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Black Forest Gâteau – Kick-Back Indulgence

Black Forest Gateau

An indulgent but delicious cake featuring chocolate and cherries with a light chilli kick to it. Despite the cream filling and topping, this Black Forest gâteau is a light, flavoursome, not too sweet and delightfully squidgy bake. It makes an excellent dessert as well as a party showpiece. It has the added bonus of being gluten free.

Why, I’m now wondering, have I never made Black Forest gâteau before? It’s a fabulous bake; not only is it very tasty but it’s also naturally gluten-free and relatively simple to make.

Chocolate and Cherry

Chocolate and cherries are a bit of a classic. I’ve made a spectacular chocolate cherry trifle and a gorgeous chocolate swirled cherry clafoutis. But Black Forest gâteau had somehow passed me by.  It’s a cake I’ve been meaning to try for many years, but the 70’s image and the recollections of super sweet, artificial gâteaux from that era, meant it never quite made it to the top of my must-bake list. Until, that is, last week’s episode of the Great British Bake Off.

Pretty much everyone I know, including CT, was glued to the start of the new series. The showstopper round, which always completes the episode, happened to be re-inventing the classic 1970s Black Forest gateau. Well, that was the kick I needed, so I decided my version would bring a kick of its own.

Black Forest Slice

What could bring it more up to date than a touch of chilli? Chocolate and chilli has been one of the most popular flavour combinations of the decade, so why not add cherries to the mix? Cherries, chocolate and chilli – a nice bit of alliteration, but how would they combine? As CT is fond of saying, there’s only one way to find out. I have some chilli vodka sitting in the cupboard awaiting such occasions as these and I also had a bar of sour cherry-chilli chocolate with 85% cocoa content. What could be more à la mode than that?

Black Forest Gâteau

Using Eat Your Books to see what Black Forest gateau recipes I had in my cookbook collection, I found I had a surprising number. I also found that every single one of them was different. In the end, I based my sponge on a Delia Smith one from the 1970s. Not only did this have the appropriate retro vintage, but Delia described it as “squidgy”.

When talking about cake, squidgy gets me every time. It’s also gluten free and light on ingredients.The sponge contains only three: eggs, sugar and cocoa. I added a fourth. As for the filling and topping, I made it up. With English cherries still in season, I was not going to used tinned or jarred ones.

Black Forest Gateau

The result was an utter delight that made CTs day. The sponge was really light, which offset the cream nicely and as Delia had promised it was good and squidgy. There was just a soupçon of chilli coming through, both in the cake and cream, that built up to a pleasing and non-fiery warmth. And the cherries were both delicious and indulgent – just what you want from a cake.

Other Gluten Free Cakes You Might Like

If you’d like to see some more gluten-free recipes, I have quite a few of them.

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Black Forest Gâteau. PIN IT.

Slice of Black Forest gâteau on a white plate with a couple of cherries.

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Black Forest Gâteau – The Recipe

Black Forest Gateau
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5 from 1 vote

Black Forest Gateau - Chilli, Chocolate & Cherries

An indulgent but delicious cake featuring chocolate and cherries with a light chilli kick to it. Despite the cream filling and topping, it is a light, flavoursome, not too sweet and delightfully squidgy bake. It makes an excellent dessert as well as a party showpiece. It has the added bonus of being gluten free.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: birthday cake, cherries, chocolate, gateau, gluten-free, vintage
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 404kcal
Author: Choclette


  • 6 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
  • 150 g (5oz) golden caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 50 g (2oz) cocoa powder
  • 150 g sour-cherry-chilli chocolate (85%) - chopped
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp chilli vodka (or kirsch if preferred)
  • 200 g fresh cherries - stoned and halved, plus extra for decoration if liked


  • Separate the eggs placing the yolks in a large bowl and the whites in a smaller one.
  • Whisk the yolks and sugar for a good few minutes until the mixture has tripled in size, is thick and pale in colour.
  • Sieve in the cocoa powder and fold gently into the mixture until just incorporated.
  • Fold in 75g of the chocolate.
  • With a clean whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold a ⅓ of them into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then carefully fold in the remaining whites.
  • Divide the batter between two 8" (20cm) round silicone cake moulds or lined tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for about 20 minutes when the cakes should be well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Allow to cool a little, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. They will sink slightly.
  • Whip the cream and chilli vodka until soft peaks form, then divide into two.
  • Fold the cherries and 40g of the chocolate into one lot of cream. Spread this over one of the cakes.
  • Place the other cake on top and spread over the remaining cream. Scatter the remaining chocolate over the top and decorate with more cherries if liked.


Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.


Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 358mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 753IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4mg


I’m sending this retro bake off to Mummy Mishaps for the Great Bloggers Bake Off

With so many eggs in this cake, it has to join Dom over at Belleau Kitchen for Simply Eggcellent.

It also goes to the 2nd Cake Club event over at Kerry Cooks

Lucy over at Baking Queen is hosting Bake of the Week on behalf of Helen, so this is winging its way in her direction too.


  1. Alicia (foodycat)

    10th August 2015 at 11:02 am

    Sour cherry chilli chocolate sounds fab! I love black forest cake – I don’t think I ever had a bad one to put me off!

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Well you’ve been extraordinarily lucky Alicia, or more likely just not around in the 70s and 80s 😉

  2. Sisley White

    10th August 2015 at 11:59 am

    Oh my goodness this looks so good! I’d have never thought to add chilli but I really want to now 🙂 x

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks Sisley. I was quite delighted by the chilli factor Sisley – well worth trying 🙂

  3. Boo Roo and Tigger Too

    10th August 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I love the idea of adding a little chilli to the recipe, I think would make my husband more likely to eat a slice or two

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Oh dear, do you have a husband who has problems eating cake? I feel for you 😉

  4. Jen

    10th August 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Brilliant idea adding chilli to the chocolate, great way to bring the 70s classic bang up to date. Bet this would keep Paul and Mary quiet!

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Ahhh, a beady eyed stare from Mary would be a very scary thing Jen – more so than a derisive comment from Paul I reckon.

  5. Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs

    10th August 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Wow! Delicious looking cake! I love the fresh cherries on top/

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks Emma, I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the different versions out there AND they all look good.

  6. Katharine

    10th August 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Mmm, yes, squidgy is definitely the way to go! This is a masterful rendition, it looks simply perfect and has made me long for a large slice!

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Ah thank you Katharine, you sure know how to put a big smile on someone’s face 😀

  7. Cathy Glynn

    10th August 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I am so hungry after trawling through all the great bakes, love chilli with chocolate x

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you Cathy, I’m with you on the chilli and chocolate love 😉

  8. Prateek D

    10th August 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Loved the recipe, from the description it seems that it isn’t too sweet something I love. Also, the usage of black cherries is a winner for me as is the cherry chili chocolate!

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks Prateek. Whilst I have a sweet tooth, I don’t like things too sugary – less is more.

  9. jenna @ butter loves company

    10th August 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Sounds lovely! I’ve been on a cake kick recently so will have to try it!

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:51 pm

      It’s really quite a simple bake Jenna and quite delicious too – hurry whilst the cherry season lasts 🙂

  10. Cherished By Me

    10th August 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I love the combination of black forest anyway but the addition of chilli…mmm. Looks lovely.

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks Nova, the chilli really does notch it up to another level.

  11. Lucy @ BakingQueen74

    10th August 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Loving the addition of chilli, and it looks magnificent, worthy of a place on the Star Baker’s table. 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #Bakeoftheweek!

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Thank you Lucy, you say the nicest things 🙂

  12. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    10th August 2015 at 6:46 pm

    It’s one of my favourite torte! Yours looks really beautiful, Choclette.

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you Angie. I’ve never had a true German one. Is there a definitive recipe?

  13. Jenny Paulin

    10th August 2015 at 7:11 pm

    hello lovely to meet a fellow SW blogger 🙂
    Your cake looks delicious and I love that you added some chill to your cake, that is a great little tweak to the recipe.
    thank you for linking up x

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Well I had to listen to the experts and bring it into the 21st century 😉 I hadn’t realised you are in the South West too Jenny. Where abouts?

  14. Emily

    10th August 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Well this looks rather divine 🙂

    • Choclette

      10th August 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks Emily, it is rather good – for the soul if not the waistline 🙂

  15. Heidi Roberts

    10th August 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Now that looks like a proper Black Forest Gateaux

    • Choclette

      11th August 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks Heidi. I like to think it was, though I’m not sure what the purists would think about substituting kirsch for chilli.

