and delight all who taste it.

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