  16. Phil in the Kitchen

    10th August 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Fantastic variation on that strange old classic. I can remember some really good BFGs in the mid 70s and plenty of pretty bland and unpleasant versions in the late 70s and 80s. No wonder it went out of fashion. If only they’d been like your version. I feel left out on the GBBO excitement, though – I really don’t get it. Oh well, my loss, I suppose.

    • Choclette

      11th August 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Haha Phil, you’ve done well to keep out of it. It’s a silly addiction, which doesn’t really have a great deal to do with baking, but is a bit of fun. You struck lucky with your BFGs – at least early on.

  17. Jo of Jo's Kitchen

    11th August 2015 at 10:12 am

    This looks delicious!

  18. Glamorous Glutton

    11th August 2015 at 10:30 am

    What a great way of up dating this classic. I’m still not sure about the chocolate and cherry combo, too many hideous 70s slices served in restaurants I think! GG

    • Choclette

      11th August 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Oh weren’t they awful GG? I think that’s why I was never keen to make it. But this is really good and the cherries and chocolate are quite delicious.

  19. Made With Pink

    11th August 2015 at 12:56 pm

    What a fantastic black forest cake. I love the thick layer of cream in the centre! And the hint of chilli is most definitely something I’ve never seen before. Thanks so much for sharing my black forest cake.

    • Choclette

      11th August 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Thank you. I’m rather hoping it’s another first. I sort of have this wishful, but erroneous belief that I’m something of a pioneer 😉

  20. Rachel

    11th August 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Wow! Very exciting and looks gorgeous!

    • Choclette

      28th August 2015 at 8:42 pm

      It was a very exciting cake to eat – so naughty Rachel 😉

  21. Mummy Vs Work

    11th August 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Wow this sounds delicious and what a clever idea to add extra to the cream too… yummy!

    • Choclette

      12th August 2015 at 8:31 am

      Thank you. I’m all for extra anything 😉

  22. Dom

    12th August 2015 at 8:03 am

    Wow. I feel honoured that you’ve linked this incredible cake into Simply Eggcellent. It’s such a beauty. I too have never made a BFG but I have to make a chocolate cake this weekend for the local village show and I’m sorely tempted to do one. Lovely stuff!!

    • Choclette

      12th August 2015 at 8:33 am

      Oh yes, wow them with a BFG Dom – how could they resist such an offering?

  23. Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry

    12th August 2015 at 9:58 am

    You had me at chocolate and chilli. Oh yes please madam.

    • Choclette

      13th August 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Why it’s taken chilli so long to get into chocolate here in the UK, I’ll never know Bintu.

  24. HELEN

    12th August 2015 at 3:09 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever made one before either, and have been wondering the same. That looks so good, and it would go down very well with a cuppa right now!

    • Choclette

      13th August 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks Helen. It took me such a long time to make one and now I have, I want to do it all over again 😉

  25. Susan

    12th August 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I took one look at the photo of this cake and flashed back to bakery windows in the Black Forest villages … it’s a beauty and you’ve done the traditional cake justice, even with the twist on the chocolate! Just knew folks would be drooling over this one! Awesome job!

    • Choclette

      13th August 2015 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you so much Susan, you always say the nicest things. I’ve never been to Germany nor experienced their famous gateaux.


    14th August 2015 at 1:04 am

    what a gorge cake! I made one a while back, which I need to blog, but it is nowhere near as stunning as yours.

    • Choclette

      14th August 2015 at 10:28 am

      Thank you. Do let me know when you’ve posted yours a I’d be interested to see how you made it. There seem to be soooooo many recipes.

  27. Kerry at Kerry Cooks

    16th August 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of black forest gateau but I think your version is changing my mind! It looks SO good!

    • Choclette

      16th August 2015 at 9:32 pm

      Haha, likewise Kerry. This was the first one I’ve ever really enjoyed.

  28. Kate - gluten free alchemist

    23rd August 2015 at 10:41 pm

    I think the Black Forest Gateaux is in for a welcome revival. It is a great combination of flavours and I have always loved it! I made some amazing BFG filled cupcakes a year or two back and they were amazing!
    Loving the addition of chilli here xx

    • Choclette

      24th August 2015 at 8:25 am

      Thanks Kate. Cherries and chilli were not an obvious pairing, but as soon as I saw the chocolate, I knew it had to be. This is one for you too as it’s GF. Take it you are back from your hols. Hope you had a wonderful time.


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